Friday, April 19, 2024

Congestive Heart Failure In Cats

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Early Detection Of Heart Disease

Heart Failure In Cats | EMOTIONAL

The most important thing to know when it comes to monitoring heart health in cats is that veterinarians can often identify heart disease before symptoms occur. Taking your cat to the vet annually for a complete physical examination and blood tests are highly effective at screening your pet for other diseases that can affect her heart.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

American Journey Salmon And Tuna Recipe In Gravy Grain

Most Affordable Cat Food for Congestive Heart Failure: You dont necessarily need to spend a fortune to feed your cat a healthy and high-quality diet. This American Journey canned food recipe is highly affordable and hits all of the requirements we recommended earlier. As a canned food recipe, this formula is high in protein and low in carbohydrate content, plus it is moisture-rich which helps with digestion. It features fresh salmon as the first ingredient, a quality source of protein that is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This recipe contains supplemental protein from chicken liver, tuna, and fresh chicken with fish oil and flaxseed as supplemental sources of omega-3 fatty acid. Fresh fruits provide natural sources for antioxidants with vitamin and chelated mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

  • Pros: Real salmon first ingredient, rich in animal protein, high in omega-3 fatty acids, fresh fruits for antioxidants, chelated mineral supplements, complete and balanced nutrition
  • Cons: Main fat ingredients are plant-based

Diagnosing Congestive Heart Failure In Cats

If you believe your cat may be exhibiting the symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure, your first priority needs to be making them an appointment with a licensed veterinarian. Once you arrive at your appointment, you will need to provide your veterinarian with a thorough medical history. A complete medical history will often include information about age, overall health, preexisting medical conditions, medications they are taking, as well as the duration and severity of their symptoms. During this discussion, the veterinarian may inquire whether or not you have any theories as to what may be causing your cats symptoms and may also share if they have any theories based on their initial analysis of the history and symptoms. Once you and your veterinarian have discussed your cats medical history, they will weigh your cat and conduct an initial physical examination. Part of this physical examination will include listening to your cats heart rhythm. If there is a significant amount of fluid built up within the lungs, the veterinarian will hear the congestion. Despite being able to hear heart rhythm abnormalities and fluid built up in the lungs, it is likely that your veterinarian will conduct additional tests to confirm their diagnosis.

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Congestive Heart Failure Treatment

Medications can also help eliminate or slow the buildup of fluid in your cats body. Pimobendan for cats is used to combat congestive heart failure by helping their heart work more efficiently. It does this by widening the blood vessels leading to and from the organ, making it easier for it to pump blood throughout the body.

Although considered off label for its use with cats, pimobendan is thought to be safe and effective when used under the direction of a veterinarian. With that said, your cat may experience some mild side effects like decreased appetite, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and lethargy.

If any of these persist or become severe, contact your vet as soon as possible and they will inform you what to do next. If your cat is diagnosed with congestive heart failure and the vet prescribes pimobendan to treat it, remember that you can fulfill all your cats medication needs conveniently online at Express Vet Pharmacy. Express Vet Pharmacy offers pimobendan in compounded options so you can choose from dozens of flavors and suspensions to give your pet. Giving them a pill can be hard so having an oral pimobendan liquid provides an easy way to get your cat healthy again, without the struggle.

How Do We Make Our Recommendations

Congestive Heart Failure in Cats. When to euthanize?

Because cats are obligate carnivores, they have a high biological requirement for meat in their diets. A real source of animal protein should be the first ingredient in your cats food and, ideally, the main source of fat. Carbohydrates provide limited nutritional value for cats, so any that are included in your cats food should be whole-food ingredients and highly digestible. These are some of the key things we look for before recommending a cat food. Complete and balanced nutrition is essential as well, so we also look for recipes fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.

Here are some of the requirements for a cat food to receive our recommendation:

  • A source of high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
  • At least 30% crude protein for kittens and at least 26% for adults
  • A minimum of 9% crude fat for kittens and adults
  • A balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, primarily from animal sources
  • A rich blend of nutrients from natural sources and supplements, as needed
  • Limited carbohydrate content from digestible sources
  • No low-quality fillers, by-products, or artificial additives

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Uncommon Presentation For Heart Disease In Cats

  • Collapsing and syncope

Cats will occasionally present with collapse or syncope signs secondary to heart disease. The mechanism for collapse is not always clear, but is probably related to arrhythmia in most cases. Significant hypotension can sometimes occur with left ventricular out flow tract obstruction seen with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, which can manifest as weakness or lethargy.

  • Sudden death

The true incidence of sudden death secondary to heart disease is unknown in cats. However, in a recent pathology study of 158 cats with unexpected death, necropsy revealed no other cause other than cardiac disease in 55% of cases. Another study reported sudden death in 17/107 cats that died as a result of HCM.

Common Causes Of Congestive Heart Failure In Cats

Congestive Heart Failure can be caused by a number of different factors and underlying conditions. Before delving into the common causes, it is vital to baseline this understanding with information about the population of cats most affected by this condition. It is important to note that cats of any age, breed, or gender can be affected by Congestive Heart Failure. However, Congestive Heart Failure is more comment in cats that are middle-aged to elderly. There has also been reports that Congestive Heart Failure is more common in Maine Coon cats and that there may be a genetic predisposition to developing Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and subsequently Congestive Heart Failure. With these overarching observations about the population of cats most affected by Congestive Heart Failure, it is now possible to examine the most common causes of Congestive Heart Failure.

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Understanding & Managing Congestive Heart Failure In Cats


Cats can develop heart disease just as humans can and congestive heart failure is one of these shared conditions. This condition occurs when a cat’s heart fails to pump as effectively as it should, resulting in the buildup of fluid in places where fluid should not be causing signs of congestive heart failure in cats. This misplaced congested fluid leads to a kitty going down hill quickly, often struggling to breathe. While congestive heart failure affects both dogs and cats, cats have their own unique set of diseases that often lead to this condition.

The 9 Best Cat Foods For Congestive Heart Failure

VVS Short Triage Webinar: Congestive heart failure in cats

Follow your veterinarians advice if he recommends a prescription diet but dont be afraid to ask questions. Many prescription diets are made with animal by-products and low-quality grains, so think twice before blindly following your vets recommendations. Ask whether a nutritionally balanced cat food made with whole food ingredients might provide the same benefit.

Here are our top picks for the best cat food for congestive heart failure:

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Symptoms Of Heart Problems In Cats

There are several possible symptoms of heart problems in cats that cat owners can be on the lookout for, including:

  • Lethargy/weakness/inactivity
  • Difficulty with or discontinuing exercise
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing possibly accompanied by fluid buildup in the lungs and chest
  • Sudden paralysis of the hind quarters
  • Fast breathing during dormancy
  • Fainting/collapse
  • Chronic coughing
  • Regularly elevated heart rate

The above symptoms can indicate one of many possible conditions, including feline heart disease and potentially something unrelated to the cardiovascular system. If you notice any of the above symptoms, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our veterinary cardiologist immediately.

Nomnomnow Fresh Cat Food Delivery

Overall Best Cat Food for Congestive Heart Failure: If your cat suffers from heart failure, the best thing you can do is feed him a healthy and high quality diet to support his nutrition and help him achieve and maintain ideal body weight. Fresh food is one of the best foods you can feed a cat and NomNomNow is our favorite fresh pet food brand. All of their recipes are prepared in small batches using premium-quality fresh ingredients and delivered to your door in pre-portioned packages so you simply open the bag and pour it into your cats bowl. When you fill out your pets profile, you can indicate his weight and age then say whether he needs to gain, lose, or maintain weight. NomNomNow will calculate his calorie needs accordingly and send you the perfect amount of cat food. Choose from two protein-rich recipes, all complete and balanced for optimal nutrition.

  • Pros: Fresh food delivered to your door, premium animal proteins, customized calorie content, complete and balanced nutrition, pre-portioned packages
  • Cons: Only two recipes to choose from, significantly more expensive than traditional kibble

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Treatment For Heart Disease In Cats

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats and damage caused to the structure of the heart muscle are irreversible. However, in some cases where heart disease is secondary to a treatable condition, such as hyperthyroidism, the symptoms can be alleviated once the primary condition is addressed.

Your veterinarian can prescribe different types of medication to help reduce the risk of congestive heart failure in cats. These medications can help to relax the heart muscle, slow down the heart rate and decrease the workload of the heart. Diuretics are usually prescribed to reduce fluid overload.

In addition to medication, other types of treatment may be recommended by your vet including a low-sodium diet, oxygen therapy, taurine supplementation, or surgical procedures to remove excess fluid buildup from the chest cavity or abdomen.

Can You Help Prevent Heart Disease In Your Cat

Congestive Heart Failure in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment ...

The most important thing you can do to help protect your cat against heart disease is to schedule regular wellness visits. Most veterinarians want to see young and middle-aged cats annually, and senior cats may need more frequent check-ups if heart disease is a concern.

In terms of diet, amino acid deficiency can lead to HCM, so try giving your feline friend a human-grade, meat-based, low-sodium diet that skips the unnecessary grains and fillers often found in cat food. Regular exercise is important, too, and sometimes gets overlooked with cats.

Finally, try to keep your little buddy’s life as stress-free as possible. Make sure your cat always has a quiet, relaxing retreat away from children and other pets, and shower them with extra affection and reassurance any time your regular routine changes.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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How Is Congenital Heart Disease Treated

The specific treatment will depend on the cause of the heart disease. At this time, few congenital heart abnormalities in the cat other than patent ductus arteriosus can be surgically corrected. When a young kitten is diagnosed with heart disease, diagnostic testing will help determine what the prognosis is and whether medical treatment is necessary. In many situations, if a heart murmur has been detected on a routine examination, but the cat is not showing signs of problems, careful monitoring is the best option.

“The presence of a heart murmur does not necessarily mean that your cat’s quality of life or life expectancy will be affected.”

The presence of a heart murmur does not necessarily mean that your cat’s quality of life or life expectancy will be affected.

Symptoms Of Heart Disease In Cats

Early onset of the disease can be difficult to identify in cats. Most cats do not display any clinical signs until the disease is advanced, at which point cats tend to become more withdrawn and lethargic.

Below are some of the most common signs of heart disease in cats, however, not every cat will develop all the following symptoms and many cats will have more than one.

  • Poor appetite
  • Difficulty with or discontinuing exercise
  • Regularly elevated heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate and effort
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sudden hind leg paralysis
  • Fainting/collapse

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Treatment Options For Congestive Heart Failure

Thankfully, there are several treatment options available to cats suffering from congestive heart failure. If your cat has fluid built up in their chest or belly, your veterinarian may perform an emergency procedure called a thoracocentesis or abdominocentesis where they use a needle and syringe to remove this excess fluid. Removing this fluid can help keep your cat comfortable while they do additional diagnostics to determine the cause of the heart failure and may even save your cat’s life. Depending on the cause of the heart disease, your veterinarian may prescribe one or several medications that work together to prevent future episodes of congestive heart failure. Medications used to treat the congestive signs of heart failure in cats are oftentimes the same medicines used for humans suffering from congestive heart failure.

These medications are often available in pill, liquid or even transdermal forms. Most are even available in generic formulations. Your veterinarian may prescribe medications that help the heart muscles and blood vessels to relax or that aid in removing excess fluid from the lungs. Your veterinarian may also consider prescribing a mild blood-thinner to reduce your cat’s risk of developing dangerous blood clots.

Though it can be alarming to hear that your cat is in heart failure, there are a number of drugs available. Therefore, it may take some tweaking to find a medication plan that suits your cat best.

Castor & Pollux Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Food

Heart Failure in Cats – symptoms, treatment life expectancy – Cat Health Vet Advice

Another healthy dry food option for your cat is this Castor & Pollux Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe. It features fresh organic chicken and organic chicken meal as the top two ingredients with digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like organic oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. This formula contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids balanced with omega-6s and supplements to benefit your cats heart like B vitamins and taurine. This recipe is complete and balanced, plus it is supplemented with probiotics to boost your cats digestion and help optimize his nutrient absorption.

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What Are The Types Of Heart Disease In Cats

The most common kind of heart disease found in cats is adult-onset hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition caused by the enlargement or thickening of the walls of your kitty’s heart.

In cats, heart disease may either be congenital or acquired throughout their life.

  • Congenital heart disease in cats is present at their birth and can be inherited from family members.
  • Heart disease, when acquired, is referred to as adult-onset heart disease. It’s so-named because it occurs more often in middle-aged cats or older from wear and tear on their heart. It may also be the result of injury or infection to your cat’s heart.

In some instances, adult-onset heart disease develops as a secondary issue in your cat, while the primary health problem being traced back to another part of their body like their thyroid.

What About Congestive Heart Failure In Cats

Congestive heart failure can occur if your cat’s heart isn’t pumping enough blood to other parts of their body, causing fluid to back up in the lungs. In later stages, your cat will show obvious difficulty with breathing due to this excess fluid. If you notice your feline friend in any type of respiratory distress, it’s essential that you seek veterinary care right away.

A wide range of medical conditions can develop into feline congestive heart failure, including thyroid disease, high blood pressure, heartworm disease, anemia, tumors, and birth defects. But the leading cause is HCM. In this instance, the ventricle walls become so thick that the heart’s functions are severely compromised. This results in a buildup of fluid in the left atrium, which forces fluid back into the lungs.

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Treatment Of Congestive Heart Failure In Cats

Congestive heart failure caused by hyperthyroidism may be reversed once the thyroid condition has been successfully treated. In other cases, the treatment plan will be based on the severity of symptoms and the underlying cause of the condition:


If symptoms are severe, particularly if the cat is having difficulty breathing or has extremely low blood pressure, hospitalization may be required. Oxygen therapy may be administered when there is fluid surrounding the heart or lungs, and the fluid may need to be drained. This will help to ease pressure on the heart, makes breathing easier. When fluid build-up has been removed, the heart is able to pump blood more efficiently. If fluid is present in the chest or abdomen, it may be removed using a technique called tapping.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery may be recommended to treat cases of congestive heart failure that are caused by a birth defect or a congenital or acquired heart valve disease. This treatment option is often expensive and requires a surgical specialist.

Symptom Management

Worried about the cost of Congestive Heart Failure treatment?

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