Congestive Heart Failure Average Cost

From 474 quotes ranging from $200 - 3,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure in cats is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment. Early detection may significantly increase the chance of survival. If a cat is displaying possible symptoms, a prompt veterinary consultation is warranted.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition that occurs when insufficient blood is circulated throughout the body, causing fluid to back up into the lungs. Failure can occur in either the right or left side of the heart, or in both sides. It is commonly caused by a thickening of the heart walls, also known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

Symptoms may develop slowly, making them easy to miss unless owners are vigilant. Affected cats may display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hind limb paralysis
  • Unusual lung sounds
  • Pale or blue-tinted mucous membranes
  • Heart murmur
  • Enlarged liver
  • Abdominal distension 
  • Collapse
  • Sudden death

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

Congestive heart failure can affect cats of any age, breed, or gender. It occurs more often in cats that are middle-aged or older. There is also evidence that the Maine Coon breed may have a genetic predisposition. Common causes of CHF include:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy 
  • Thyroid disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Pericardial effusion (fluid surrounding the heart)
  • Anemia
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Heart defects
  • Narrowing of aortic artery
  • Heartworm disease
  • Tumors
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth defects 

Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

The treating veterinarian will review the cat's full medical history. Owners should be prepared to discuss details regarding the onset and severity of symptoms and share any theories regarding any other possible causes. Since the condition is sometimes hereditary, any information that can be provided regarding the cat’s family line will also be helpful. 

A physical exam will be performed and standard lab tests will be ordered. These include a complete blood count (CBC), thyroid test, electrolyte panel, biochemical panel, urinalysis and heartworm test. Cats may also be tested for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia (FeLV). Using a stethoscope, the vet will be able to note sounds of congestion which would indicate the presence of fluid in the lungs. Blood pressure will be measured and visual diagnosis may be made using chest X-rays, electrocardiogram (ECG) and/or echocardiogram.

Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

Congestive heart failure caused by hyperthyroidism may be reversed once the thyroid condition has been successfully treated. In other cases, the treatment plan will be based on the severity of symptoms and the underlying cause of the condition:

Hospitalization

If symptoms are severe, particularly if the cat is having difficulty breathing or has extremely low blood pressure, hospitalization may be required. Oxygen therapy may be administered when there is fluid surrounding the heart or lungs, and the fluid may need to be drained. This will help to ease pressure on the heart, makes breathing easier. When fluid build-up has been removed, the heart is able to pump blood more efficiently. If fluid is present in the chest or abdomen, it may be removed using a technique called tapping.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery may be recommended to treat cases of congestive heart failure that are caused by a birth defect or a congenital or acquired heart valve disease. This treatment option is often expensive and requires a surgical specialist. 

Symptom Management

In most cases, congestive heart failure it is not curable. Prescription medications can be used to control symptoms and improve the overall quality of life. Diuretics help to reduce fluid build-up, and vasodilators or ACE inhibitors ease the flow of blood through the body by dilating the blood vessels. Positive inotropes cause the heart to beat more forcefully, which increases the amount of blood that is pumped through the body. Prescription medications will likely need to be used for the remainder of the cat’s life.

Recovery of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

Cats that have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure will need frequent follow-up visits. During the appointments, it is likely that blood tests, radiographs, and echocardiograms will be performed in order to monitor the cat's heart health. It is important to attend all follow-up appointments as medication may need to be adjusted periodically.

A low-sodium diet that is balanced and highly nutritious will likely be recommended. There are many commercially-available cat foods that meet this requirement. Diet is very important to successful recovery, and no changes should be made without first checking with the veterinarian. 

In some cases, the vet will recommend a moderate exercise plan intended to strengthen the heart while keeping blood pressure at a controlled rate. If the vet has not specifically recommended exercise then the cat should be kept calm and activity should be limited. When cats are unwilling to comply, owners may need to take preventative measures. Periodic cage rest may be necessary and it may be helpful to set up barriers to limit space available for running and jumping.

Congestive Heart Failure Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Simon
dsh
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Asymptomatic

Medication Used

Enalapril

I have been planning to move from NYC to California with my two cats. To my surprise, Simon was diagnosed with myocardial disease 6 months ago--he had no symptoms. He started taking enalapril, pimobendan, and Plavix. (He does not have CHF.)

He had his second EKG last week, and the vet said one of the chambers of his heart had actually gotten smaller. The report mentions systolic and diastolic dysfunction, mild concentric left ventricular hypertropy, mild atrial dilation, and dynamic right ventricular outflow tract gradient (benign). He has no cardiac related symptoms.


My question is about travel with him. I do not want to put him in danger by putting him on a plane. We live in a quiet apartment, and the cats spend only about 15 minutes in their carriers on the way to and from the vet. No other travel. Could being confined, the noise of the airport, the long flight, etc., stress him out so much that he goes into CHF? Would it help to start taking them on long car trips so they get used to being confined to their carriers and being in motion?

I have been wanting to move for years, but I simply could not go if it would be a significant threat to Simon.

I know this sounds crazy, but if I could hire my vet to come on the flight with us--with whatever medications would be appropriate--would that be helpful? (I've known my vet for a very long time, he has family in California, and this is really not as crazy as it sounds.)

I know there are no guarantees, but I would appreciate any insights you might have. This is a tough decision.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2492 Recommendations
You should discuss Simon’s condition and your plans with your Veterinarian, since I haven’t personally examined Simon I cannot clear him as being fit to travel by air; care must be taken to determine the travel conditions of the airline you plan on travelling with as some airlines allow pets (cats and small dogs) in the cabin while others put them in the cargo hold. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sophia
American Shorthair
14 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

respiratory distress

My calico kitty is in ER & Oxygen ICU, had 240mL fluid drained and it is milky, not clear. She has NO other symptoms other than she was not breathing right (sides sucking way in and then a very THUMP like blowing out of her abdominal cavity) so I took her in. She does take meds for high blood pressure (Amlodepine) but otherwise she is active, eats well, and basically happy. She is borderline HyperT but not enough to medicate. Kidney values are "good". She is 14 yo. Why would fluid be milky and will fluid keep filling up in her chest? I do not want her to repeat this traumatizing event.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1076 Recommendations
Sophia has some complicated health problems, and without knowing more about her, I have a hard time commenting on the fluid that was removed from her chest. Since she was seen by the ER vetererinians, it would be best to ask them what might be going on, and how to prevent it from happening, if that is possible. Depending on the cause, you may not be able to prevent it, but may be able to control it.

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Peach
Domestic long hair
10 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Hard breathing

Medication Used

Salix

My male cat Peach was diagnosed with congestive heart failure yesterday. After spending $350 at vet for x-ray and for the fluid to be taken out seemed to be doing much better. When I got home I mistakenly crushed his salix in his food which made him puke it up and then a horrendous sound came out of his mouth everytime he breathed. Then he made this noise twice in a row that I had never heard from him before which freaked me right out which made me go straight to emergency, another $250 spent there for him to get oxygen a injection of salix and an injection of anti vomit medication because he had also vomited at the emergency. They also put the ultra sound on him for less than 2 seconds which they said they saw that his atrium was enlarged so they were pretty sure it WAS chf but should follow up with a cardiologist. I have been out of work for a month after torn mcl and am out of funds, I was out of funds before these expensive vet visits. Can a cardiologist actually be able to give my kitty a longer life with these diagnostics? We're really not even sure of age because he showed up at our doorstep one day and claimed our house to be his as well. He could be older than what we think. He has been doing SO much better than when we brought him home from emergency. First night he wouldn't leave the water dish. Since he's been coming around for pets and fresh air saw him eat SOME dry food not as much as usual. Another question can salix make them less hungry? Thanks for listening and I hope you can answer both of my questions.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1076 Recommendations
I'm sorry that Peach is having this problem. If you are unable to afford an appointment with a cardiologist, there are some common medications that he can be on to improve his heart function and give him a chance - whether he responds to them will just take time to find out. Salix won't make them less hungry, no, but CHF will, as they don't feel good when they are having problems breathing. If he seems to be more social, and is eating, those are positive signs, and you can talk with your veterinarian about medications if you are not able to see the cardiologist. I hope that he does well.

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Lovey
Scottish Fold
7 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, heavy breathing, fluid

Medication Used

Lasix

My cat yesterday was diagnosed with CHF They had her on oxygen therapy and lasix. They told me she is doing better but want a cardio to give her an echo. She has (had a benign heart murmur) they are saying meds, etc but I would like a real life guess as her life expectacy. Also quality of life. She is my sweetheart but what am I doing if I put her through all this for 3-6 months. Am I being selfish? Please help. Thx

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2492 Recommendations
Without me examining Lovey and having the echocardiography done I cannot be sure whether this may be successfully managed over a long period of time or if it is a case of prolonging the inevitable. You should visit a Cardiologist to get all the information that you can and to have the echocardiography done as well so that you are able to make an informed decision. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Safari
dsh
9 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Fast Breathing

Hi, I have a cat who is breathing really fast or is having a fast heartbeat, I can't tell which one. She doesnt want to eat or drink. She does walk but only to her box to rest. She only wants to rest. I'm not sure if it's an enlarged heart or congestive heart failure or something else. Please help to determine if there is any treatment or a full recovery. I don't want to waste money on the inevitable. Her symptoms are not using the litter box, lack of play or interest of doing anything other than laying down, not eating or drinking, can hear her breathing, and the heavy or fast heartbeat or breathing.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1076 Recommendations
Without examining Safari, I have no way to determine what is the cause of her breathing or increased heart rate. She needs to be seen by a veterinarian - they will be able to give you an idea as to what might be going on, as well as any testing or treatment options, and you will be able to make educated decisions. At the very least, if it is her time, she will be able to go peacefully, rather than seeming as uncomfortable as she is now. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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Spot
American Shorthair
13 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Sudden Death

My cat had asthma and hyoerthyroidism controlled with meds. He had a fast heartbeat and a murmur. Found him on step near our house dead after being outside for five hours in 40 degree weather. He usually came back if he was comd. Could he have been in pain and hiding before he tried coming home and collapsed? Congestive heart failure maybe. Two weeks prior he was coughing abd we took him to emergency vet who prescribed antobiotics which worked. He was fine when I let him out! Could the cold have contributed to heart failure and was ut a slow ir fast death? Heartbroken that I didnt look for him earlier but he always came back.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1076 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry for the loss of your Spot. The cold may have exacerbated his asthma, or respiratory conditions. We may never know what happened, or if he suffered, but he did come home to you, and it seems that he died suddnenly, with no pain. I am sorry for your loss, again.

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Eevee
Norwegian Forest
6 Months
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing sometimes
Problems in breathing
Weakness
Rapid breathing

Medication Used

Salbitamol

My cat is having difficulties in breathing and have been fast breathing lately I took her to the vet many times and the doctor told me to give her salbitamol twice a which is a cure for bronchitis or asthma
I think he misdiagnosed her because she's only getting worse
I really need help and I don't know what to do.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1076 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm not sure how long your cat has been having this problem, but if inhaled steroids aren't helping with her condition, you may wish to seek a second opinion, or ask your veterinarian what other testing might be needed to determine the cause for her breathing problems. She is a very young cat, and possible reasons for her problems might be a bacterial or fungal infection, an anatomic abnormality, or a heart condition. If x-rays have not been taken, that would be a good next step. I hope that she recovers well.

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