Feline Heart Murmur
"Feline heart murmur is a condition where the valves of the heart do not closing properly. Symptoms include cough and lethargy. Treatment may not be necessary and can include medications which regulate heart rate."
A heart murmur occurs when there is a problem with a heart valve. When a valve is thickened or damaged and unable to close fully, some of the blood escapes around the valve. When the vet listens with a stethoscope, he or she can hear a swishing sound, indicating that blood is leaking out of the heart valve during a contraction of the heart muscle.
Many kittens are born with heart murmurs that close up by themselves by about 12 weeks of age. Otherwise, heart murmurs are most common in older cats.
Feline Heart Murmur SymptomsA cat heart murmur usually has no symptoms that you will notice. The vet may notice that your cat's pulse is weak, rapid, and irregular.
A heart murmur can be a symptom of other heart problems, so you may notice symptoms like a cough, panting, lack of appetite, and lethargy. If you notice these symptoms, you should take your cat to the vet.
Feline Heart Murmur DiagnosisA heart murmur diagnosis is made by listening to the heart with a stethoscope. The murmur is usually easy to hear. Sometimes cats have very rapid heartbeats when they are at the vet's office because they are stressed, and a rapid heartbeat can be a symptom of a heart murmur as well. The rapid heartbeat can make it more difficult to hear the murmur. However, an experienced vet can usually pick it up.
The heart murmur will be diagnosed during a regular check-up, which is one more good reason to make sure you take your new kitten to the vet for a check-up. Because a heart murmur can be a sign of other, more serious heart conditions, if your cat has a heart murmur, your vet will want to do some other tests. Usually that will include an x-ray and an EKG. The x-ray will allow the vet to look at the heart, and the EKG measures the activity of the heart.
Feline Heart Mumur TreatmentA feline heart murmur by itself does not necessarily require treatment. A cat can live a perfectly normal life with a heart murmur. If the heart murmur is a symptom of some form of heart disease, then that condition must be treated appropriately. That generally involves medications to regulate the heart rate and to influence the force and speed of heart muscle contraction.
How Worried Should I Be About This Heart Murmur?
Steppien, Rebecca L. DVM
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