Cardiomyopathy is the name given to any disease affecting the heart muscle. This is the most common heart condition affecting cats. Some of the causes of cardiomyopathy that we know of include hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, excessive growth hormone, nutritional deficiencies such as taurine-related dilated cardiomyopathy, lymphosarcoma, hereditary diseases, genetic defects, and drugs and toxins. Early signs of heart disease include cardiac dysrhythmias.
It is important to have regular checkups as this may be the only detection that a bigger problem exists. Heart conditions like cardiomyopathy can progress to what is termed congestive heart failure. When the cat’s heart begins to fail, you may see difficult breathing, cold extremities, or pale mucous membranes. These are all indications of an emergency situation.
Managing a cat with a serious heart condition may be difficult. A sodium-restricted diet, a quiet and safe place for the cat to rest, and the elimination of stress are important facets of treatment. The best way to prevent heart disease is through regular exercise and optimum nutrition.