In keeping with are February Heart theme.. Cat parents this one is for you.
As we know, cats are very stoic and masters of hiding their ailments. Heart health is very important so here is some information including diseases, symptoms, and recommendations for your cats heart health.
Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart disease seen in felines. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a term used when there is no known cause, however secondary, is brought about by other conditions such as high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism etc.
Cats with secondary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy tend to be older.
The main feature of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is excessive thickening of the left ventricular wall, papillary muscles and septum. This enlargement causes stiffening and prevents the heart from expanding (to receive blood) properly. It may also reduce the ability of the valves to work properly, and in some circumstances obstruct the flow of blood out of the heart. Arrhythmias, irregularities of the heart beat and conduction disturbances are also common complications of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
The thickened wall sometimes distorts one leaflet of the mitral valve, causing it to leak.
Fluid can leak into the lungs causing heart failure.
Blood clots can form in the left atrium and be carried into the systemic arterial system, most often lodging in the terminal artery, causing paralysis of the hind legs.
Cardio=heart, myopathy=muscle disease and hypertrophic=thickened. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy tends to affect cats one to five years of age, and male cats are more commonly affected.
What are the symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?
A cat with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may display no symptoms at all, but die suddenly and unexpectedly. Symptoms may include.
- Weight loss
- Rapid, laboured and noisy breathing
- Normal bpm no more than 30 bpm per minute
- Decreased activity
- Congestive heart failure
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Heart murmur
- Lameness or paralysis of the hind legs
Are some cats more prone than others?
In humans HCM can be inherited as an autosomal manner. It appears Maine Coons and American Shorthairs also have a predisposition towards HCM.
How is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy diagnosed?
A physical examination may reveal abnormal heart or lung sounds, irregular or gallop heart rhythm or heart murmur, this may well be the first indication that your cat has HCM.
Echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) is the best diagnostic tool for HCM. Your veterinarian will evaluate the size, shape and functioning of the heart.
X-Ray can show if there is fluid in the chest and heart enlargement.
Blood tests including a complete blood count and chemistry panel. These can help provide information on the function of other organs. This information is important when determining methods of treatment.
Thyroid function test to determine if the cause is due to hyperthyroidism.
Arterial blood pressure to check for hypertension.
How is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy treated?
Asymptomatic cats may require no treatment, but your veterinarian will want to monitor him/her closely.
It is not possible to cure HCM, treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms and preventing complications.
The thick ventricles of HCM contract and relax abnormally, and to assist the relaxation phase some drugs may be necessary. Beta blocking drugs and calcium blocking channels may be prescribed to assist.
If the cat has congestive heart failure, diuretics may be prescribed.
Restricting activity also reduces the strain on the heart and your veterinarian may prescribe a period of cage rest.
For more information click on the links below:
Here are a few points to keep your cat’s heart happy and balanced
LI4 Lu11 is on either side of the dew claw of the front paw
PE6 Inside of the front limb between the tendons three cun above the crease in the wrist ( transverse carpal crease)
HT 7 PE7 in the depression between the tendon and the ligament it is a natural depression and pretty easy to find just above the bend in the wrist. Your fingers will slide in the groove on either side. Hold bold sides that is actually 2 points Ht7 and Pe7This point is considered to be the “source point” of the Heart meridian. It is very nourishing to all aspects of the heart,this clears the mind and calms the spirit great relaxation point.
LIV3 between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones