The vet listens to the heartbeat, heart rhythm and the heart sounds to determine if the heart has any irregularities. If they hear any unusual sounds, they may require more tests, but generally, they give the diagnosis of a heart murmur. The health of the cat determines if any concern for this heart condition exists.
Types of Cat Heart Murmurs
Two types are physiological and pathological conditions. The physiological murmur results when a fever or anemia is present. The pathological murmur results when a condition affects the valves and heart muscle of the cat. Researchers conducted tests to find out more information on cat health heart murmurs.
A Boston animal hospital conducted a test on one hundred cats and found that twenty-one percent of the cats had a heart murmur. Out of the twenty-one percent, seven cats were given an echocardiography and six cats actually had a heart problem called hypertrophy cardiomyopathy. The result of the study showed that healthy cats may show signs of a heart murmur, but without proper testing, the outcome and diagnosis is inconclusive.
Heart murmurs are measured by grades. Six different types of grades exist from I to VI with grade VI the most severe and grade I mild. Veterinarians grade the heart murmur, but the murmur graded VI does not make it the worst heart murmur to have in a cat.
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Cat Heart Murmur Issues
Some kittens are born with heart murmurs that disappear by the time they reach six months. The incidental heart murmur occurs in cats that appear healthy, but they may show signs of weakness and color changes in the skin and tongue. A cat that shows signs of poor health may also experience heart murmurs. The only way to determine if a heart murmur exists is to run tests.
The only way to determine the severity of a heart murmur is by an ultrasound. If you need to have your cat spayed or neutered, a veterinarian may insist on an x-ray or n ultrasound to determine how severe the heart murmur is before doing the operation. The cat that is born with a heart murmur usually receives a lower grade type, rather than an older cat that develops a heart murmur later in life.
For the most part cat heart murmurs need no type of treatment unless they become severe or cause other health problems. Cats do have potential for congestive heart failure, although rare, this may lead to your vet ordering tests for your cat if it has a heart murmur. If you suspect your cat has a heart murmur, the only thing to do is have an exam to determine the grade of the murmur and then follow the veterinarian's advice on the care and treatment of your cat. The cat needs a healthy and happy life and only you know your cat's personality and activities.