Understanding Feline Heart Disease
Feline heart disease is often a silent killer. A cat can seem fine one day, but be dead the next because of the condition. This can be very devastating for the owners, who might feel guilty that they didn't do anything. But in reality, the symptoms of feline heart disease are often very subtle, at least to the untrained eye.
This is not to say that there aren't internal symptoms associated with feline heart disease. In fact, one of the most common is a heart murmur, something that only a vet could determine. That's why it's important that cat owners schedule regular check-ups for their pet... even if the animal seems healthy. Remember, if a vet can diagnose feline heart disease in its earlier stages, they have a greater chance of saving the cat's life.
So, what specific types of conditions would vets be on the lookout for when trying to diagnose feline heart disease? Usually the conditions will come in the form of a cardiomyopathy, where the heart or its vessels are negatively affected in some way. If a vet determines that the cat is not suffering from a cardiomyopathy, they might look for another type of feline heart disease: heartworms. This is a condition where parasites infect a cat's heart after being transmitted from a mosquito bite. If the condition is not controlled, the worm could block arteries and/or travel to other areas of the body.
If a vet determines that a cat has any form of feline heart disease, they begin treatment immediately. Owners will have to give their pets different types of medication. The only exception could be if a cat has a very mild case of heartworms. In this situation, a vet may not recommend any treatment if a cat doesn't appear to be in distress. Of course, they will still keep an eye on the animal to make sure that the heartworms don't progress to a more advanced stage. If it does, the vet will have to prescribe medication to resolve the problem.
As far as caretaking, owners may have to restrict their pet to a cage while it is recovering from feline heart disease. This puts less pressure on the heart simply because the cat is not as active. Additionally, owners may have to lessen the amount of salt their pet consumes, since salt has a tendency of increasing blood pressure.
In conclusion, pet owners cannot rely on overt physical symptoms when it comes to feline heart disease. Yet, if they make sure their cat has monthly physical exams, a trained vet should be able to determine if the animal is suffering from this condition. If they are, treatment is much easier, since the disease would've been caught in time. So, go on and take your cat to the vet. If money is a problem, you can consider getting pet insurance and/or seeing what alternative payment plans your vet offers. Some vets might be willing to give you a discount if you are regular customer.