CATS: Understanding Heart Disease

By Dr. Lidja Gillmeister

Cat veterinarian in La Jolla

Cat veterinarian in La Jolla

How healthy is your cat’s heart? Because most felines exhibit very little outward expression when it comes to their health, it may be tricky to know.

The truth is that heart disease is common in cats, and a leading cause of death for both indoor and outdoor cats before cancers and other terminal illnesses set in during old age. Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most prevalent type of heart disease in cats and can go undetected for years until the tragic death is discovered.

HCM is a disease that causes the heart ventricles to thicken. When scar tissue forms in response to the stress, the heart’s pumping power is reduced since it is less elastic and therefore weakened. In many cases, cats that suddenly die without explanation may have been affected with HCM (of course, we can try to determine the cause of death if you are able to bring your pet into our office). It’s positive to note that cats don’t typically suffer pain if diagnosed with HCM.

Symptoms of Heart Disease in Cats

If your cat is exhibiting any signs of heart disease as noted below, it may be a good idea to visit us at our La Jolla veterinary office. Visit us online at or call us directly at 858-454-6155 and set up an appointment.

Respiratory Distress. Some cats may exhibit rapid breathing or heartbeat in the presence of HCM.

Breathing with open mouth. Cats with HCM, especially progressive HCM, may breathe or pant through mainly through the mouth.

Difficulty in exercise or daily activities. Some cats with HCM have a difficult time doing any kind of strenuous activity, especially exercise like jumping, climbing or running.

Treating HCM

There is no cure for HCM, but cats that are diagnosed with heart disease still have options to ensure a comfortable life. The first line of defense against heart disease is a good, quality food, so talk to us about starting and maintaining a quality diet for your cat for a healthy life for years to come.

We can also help you treat your pet in the event HCM is diagnosed.

Diuretics and ACE inhibitors are treatments available for cats with congestive heart failure. Severe buildup in the chest cavity due to HCM can also be treated by removing fluid with a catheter to help the cat breath more freely. We may also prescribe alternative methods or treatments to ensure a comfortable and long life for the cat diagnosed with HCM.

If you suspect your cat may have heart disease, do not hesitate to give us a call at 858-454-6155 and schedule your pet’s consultation.

Related posts:

  1. The Dog Days: When Summer Hits, Be Pet-Prepared
  2. What You Need to Know About Pet Insurance & Saving Money on Pet Care
  3. Invisalign: An Adjunct to Veneers and Cosmetic Dentistry
  4. For the Love of Dog: Pets Promote Heart Health, Study Says
  5. Dental Implants: Are They Right For You?

Short URL:

Posted by Social Media Staff on Jul 30, 2013. Filed under Columns, Dr. Lidja Gillmeister, DVM, Sponsored Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Man robs Wells Fargo Bank on Del Mar Heights Road August 22, 2014
    An unidentified man robbed the Wells Fargo Bank at 3445 Del Mar Heights Road on Thursday, Aug. 21, at about 2:31 p.m. The suspect walked up to three different tellers and demanded money. No weapon was seen. The suspect was given an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect fled the bank westbound towards El Camino Real. The suspect was described as a Hispanic […]
  • Del Mar, Solana Beach cancel elections and appoint council members August 21, 2014
    Del Mar and Solana Beach voters might head to the polls in November, but it won’t be to cast a ballot for their local council members. Rather than hold fall elections, both councils opted to appoint council candidates during two special council meetings on Aug. 20. […]
  • Carmel Valley swimmer wins High Point award at 2014 Long Course Junior Olympics August 21, 2014
    Lukas Marxer of Pacific Athletic Club (Bay Club Carmel Valley), won the High Point award at the 2014 Long Course Junior Olympics at Coronado in July with a perfect score of 140 points! […]