Heart diseases

Cardiomyopathies are the most common heart diseases in cats, but other heart diseases sometimes occur. In addition, cats have the same congenital heart diseases as dogs. Cardiomyopathies refer to a heart muscle disease in which the heart muscle thickens (HCM), thins (DCM), stiffens (RCM) or becomes fatty, resulting in arrhythmia (ARVC). On the other hand, arrhythmia can also occur if the cat has high blood pressure or, for example, hyperthyroidism. 

It is also typical that the murmur is not heard even if the cat has a clearly noticeable heart disease, and the murmur does not directly mean heart disease or even prevent breeding. More than a fifth of cats with the disease are asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease, and many cats that have died unexpectedly belong to this group. 

For this reason, cats with murmurs should be ultrasounded, even if there are no other heart symptoms and vice versa. Even cats used for breeding, which are clearly representative of their breed in terms of heart disease, should be ultrasounded before being used for breeding. The breeds also include the Norwegian forest cat, but the most represented is the Maatiainen and the Sphynx, other breeds are also included in the scope of increased susceptibility. 

Advanced heart disease always leads to heart failure, drugs received in time slow down the progression, increase life expectancy and improve the quality of life, but do not stop the progression of the disease. There is no cure for heart disease, the disease progresses and eventually leads to death, but many times medicines give you so much life time that age also starts to catch up. Poor feeding can also lead to heart disease (taurine deficiency).

Take your pet to the vet if...​

  • it breathes heavily

  • has difficulty moving

  • it is more tired than normal

  • it has cool limbs

  • it coughs (more common in dogs)

... for a heart ultrasound, you should make an appointment with a veterinarian specializing in internal medicine