Cat Heart Disease
Heart disease affects 15% of all cats and is difficult to detect. A cat with heart disease might have a heart murmur or rhythm problem that your veterinarian would hear. However, many cats have a silent disease that can only be found by a blood test — NT ProBNP. If it's late in the course of the disease, then a cat might show signs of disease — such as faster breathing, weakness, or hiding.
If your veterinarian finds a heart problem or your cat is showing signs of heart disease, it's best to talk with a veterinary cardiologist. CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets is one of the few veterinary practices with board-certified veterinary cardiologists on staff.
By far, the single most common heart problem that affects cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM. This is a genetic-based disease that causes the heart muscle to become too thick. When caught early, this disease can be treated to improve the quality and duration of life in affected cats.
Diagnosing HCM in Cats
If you have concerns about your cat and heart disease, it's best to reach out to a pet cardiologist near you to get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan. CVCA has several locations in Maryland, Kentucky, Texas, and Virginia. Give us a call, and we will set up one or all of the following:
- Physical exam - including listening to the heart and lungs, checking your cat's blood pressure.
- NT-proBNP - blood test that measures a heart stress hormone thet can help detect heart disease.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) - to measure electrical activity of your cat's heart to find heart rhythm problems.
- Echocardiogram - ultrasound by a board-certified vet cardiologist to view your cat's heart in great detail. This test is the gold standard for diagnosing heart disease in cats.