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Do cat's have heart murmurs?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

I was wondering: Do cats have heart murmurs? If so, should I be concerned? Is there anything I can do about it? My cat is a 4-year-old male (Maine coon) who has a heart murmur.

Brenda Hatchen


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. In answer to your question, yes, cats get heart murmurs. In some cats, murmurs can be functional and not a significant problem and in other cats they can be a clear sign of disease.

I'm a little worried because Maine Coon Cats are known to get one type of heart disease called "Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy" – often abbreviated as HCM.

According to Dr. John Bonagura, a veterinary cardiologist at Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, "Males of the Maine coon cat, Persian cat and Ragdoll cat breeds are most likely to be affected with HCM along with cats ages 6 months to 4 years, though all ages can be affected.

Signs to watch for include: Noisy, difficult, open-mouthed breathing, sudden inability to use one or more limbs, odd posture of squatting or lying with chest down, head extended and elbows pointed outward, lack of appetite, weight loss and/or inactivity."


If I had a Maine coon cat with a murmur, I'd want to ensure that there is no underlying heart disease. I'd see a board-certified veterinary cardiologist for an echocardiogram to establish the health of the heart.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com is "Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Cats".

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra





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