Heart disease is a serious risk for our feline friends. While this is more often seen in dogs, kitties can also develop issues with their hearts. A Rochester, NY vet discusses feline heart issues below.
Some issues are congenital, while others develop over time. The most common ones we see in cats are an enlargement or thickening of the heart, and cardiomyopathy, which is an issue with the heart muscle. There are several types of cardiomyopathy, with hypertrophic being the most common. Others include dilated cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, and intermediate cardiomyopathy.
Spotting signs of heart issues in kitties can be tricky, as some furballs show no signs at all. Coughing can be a warning sign for people and dogs, but is rare in cats. Fatigue is also hard to spot, given that Fluffy spends the majority of her time mapping. However, there are a few red flags. These include weight loss, lethargy, respiratory issues, poor appetite, and, in some cases, hind leg paralysis, which may cause trouble walking.
There are several potential causes for heart disease in kitties, including hyperthyroidism, hypertension, taurine deficiency, tumors, genetics, and exposure to toxins. While any cat can develop heart disease, there are a few things that increase the risk. Age is one factor: the older Fluffy gets, the more likely she is to have heart trouble. Your furry pal’s weight is also relevant. Even a few extra pounds can increase the chances of your feline buddy having heart issues. It’s also worth noting that some breeds are simply more prone to heart issues than others. Maine Coons, Persians, American and British Shorthairs, and Siamese cats are all high-risk.
What if Fluffy is diagnosed with heart problems? This is by no means a death sentence. Depending on what your cat’s specific issue is, medication may be enough to manage it. Keep in mind that suddenly stopping heart medications can be dangerous, so keep ahead of those refills. Keeping your furball on a proper diet is very important. Your cat may not need special food, as long as she’s getting enough taurine, but she may benefit from supplements. Limiting her exposure to stress will also help. Your vet can give you customized recommendations and care tips based on your kitty’s diagnosis.
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