Feline Congestive Heart Failure


Congestive heart failure happens when a cat's heart fails to pump enough blood to support the entire body. Tissues in the extremities and vital organs in more severe cases are damaged as a result of the failure. This is because the blood doesn't deliver enough oxygen to support them. Overweight and senior cats are at a higher risk of having heart failure.

There are many health problems that can cause a cat's heart to fail. Weak heart ventricles will not be able to push enough blood out of the heart. Another problem is if the ventricles cannot fill up completely with each contraction. The condition can also be caused by excessive fluid inside the heart. The left and right side of the heart can experience heart failure separately or at the same time. Each side will causes different symptoms to appear. The right side may cause the spleen to enlarge or problems with the liver. Left side heart failure creates symptoms like coughing, passing out and asthmatic breathing. Fluids may also collect inside the chest, stomach or beside the heart.

A vet will conduct several tests and inspect your cat for the symptoms described above. An ultrasound or x-ray may be taken to look for fluid build up and an enlarged heart. Sadly, congestive heart failure cannot be completely cured. A vet will prescribe several medications to minimize the fluid build up and strengthen the heart's ventricles. The fluid accumulations can also be removed through surgical procedures. A new diet will be outlined for the cat by a vet and the affected cat must be stopped from over-exerting itself. Less exercise means less strain on the heart and lower accumulation of fluids.

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Article Author: 

Jake Green