Feline Heart Disease
Heart disease is very common in the world of cats. When heart disease has not yet occurred, you may not notice its presence, and you may think, 'How could it happen to my cat? It's perfectly healthy!' But once it occurs, you realize that there are so many cases and so many warning signs. Among 10 cats with heart disease, almost 9 of them are purebred cats."
The following breeds are at high risk of congenital heart disease, so it is recommended to pay extra attention to them: Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Norwegian Forest Cat, American Shorthair, Persian, Exotic Shorthair, British Shorthair, Scottish Fold, and Devon Rex.
Heart disease is divided into three types:
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). HCM is the most common type, and essentially all cats with heart disease have this form. HCM is characterized by thickening of the walls of the heart, resulting in reduced chamber size and decreased ability to pump blood. It ultimately leads to heart failure and is often accompanied by the occurrence of blood clots. Currently, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cannot be cured, but the progression of the disease can be slowed down with medication.
How to diagnose and evaluate?
Heart disease in cats is often discovered when blood clots occur, but not every cat is fortunate enough to escape from the brink of death. In addition to regular physical examinations (identifying heart murmurs through auscultation), fBNP testing can also be chosen (although it is only a reference and not 100% accurate). Owners can also observe the cat's breathing rate at home. If they notice rapid breathing in the cat (breathing more than 40 times per minute during sleep), it is advisable to take the cat to the veterinarian for examination.
Caring for cats with heart disease
Caring for cats with heart disease requires a large amount of medication, such as blood thinners, diuretics, and cardiac medications. Long-term use of diuretics can lead to kidney problems, which is unavoidable because diuretics help the body eliminate excess fluid, reducing the burden on the heart but placing a burden on the kidneys—it is a double-edged sword.
Since diuretics promote water elimination from the body and to avoid exacerbating the burden on the kidneys, it is recommended to provide high-moisture diet for the cat. Cats taking diuretics often feel the lack of water and will actively drink, but their water intake may not keep up with the rate of fluid elimination. Wet food, fresh food, or raw meat with high moisture content is more suitable than dry kibble.
Choline is a vitamin that is helpful for maintaining health, including reducing the risk of heart disease. It is a molecule in the B-vitamin complex. Choline cannot be produced by the body itself but can only be absorbed from food. EZ Complete nutritional pre-mix powder contains choline and various vitamins, which helps strengthen the body's functions and resistance in pets.