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Cat Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump sufficient quantities of blood to the various parts of the body. As a result, tissues in various parts of the body do not get enough blood and are unable to function. Congestive heart failure is itself the result of an underlying medical condition. This could include heart disease, congenital heart defects, or even simple old age. Many of these problems can be managed quite effectively. At the very least, the cat’s discomfort can be reduced and the quality of life improved. With proper care, the animal’s life expectancy can also be increased. It is therefore important to recognize the symptoms of congestive heart failure in cats, so that the problem can be detected early and you can take the necessary steps to control it.

Symptoms of Cat Congestive Heart Failure


The main signs of congestive heart failure in cats are rapid and chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, and a chronic cough. The cough tends to be worse at certain times of the day, typically late at night or early in the morning. Breathing is sometimes more labored when the cat is lying down and after any exertion. In some cases, the cat may suffer from fainting spells quite frequently. In some cases, the difficulty breathing may be due to accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, the lungs, and the heart sac. This is typically in the case of right sided heart failure, which may also cause the liver and spleen to become enlarged.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you must consult your veterinarian at the earliest. After performing the necessary checks, the veterinarian will diagnose the problem, and plan treatment accordingly. If the problem is indeed congestive heart failure, the underlying condition also needs to be detected. Treatment will depend on the underlying condition that is causing the heart failure. Severe cases will require immediate hospitalization, but hopefully your cat will be able to return home within a short time. Medication will usually be prescribed, which could include diuretics to reduce water retention. In addition to following the course of medication prescribed, you will need to monitor your cat’s activities, and possibly restrict the level of exercise. The diet may also be need to be modified in order to restrict salt intake, as excessive salt in the diet can lead to further water retention. Your vet will give you more specific instructions with regard to diet, lifestyle, and any other necessary measures.

 
  Submitted on April 19, 2010  
 
 
 
 
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