What causes heart murmurs in cats?
Feline heart murmers are basically when the blood leaving your cat's heart as it gets pumped out or moving through the heart makes an unusual sound. Usually this is caused by some abnormality or defect, often in the structure of the cat's heart. A cat's heart murmurs are usually rated from Grade 1 to Grade 6. Grade 6 are the worst and most severe murmurs.
What is the causes?
In a cat it is caused by a number of different things. First, some heart murmurs in cats are congenital - they are born with them as kittens. Often these are minor and will be outgrown as the cat gets older. Second, sometimes infections in the cat can cause them as a result of bacteria that build up on the heart valves. Third, feline anemia can cause them as well.
How do I tell if my cat has one?
You probably can't, unless you've got a stethoscope and veterinary training. Your vet will be able to, though, by listening closely to the cat's heartbeat for irregularities.
Is it dangerous?
A heart murmer is not always dangerous. You should look for other symptoms - generally, it starts to be a problem if the cat is also behaving lethargic (moving around slowly, lacking energy, etc.) or if the cat has stopped eating. They are not necessarily dangerous in and of themselves - they are often just minor defects in the heart that don't do anything to the cat other than make the heartbeat sound strange. However, if your cat has one, you will want to be on guard. They can be perfectly fine for a long time and then start having troubles as the cat gets older.
What is the treatment?
The best treatment for your cat is to get an ultrasound done of the cat's heart. This will tell the vet if there are any serious problems with the structure of it that need attention. You should also have the cat checked out for feline cardiomyopathy, a heart problem in cats that can be related to a murmur.
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