It is often said that cats have nine lives. But, do you know that your kitty can also suffer from a variety of heart conditions, ranging from benign to life-threatening? As surprising as it might sound, due to this reason, it is important to take care of your feline's health. One of the diseases that is most prevalent in cats is heart murmur. The important thing to note is not all heart murmurs are severe. Hence, if you suspect that your fur baby is suffering from heart murmurs, have her evaluated properly by your veterinarian, so that she can be treated, before the situation worsens. This would not only assist in prolonging the lifespan of your fur baby, but also ensure that she lives well beyond the nine lives!!!
While taking your furry companion to the vet's clinic, do not forget to ask these pertinent questions to the veterinarian about heart murmurs in felines:
Questions To Vet About Heart Murmurs in Cats
Q : What Exactly Is A Heart Murmur?
A: A heart murmur is an irregular heart sound, that is usually heard by listening to the heart using a stethoscope. A heart murmur happens when the blood flow in the heart becomes disruptive. There are several heart murmurs that are benign by nature. But not always, which in turn can further indicate heart disease or structural issues. There are kittens that display a murmur when they are approximately 6 to 8 weeks of age, but then outgrow within a few months. Even adult cats can suffer from intermittent heart murmurs, when their stress levels are high. But when the feline relaxes, the condition disappears.
Q: Explain Different Types Of Heart Murmurs In Cats?
A: There are specifically three types of murmurs:
A feline suffers from systolic heart murmurs when her heart muscle contracts, whereas diastolic heart murmurs are caused when the heart muscle relaxes between beats. Continuous heart murmurs prevail throughout the cardiac cycle. Heart murmurs can further be classified into different grades from I to V depending on their loudness and location. Grade I is the stage where the murmur is barely audible, while in grade V the murmur is extremely loud, but only audible through a stethoscope. But, the vibration is so strong that it can be felt through the chest wall of the feline.
Remember that the loudness of the murmur showcases the amount of turbulence prevailing in the heart of the kitty. But, also note that it does not directly correlate with the intensity of any underlying diseases.
Q: What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Murmurs?
A: The symptoms of heart murmurs are contingent on different factors encompassing configuration, grade and location. The symptoms can be non-existent to depicting serious signs of heart disease like shortness of breath or coughing.
Q: What Causes Heart Murmurs in Cats?
A: There are various factors that can cause heart murmurs in felines including:
Q: How Do You Diagnose Heart Murmurs?
A: Your veterinarian would use a stethoscope to detect heart murmur during routine veterinary examination. If he/she finds an abnormal rhythm in the heartbeat of finds that your feline has a weak pulse, then murmur can be the most probable reason for it. A cat that is suffering from a heart murmur due to structural heart disease or an extra cardiac problem will also show various clinical signs, which might be subtle in the beginning, but as the disease progresses, the signs will become more prominent.
If the murmur is caused by heart disease, then additional diagnostic testing would be carried out and may or may not include treatment by a cardiologist. If it is found that the murmur is caused due to an underlying heart condition, an NT-proBNP test would be recommended by your veterinarian. It is a simple blood test that is used to find, examine and assess the severity of heart disease. It can even be used to locate the stress placed on the heart and any damage in it. An increased level in the proBNP levels suggests that the kitty is suffering from heart disease.
Q: How Are Heart Murmurs Treated?
A: The treatment is totally contingent on the underlying cause. If you have a young kitten who has a murmur of low intensity, your veterinarian would recommend a re-examination in a few weeks, to evaluate whether the murmur has altered in intensity / totally disappeared. In adult cats, the severity of the murmur would determine the treatment which might involve treatments, radiographs, and a trip to the cardiologist for further testing.
Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat. So, always get essential cat supplies and keep your feline physically fit.
It is very essential to take care of cats in their golden years. Cats are considered senior between the age of 11 and 14 and geriatric over the age of 15. As human starts aging, they slow and gradually do the things, it goes same with the cats too. Even they get slow, when they enter their senior years. So, here are some ways you can follow to keep your old cat healthy and happy well into her golden years.
Regular Veterinary Care:
It is really important to take care of your senior cats, for this you need to visit veterinarian two times a year. It depend on the health status of your old kitty, sometimes she may need even more frequent visits.
Maintain A Healthy Weight:
Cats in golden years can gain weight easily, due to their reduced levels of activity. It is necessary, that you give her proper diet taking the right advice from the vet. Or the obesity can lead your cat to many other heath problems like diabetes, arthritis etc. You can even start the supplements taking the advice of your vet such as Value Plus Organic Calcium Supplements for Pets.
Look For Signs Of Arthritis:
Recognizing and treating the arthritis in early stages, can improve your senior feline's quality of life. Arthritis develops when the cartilage within joints wear down, leading to inflammation and pain. This can cause pain in the weight-bearing joints like the shoulders, hips, elbows, knees and ankles. The best selling product for joint care in cats is Joint Guard.
Modify Cat's Environment:
You need to change the old cat's place, as she cat jump and sleep on her spots on cat trees etc. Place some ramp or steps, so that she climb her to bed or to her other spots easily. Get litter box which are comfortable for your senior cat to get in and out.
Look For Behavior Changes:
Cats are very good in hiding their illness. As a owner, it your responsibility to see is there any deviation in your cat's regular routine, no matter how subtle, can be a indicator of health problem. There may be changes as increased vocalization, different sleeping patterns, problems with elimination, increased thirst or urination, loss of appetite etc. These all can be the indicators, that your cat requires veterinary attention.
Maintain Oral Health:
At highest percentage cats visit the vet for oral health problems. Good dental health is one of the most important thing to take care of senior cats. They not only cause pain and tooth decay, but it can result in damage of other organs such as kidneys and heart. Make sure, that you brush your cats teeth on regular basis or twice or thrice in a week. There are many products on market which can help to prevent dental diseases such as: Pet Dent Tootpaste, Pet Dent Oral Rinse, Pet Dent Gel, Pet Dent Finger Brush and Pet Dent Toot Brush.
Fat – Not good for cats. This is a general norm in most pet parents. But, what the least they don’t know is – Actually fat is good for cats. To put some light on this, let’s explore into the deeper aspects. With Obesity being the major issue in pets especially in felines in America, people are deviating toward diet food. Strictly adhering to the self-made rules about what to give and what not to give to control obesity, major cat owners make a mistake of totally avoiding fat in the cat meals. Whereas clearing those overweight myths, pet parents need to get enlightened about the truth hidden in this fat.
If you’re one of those cat owners and quite finicky like cats to what to give and what not to in order to control that extra calories, we take on this journey of fat facts and why fat is so essential for your cat for their overall health.
What are fats?
Fats means not all about that extra pounds that paves way to obesity. There are numerous types of fats present in cat food and each type of them are essential playing their crucial part in the diet. Fats used in cat food are highly digestible and are a source of energy.
All fats are fatty acids. These fatty acids can be thought of as building blocks of the different types of fats. They may be classified as saturated, unsaturated or unpolysaturated based on the number of bonds between them. Omega 3 and omega 6 are highly essential that help to keep skin and coat health.
What are the essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids are those that your cat is unable to synthesize by itself and therefore must be supplied in the diet. Linoleic and arachidonic acid both of which are omega-6 fatty acids. These are highly supplemented in cat food due to their many benefits such as they increase brain function and lessen inflammation.
Why Fat Is Good For Your Cat ? What do Fats do?
Fat plays an important role in the total wellbeing of your cat. Some of the ways in which fat helps cats includes:
What are the common sources of fat in cat food?
Animal fat and vegetable oil are highly used as sources of fat in the diet of dogs and cats. Arachidonic acid is found in the fat of animal and fish oil. Linoleic acid is found poultry, beef and pork fat but the best sources are soybean, corn and safflower oil, whereas omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, krill oil and flaxseed.
What is the limit of fat intake?
The best cat food available will have the appropriate portion of fat in it. Contrarily, you need to remember that your cat has unique feeding requirements. For example, a cat with pancreatic condition may require cat food that is lower in fat. The best option to find out which diet is appropriate for your cat, consult your vet, who can guide you in the right direction.
Many pet owners are not aware that cats can also get affected with heartworms. As cats are not as likely to get infected by the disease as dogs, much information for the same is too little. Though this disease is totally different in cats, it’s vital to explore the facts about the same as it can be as fatal as it is in dogs.
It has taken decades for veterinarian societies to find how heartworms have the same dangerous effect on the feline community; however, the way it turns out varies compared to the heartworm infection in dogs.
Let us first go step by step starting from knowing the symptoms of heartworms in cats and finally concluding whether treatment really exist for this disease in felines or not.
One of the most dreadful symptom in cats is sudden death, and heartworm is the second most common causes of 76 % of deaths in felines besides hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a kind of heart disease.
Some of other symptoms of cat's heartwormer disease are as follows:
Acute Clinical Symptoms
Chronic Clinical Sighs
Most Common Causes of Heartworms in Cats
Whether it’s dog or a cat, heartworm in transmitted through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes carry infective heartworm larvae from the host to the victim. Compared to dogs, the lifecycle of heartworms affecting cats is shorter, therefore it is quite difficult to learn the infestation process in cats.
In dogs, immature heartworms reach the heart and blood vessels of the lungs, where they mature and multiply releasing heartworm larvae – microfilaria in the blood. This phenomenon is not common in felines and less than 20 percent of cats are infected with this.
It is quite difficult to diagnose heartworm disease in cats as there is no specific tests that help in processing out the presence of heartworms in felines. Therefore, different tests are performed to aid in the diagnosis of this disease such as urine analysis, heartworm antigen and antibody tests, x-rays (which may unveil specific enlargement of certain veins and arteries associated with heartworm disease and an ECG (electrocardiograph), which may support in the identification of worms in the heart or pulmonary artery.
As difficult as it is to diagnosis Heartworms in cats, it’s too tough to treat the infected cat. In medical treatment, there is no approved medication helpful for killing adult heartworms in the body of the cats. The only chance for cure is a surgical method to extract the adult worms. Nevertheless, the other issue is – as the heartworms in cats have a lower lifespan than those infest dogs, a spontaneous cure is the only remedy. Moreover, different medications may be used in order to help treat symptoms as well.