Treatments For Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy In Cats
Its name is a little difficult to pronounce, but the truth is that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats is one of the most common heart diseases in domestic cats. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it.
What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats?
This heart disease is one of the most common in cats and consists of a thickening of the myocardial mass in the right ventricle of the heart.
It is not yet known what the main causes of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats are, but those who suffer from it are known to have high levels of growth hormones. In some cases it is hereditary.
In turn, it is more prevalent in certain breeds, such as Persian, chartreaux, sphynx, british shorthair, ragdoll and maine coon. Therefore, it is believed to have to do with a genetic malformation.
Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is characterized by diastolic dysfunction and is more common in males than females. Furthermore, it is detected in young specimens, between five months and six years old.
This disease can occur at three levels: mild, moderate or severe. The latter increases the stiffness of the heart’s left ventricle and can compromise blood flow to the myocardium, which can lead to cell death or fibrosis.
Many cats suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have no visible symptoms, which is why, most of the time, the disease is not detected in time.
The veterinarian will be the only one to know how to identify any breathing difficulty, systolic murmur, tachycardia, arrhythmias, dyspnea or even paralysis in the hind limbs.
As all these signs are also typical of other common heart diseases, sometimes the provider does not know what it is and it is necessary to investigate possible hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats.
The best way to detect it is through specific tests, such as an electrocardiogram and cardiac ultrasound.
With the first, abnormal heart beats are detected and, in the second, it is possible to see an increase in ventricular thickness, a dilation of the left atrium or a decrease in the “light” in the left ventricle.
Care and treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats
Once the disease is diagnosed, the veterinarian will be in charge of indicating the most appropriate treatment.
The goal will be to improve diastolic performance, prevent the onset of thromboembolism or treat congestive heart failure.
Furthermore, the treatment will depend on several factors, such as the animal’s age and general health. You must keep in mind that this feline heart disease is incurable.
But we can help our pet to live with this disease as best we can.
The most used medications in this case are:
- Inhibitors of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) to reduce heart load.
- Diuretics to reduce fluid accumulation in the pleural space and lungs.
- Beta-blockers to slow heart rate when tachycardia occurs.
- Acetylsalicylic acid to prevent thromboembolism.
- Calcium channel blockers to relax the heart muscle.
As for care, we must ensure that our cat eats food with the least amount of salt – there are special rations – to avoid fluid retention, which can aggravate the condition.
It is also not advisable for the cat to practice physical activity or exertion when he suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, although small games and small walks around the house are necessary.
Of course, it is essential to follow the veterinarian’s recommendation to the letter, take our cat to the appointments and take any tests that the professional deems necessary.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats is quite common, although we don’t know much about it. But early detection and compliance with treatments greatly improve the health of the feline with the aforementioned pathology.