Treating Feline Congestive Heart Failure with Furosemide

Furosemide is a drug used to treat feline congestive heart failure. Furosemide acts as a diuretic and greatly improves a cat's quality of life when used properly.

Feline Congestive Heart Failure Causes

Feline congestive heart failure is caused by an abnormally shaped heart or a problem with how it functions. These abnormalities influence how much blood the organ pumps blood through the body. When a cat has congestive heart failure, the heart can't pump enough blood and causes fluid to build up in the lungs (pulmonary edema).

Feline congestive heart failure has many causes. Some cats have a disease that affects the heart like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, some are born with heart failure and a cat can also acquire a disease that damages the lining of the heart (pericardium). Heartworms, hyperthyroidism, arrhythmia and anemia can also lead to feline congestive heart failure.

Symptoms of Feline Congestive Heart Failure

One of the first things a pet owner will notice if a cat has congestive heart failure is lethargy. Congestive heart failure will cause a cat to feel more tired and lack energy, because the heart isn't circulating blood through the body correctly. A cat will also begin to cough and have difficulty breathing as fluid begins to build up in the lungs. Weight loss is also a symptom of feline congestive heart failure.

Treatment with Furosemide

After a cat has been diagnosed by a veterinarian to have congestive heart failure, the vet may recommend a cat be hospitalized for at least a few days so he can be monitored. Hospitalization will also help stabilize a cat if he has low blood oxygen levels, a lot of fluid in the lungs or needs additional precautionary attention.

For home care, veterinarians typically prescribe a low-sodium diet and Furomeside therapy for the cat, which will help minimize the extra fluids that have accumulated in the body. Furosemide, a strong diuretic, can only be obtained with a prescription from a veterinarian. Furosemide assists the kidneys by preventing the absorption of elements (sodium, potassium and chloride) that causes water and other fluids to build up in a cat's body. Furosemide, as a result, will cause a cat to urinate more often in order to eliminate the extra elements and fluid from his body. As an added bonus, this action will help electrolytes become more balanced.

Side Effects of Furosemide

The main side effects of Furosemide are increases in thirst and urine output. Felines with renal problems, hepatic disease, diabetes and those that are dehydrated shouldn't use Furosemide, since doing so can make these conditions worse. Furosemide can cause a cat to become dehydrated and develop an electrolyte imbalance. Low potassium levels in the blood, anemia, hearing loss and kidney problems can also arise.

Feline congestive heart failure can cause a cat to retain a lot of fluid, which will make him feel worse. A treatment for this condition that involves Furosemide can help ease the discomfort of fluid buildup in the lungs and coughing, and help improve a cat's quality of life.