If you have cats in your family, you should know that they're susceptible to heart disease. Sadly, they usually don't exhibit noticeable signs until the disease has progressed to life-threatening status. Luckily, there are some tale-tell signs that can give you enough time to get your cat to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Here are five signs you need to be aware of.
General Appearance of Sickness
Feline heart disease can leave your cat feeling sick. If your cat is resting more than it used to or has stopped grooming itself, it may be experiencing the initial symptoms of the disease. Watch your cat closely for a few days. If your cat continues to show symptoms of illness or lethargy, schedule an appointment with the veterinarian.
Spend enough time with your cat and you'll become familiar with its breathing patterns. If you notice significant changes in the way it breathes, especially if its breathing has become more rapid, or if seems to be struggling to breath, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible. Those changes in breathing patterns could signify heart disease.
Significant Weight Changes
If you're concerned about your cat's health, it's a good idea to keep track of its weight. Dramatic changes in your cat's weight – either gained or lost – could point to serious health issues, particularly heart disease. If your cat has had a change of more than a pound in a short period of time, you need to take your cat to the vet – especially if your cat has not experienced any dietary changes.
Feline heart disease can cause uncontrollable coughing, which can lead to gagging or vomiting. If your cat has begun coughing for no apparent reason, you should talk to your veterinarian. If your cat becomes weak or lethargic following a coughing spell, you'll need to take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Weakness or Paralysis in Back Legs
If your cat has heart disease, it may develop blood clots in its heart that can eventually block the arteries. If that happens, the blood supply to your cat's extremities can be interfered with. Unfortunately, that can lead to weakness or even paralysis in its legs, especially the hind legs. Talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible if your cat has difficulty using its hind legs.
Feline heart disease can be fatal if left untreated. The information provided above will help you monitor your cat's heart health. If your cat exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to contact a local veterinarian.