How will I know if my cat has heart disease?
Heart disease is often called a “silent” disease in cats. That’s because cats may not show any signs of heart disease until it’s too late.
What signs should I watch for?
It’s easy to confuse the signs of feline heart disease with the signs of aging.
Watch for any of the following signs in your pet. Call your veterinarian if your cat:
- Doesn’t want to exercise or play
- Is overly tired or lethargic
- Is breathless or has difficulty breathing
- Collapses or faints
Some signs of heart disease can be detected only by your veterinarian as part of a thorough examination, including:
- Audible sounds between heartbeats (murmur)
- Gallop rhythm
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
How can my veterinarian diagnose heart disease?
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination and listen to your cat’s heart with a stethoscope. This will provide clues as to whether or not your pet has any heart-related problems and help guide the decision on the next steps for your cat.
Remember: It’s important for you to take your cat to the veterinarian regularly so that any signs can be detected as early as possible.
What tests can my veterinarian use?
The Cardiopet® proBNP Test
This is a new, simple and inexpensive test that provides results in 1–2 days and helps veterinarians diagnose heart disease in cats.
How does the test work?
The Cardiopet® proBNP Test indicates the amount of stretch and stress there is in your cat’s heart muscle by measuring NTproBNP—the same peptide, or marker, used to help diagnose heart disease in humans.
Based on your pet’s examination and test results, your veterinarian may also recommend other tests, which might include:
- An x-ray
- An echocardiogram (an ultrasound evaluation of your pet’s heart)
- An electrocardiograph (ECG)