What Should You Know About Congenital Heart Defects In Cats?


Aorta is the main artery, which feeds the oxygenated blood from the left-hand side of the heart to the body. Moreover, the pulmonary artery carries the deoxygenated blood, for it to be oxygenated, roaming from the right-hand side of the heart through the lungs. When the blood has already been oxygenated by the lungs. This will then return to the left side of the heart, via the pulmonary to be pushed out in the body through the aorta. Any condition that impedes this process may be delicate for the overall health. In this article, we will be discussing what congenital heart defects in cats really is. Give this article a read and know more about this.

Congenital Heart Defects in Cats: What is this feline condition?

The congenital heart defects in cats are not frequently diagnosed up until later in life. Nonetheless, kittens may show some symptoms briefly after birth, even though it is rare. Furthermore, congenital heart defect in cats are issues within the structure of the heart, which develop while that is still in the mother’s womb.

Furthermore, cats may also have heart conditions, which are not because of infection, trauma or disease. Additionally, some cats are also born with these heart issues, which may cause them to have poor overall health.

Types of Congenital Heart Defects

There are numerous types of congenital heart defects in cats. Furthermore, it’s often hard to diagnose them since they show the same set of symptoms. The following are some types of congenital heart defects in cats, which can be existent at birth:

  • Endocardial fibroelastosis
  • Cor triatriatum sinister
  • Mitral and tricuspid valve dysplasia
  • Tetralogy of fallot
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Pulmonary valve sternosis
  • Aortic stenosis

Causes of Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects in cats may occur in the womb. These particular conditions are considered to be rare. In accordance to the Merck Manual Pet Health Addition, the congenital heart defect in cats are seen in less than 1% of the cat population. Though in a lot of cases there are no known causes, there are several things, which are thought to cause these defects to happen.

The following are some of the causes of congenital heart defects:

  • Medications taken by the mother cat throughout the pregnancy
  • Malnutrition of the mother cat
  • Chemical ingestion or poisoning in the mother cat
  • Genetics

Symptoms of Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects in cats are often characterized by certain symptoms. Below are some of the most common among these symptoms, which mainly affect the domestic cats.

  • Labored breathing
  • Losing consciousness
  • Inability to exert themselves during an exercise
  • Bluish-tinted skin
  • Fluid accumulation in the stomach
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Chronic coughing

Prognosis of Congenital Heart Defects

Vets use a range of methods in diagnosing congenital heart defects in cats. The vet might take a complete medical history of the cat before examining the cat. To be able for him to have a precise picture, you need to include any information you have about the pregnancy of the mother cat, any symptoms you’ve seen in the cat for the past months, as well as its birth history. Further, it is also significant to include the date of the onset. After the vet takes the medical history, he will perform the examination. He will be observing the cat’s motor skill, gait, as well as overall behavior.

Certain lab tests may help the vet in getting an accurate prognosis. Moreover, the technician may take a blood sample from the cat and send it for testing. A CBC will detect any infection and the doctor might also look for the signs of diabetic or thyroid conditions. Additionally, a urine sample may also be taken to check for any infection.

Moreover, diagnostic tests like x-rays are done in detecting the structural defects in the cat’s heart. These are commonly done in-house. The advanced tests might need a referral to a specialty vet clinic. Further, an electrocardiogram is often used in viewing the defects in the heart vessels. CT scans may also give vets a more thorough view than the x-rays of the lungs and heart. This test may also give the vet more info about the structure of the ventricles, valves, and heart than any other imaging tests.

Treatment for Congenital Heart Defects

The treatments for congenital heart defects in cats vary on the cause of the condition. The mild symptoms may need no treatment at all. Kittens might have a mild heart murmur, which is known as the innocent murmur in the vet world. This just means that while the doctor may detect a murmur, it’ll not affect the cat’s health at present or even in the future. In the older cats, the treatments may include keeping the cat as calm as possible with the lifestyle changes, special medications and diets. Further, surgery in correcting the structural heart defects isn’t often recommended for cats over 10 years old.

In the young cats, vets may recommend surgical procedure in repairing congenital defects, which cause the structural abnormalities. Furthermore, some kinds of surgeries performed in cats include aortic repair, surgery in repairing heart chambers, as well as cardiopulmonary bypass.

In the younger cats, medications like vasodilators, digoxin, and diuretics might be recommended in controlling the symptoms. Some illnesses like mitral valve problems aren’t well controlled using medications.


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