Feline Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

Feline congestive heart failure develops due to the reduced ability of the heart to pump sufficient blood to the body. Although the causes of congestive heart failure are varied, many pets are genetically predisposed to heart diseases. Pet suffering from underlying health concerns such fluid accumulation in the lungs or pleural effusion are likely to suffer from congestive heart failure. In order to treat pets suffering from heart disease, it's necessary to determine the underlying cause and administer adequate medication. Pet owners should also seek prompt medical care if cats exhibit any unusual symptoms.

Symptoms of Heart Disease in Cats Include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sudden collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unusually high blood pressure

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

Congestive heart failure can develop due to abnormalities of the heart such as damage to the valves, inflammation and narrow heart vessels. Heartworm disease is another cause of feline heart failure. If the heart is overworked due to high blood pressure or underlying health factors, the cat may suffer from congestive heart failure. In addition, congestive heart failure can occur due to myocardial failure. Myocardial failure in turn develops when there isn't enough oxygen or blood supply to the heart, and inflammation is evident. The location of heart disease determines if the pet suffers from left or right heart failure.

Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

After careful evaluation of the cat's medical history and clinical symptoms, the vet will perform diagnostic tests such as chest X-ray and ultrasounds to determine fluid accumulation or internal abnormalities. Heart function is diagnosed through electrocardiogram and echocardiogram tests. These tests reveal heart enlargement, valve damage and other irregularities. The ultrasound examination of the cat's heart is done by a trained veterinary cardiologist, and pets are not sedated during the procedure.

Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

The treatment option varies according to individual pet concerns. Pets suffering from emergency heart conditions are treated with oxygen therapy and supportive care. If the diagnosis reveals fluid accumulation in the chest cavity, the vet will perform a procedure known as thoracocentesis to extract the fluid present. The vet will also prescribe certain medicines to alter heart rate and regulate blood pressure. Pets suffering from fluid accumulation are fed diets low in sodium. Other medicines used to treat pets suffering from heart failure include diuretics and dietary supplements. Along with medication, pets require plenty of rest and home care to keep heart diseases in check.

Home Care

Cats should be kept in a stress free environment and administered prescribed medication according to vet instructions. Although heart disease cannot be prevented, it's necessary to exercise the pet regularly and feed diets that suit the cat's age and level of activity. Pets on medication should have access to plenty of water. Pet owners should also monitor cats during the administration of medication to determine unusual symptoms. Pets that appear pale or that have difficulty breathing should be given medical help to prevent sudden death.

Feline heart diseases should be diagnosed promptly. The prognosis of treatment is good if medication is administered early and follow up vet checks are maintained.