Managing Feline Congestive Heart Failure with Vetmedin

Vetmedin is a popular medication that is used to treat cats that have congestive heart failure. When this condition is managed properly, a cat's quality of life can be much improved.

Feline Congestive Heart Failure Explained

Congestive heart failure is the term used when a cat's heart does not pump enough blood to the rest of his body. There are several reasons for this. First, the ventricles of the heart may not push blood out of the heart well. The heart may have too much fluid in it due to a problem with one of the valves. High blood pressure can also cause congestive heart failure because the size of the heart increases. Lastly, the ventricles may not be filling up with blood completely, leading to congestion, less blood pumping and the heart to not work properly.

If the congestive heart failure occurs on the left side of a cat's heart, a cat may cough a lot-especially in the mornings or at night. The cough may be due to fluids that have built up in the lungs, causing the cat to have difficulty breathing. A cat that has congestive heart failure on the right side of the heart could develop fluids in his belly, lungs and around the heart. Right-side heart failure can also lead to an enlarged spleen or liver and a distended jugular vein.

Managing Feline Congestive Heart Failure with Vetmedin

There is no cure for feline congestive heart failure, only treatment and management. Treatment for this condition is dependent upon its underlying cause. The goal of treatment is to manage a cat's symptoms so his quality of life can be improved and he can be as physiologically normal as possible. Vetmedin is a drug that many veterinarians use to help a cat achieve these goals.

Vetmedin®, generically known as Pimobendan, is an inodilator that has shown good results when used in conjunction with other modes of therapy. Vetmedin increases the amount of calcium available and helps a cat's blood vessels open up more so it can take blood from the heart better. The more calcium present, the stronger the contractions will be and the less a heart will have to work. The vessels that take blood into the heart are also opened up more with the use of Vetmedin so less pressure is placed on the organ. Essentially, Vetmedin helps the heart be more efficient, which most heart medications do not do.

Vetmedin comes in chewable tablets that must be prescribed by a veterinarian. Some veterinarians recommend giving a cat the medicine an hour before he eats breakfast and an hour before dinner to help lessen side effects such as vomiting.

Vetmedin was originally intended as a medication for dogs only and has only been approved for use in dogs in the United States. However, this has not stopped veterinarians from taking advantage of this medicine's benefits for their feline patients.

The prognosis for a cat with congestive heart failure always depends on its underlying cause how advanced his condition is. This disease does not have a cure, but careful monitoring of the cat's health, followed by appropriate treatments, can help prolong a cat's life.