Hospital Cases

Heart Failure in a Cat

Soxy was presented with breathing troubles, weight loss and poor appetite.

On listening to his heart, there was a loud murmur and a heart rate of approx. 220 beats a minute (nearly 3-4 beats a second). His breathing was laboured and there was fluid in his abdomen.

An ECG confirmed the rapid heart rate was made up of normal heartbeats running at an accelerated rate.

Xrays showed a lot of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema) and free fluid in his abdomen.

A cardiac ultrasound showed very thick heart chamber walls- so thick that the main left heart chamber (left ventricle) that pumps oxygen rich blood around the body was only about ¼ of its normal size.

Soxy had thickening of all the muscles in his heart- a condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Not enough blood was being pumped out of his heart to his vital organs.

The very rapid heart rate also meant that the small left ventricle chamber was not filling up to the top before contracting, so it was only pumping out a fraction of what it normally would do with a slower heart rate.

We gave Soxy intravenous injections of Frusemide which shifts fluid out of the lungs via the kidneys. We also placed him on some tablets (Cardizem) to slow the heart rate down, so in between beats the left ventricle could fill to the top and therefore pump out larger volumes to the vital organs.

Because his heart was not pumping blood out of the heart, blood trying to get into his heart was “pooling” in his lungs and abdomen. After a while, this “backlog” of blood built up pressure and starting leaking into the lungs and abdomen as a clear fluid.

Sadly, despite out best efforts, Soxy’s heart was too far gone and a decision was made to euthanise him.

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