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Cat enlarged heart

Cat Enlarged Heart

A congestive heart failure in cats is commonly known as cat enlarged heart.

This condition is one of the more serious cat heart problems. The enlargement takes place when the cat’s heart cannot keep up with the demands of its body’s circulation. In most cases, problems like valve defects, heartworms, heartbeat abnormalities, hyperthyroidism or tumors are the underlying causes of an enlarged heart.

The most common cat heart disease that leads to an enlarged heart is dilative or dilated cardiomyopathy. This disease weakens the walls of the heart, causing them to thin out and become rounded. The exact cause of cardiomyopathy is still unknown, however, a few possible causes could be - the lack of antioxidants or genetics.

If the root cause of the enlargement can be cured, then the enlarged heart is curable. Sadly, most cases of cat heart enlargement can only be controlled for a while, to extend the cat’s life by a bit. Incase the underlying reason for the enlargement cannot be cured the cat’s health will deteriorate, in spite of undergoing treatments. The expectancy of the cat’s life then depends on how soon the enlarged heart is detected and treated. The cat’s overall health will also play an important role in the treatment. If the problem is treated soon, the cat can live for years, being free of symptoms.

The symptoms of enlarged heart in cats do not normally emerge, till the condition progresses to an advanced stage. Symptoms like listlessness, weight loss, weakness, loss of appetite, breathing problems and inability to exercise could point towards an enlarged heart. If the cat suffering from this problem is examined by a vet, an unusual pattern or sound in the heartbeat, know as a “heart murmur” may be detected during the physical exam. Incase a cat is being tested for an enlarged heart, a heart murmur would probably be the first test, followed by X-rays & then perhaps an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram and a blood test. If the enlargement is not caused by an underlying cause, then the condition cannot really be treated permanently, but the symptoms can be controlled with the use of drugs. Diuretics can be used to get rid of the excess fluid, present in the lungs and the chest cavity. A vasodilator can dilate the blood vessels to reduce the cat’s blood pressure, & decrease the strain on the cat’s heart. ACE inhibitors can improve the way the heart functions. Large cats may also need to be put on a diet, for the treatment to be more successful.

  Submitted on May 12, 2010  

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