If you are like most people, your cat is part of the family. You probably feed, train, and play with your cat daily, but other tasks are needed to keep your pet healthy AND happy. Most veterinarians recommend a medical exam each year to rule out underlying medical conditions. One common condition that may affect your cat is heart disease. While this disease develops with age, heart disease is also present in many cats at birth. With this guide, you will learn the signs of heart disease to ensure your cat receives efficient treatment.
Pay attention to your cat's breathing each day. After excessive play, rapid breathing is normal. Shortness of breath or labored breathing while resting may stem from pressure built up in the heart and muscles surrounding the heart and lungs.
If your cat is showing signs of breathing difficulty without exerting themselves, they may have a heart condition.
Thromboembolisms are usually one of the earliest signs of heart disease that you may notice. Also known as blood clots, thromboembolisms that occur at the end of the heart's aorta will cut off blood supply. This reduces the blood flow through your cat's body, almost always affecting the hind legs.
Watch how your cat walks and jumps. If they are unable to walk or jump without difficulty or their hind legs appear weak and lifeless, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Stomach cancer, abdominal bleeding, and liver damage may all cause your cat's abdomen to swell. However, congestive heart failure is also a common cause of swelling in the stomach.
If the right side of the heart is unable to pump a sufficient amount of blood through the body, fluid will build up in your cat's abdomen. This causes the stomach to swell up noticeably.
Congestive heart failure is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. If your cat's abdomen is swollen and they are showing the following related symptoms, visit the veterinarian immediately:
- Weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Groaning, whining when resting
- Visible discomfort when pressure is placed on the stomach
Last, but not lease, fainting is another common side effect in cats with heart disease.
If the heart is unable to pump blood through the body, the brain will not receive imperative oxygen and nutrients. This can cause your cat to faint or collapse suddenly.
Surgical treatment can restore your cat's heart back to a healthy state in many cases, but early diagnosis is essential. If your cat is displaying one or more of the above signs, be sure to consult the veterinarian like those at Community Animal Hospital.