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What is Heart and Lung Disease?

The category of lung disease in cats also encompasses a wide range of conditions. Bacterial infection, congestive heart failure, tumors or immune reactions can all cause lung disease in cats. It is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat is suffering from a heart or lung disease, as these conditions can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated by a professional. 

Unfortunately, heart and lung diseases afflict cats just as they do humans. More than one in ten pets examined by a veterinarian has some form of heart disease. Heart disease in cats can be present at birth (congenital), or acquired. Common heart ailments that affect cats are myocardial disease, arrhythmias, vascular (blood vessel) disease and heartworm infection.

Heart and Lung Disease Average Cost

From 561 quotes ranging from $1,000 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Symptoms of Heart and Lung Disease in Cats

Cats with heart disease may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms related to the cardiovascular system:

  • Coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Fluid accumulation or swelling in the abdomen
  • Rapid, slowed or irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Failure of a kitten to grow

Symptoms of lung disease in cats include:

  • Pus, blood or mucous discharge from the nose
  • Dry or mucosal cough
  • Rapid breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Pain with breathing
  • Loud breathing or breathing accompanied by abnormal noises

Some diseases, such as congestive heart failure, affect both the lungs and the heart. In that case your cat may show symptoms of both, especially a wet cough, labored breathing and fluid accumulation in the abdomen. 

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Causes of Heart and Lung Disease in Cats

There are quite a few types of heart and lung diseases in cats, which can be divided into two major categories, congenital and acquired. Congenital heart and lung diseases are present at birth and often relate to a malformed or defective heart or lung structure. While congenital heart and lung defects are relatively rare, some of the more common types include:

  • Heart murmurs
  • Septal defects, or abnormalities in the tissue that partitions chambers of the heart
  • A defect in the lining of the heart
  • Stenosis, or obstruction of blood flow to or from an area of the heart
  • Defective heart valves

Acquired heart and lung diseases in cats are more prevalent. Among the most common heart and lung diseases in cats are:

  • Lung or heart infection, such as a bacterial infection or heartworms
  • Congestive heart failure, or fluid buildup around the lungs and heart
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Feline respiratory disease complex
  • Degenerative valve disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Infective endocarditis
  • Pericardial disease
  • Pulmonary or systemic hypertension

Needless to say, congenital and acquired heart and lung diseases in cats are serious and complicated cases that can only be diagnosed and treated by licensed veterinary professional. 

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Diagnosis of Heart and Lung Disease in Cats

A veterinarian will begin the diagnostic process with a thorough physical exam of your cat, accompanied by a review of the medical record and history. Your veterinarian will listen to your cat's heart and lungs using a stethoscope to discover whether irregular heartbeat or fluid accumulation is present. Imaging, such as x-rays, electrocardiography, and echocardiography can be used to diagnose arrhythmias, confirm the presence of heartworms or discover structural abnormalities. 

Typically, a physical examination and imaging is enough to diagnose heart and lung disease in cats. For more complicated cases or rare conditions, additional tests such as cardiac catheterization or nuclear studies may be ordered to provide a more complete understanding of your cat's heart and lungs. 

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Treatment of Heart and Lung Disease in Cats

Regardless of your cat's condition, a veterinarian will be concerned with restoring normal heart and lung function, minimizing damage to the heart and lungs, restoring normal heart rhythm or rate, or resolving an infection using anti-parasitics in the case of heartworms or antibiotics in the case of a bacterial infection. 

The course of treatment recommended by your veterinarian will vary widely depending on your cat's final diagnosis. Surgery is often required to repair congenital abnormalities that are diagnosed early in a kitten's life. For many conditions, kittens recover fully after surgery and live normal lives. For others, the prognosis is not as reassuring. Your veterinarian will present you with choices of treatment options that fit your cat's conditions and paint a more detailed picture of your cat's health and outlook. 

Acquired heart and lung diseases in cats can be treated with surgery, medical therapy (drugs) or lifestyle modifications. Again, only a veterinarian will know what course of treatment is appropriate for your cat. 

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Recovery of Heart and Lung Disease in Cats

Depending on your cat's condition and the course of treatment you've selected under your veterinarian's guidance, your cat may require anywhere from minimal maintenance and lifestyle management to close supervision throughout life. Your veterinarian will ensure you leave his office understanding your cat's treatment plan to optimize recovery and quality of life.

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Heart and Lung Disease Average Cost

From 561 quotes ranging from $1,000 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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Heart and Lung Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Bear

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domestic medium hair

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Rapid Breathing

I have. 1.5 yr old mn cat with a fade 3/6 heart murmur and sudden onset symptom of shallow rapid breathing and panting with no known history of trauma or toxin ingestion. No vomiting or diarrhea and normal bathroom and appetite habbits

Aug. 8, 2018

Bear's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The changes in breathing may be related to the heart murmur especially if the heart is not efficiently pumping blood around the body, without examining Bear I cannot give you any specific information and would recommend that you visit your Veterinarian as soon as possible especially if it seems that Bear is having breathing difficulties. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 8, 2018

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Stewart

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short-hair tabby

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4 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

My cat is having heavily rapid breathing, along with drooling, aggressive toward other cat and me, huge pupils and also fluid around lungs. He's been urinating outside of litterbox, pee and poo, What can cause this? we just recently moved and he is an inside cat, we have let him out a few times. after being out for long periods of time, this has happened twice. jlwest08@gmail.com

April 4, 2018

Stewart's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Stewart is breathing quickly, seems to have fluid around his lungs, and is having accidents, he needs to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Without examining him, I don't have any way to determine what might be going on, and if he is going outside, any number of things can happen. I hope that he is okay.

April 4, 2018

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Marko

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Mixed stray

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3 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Lungs Shutting Dow

My cat died in just 2 days He was completely healthy and playful on Friday night and Saturday morning he couldn't urinate or anything. And by the end of the day he was down and couldn't even stand up. Sunday we took him to the vet and she couldnt do anything did thr blood analysis and said his lungs are completely shut down, and blood was like gelatin. And his temperature really low. In just 2 days he died. He went from healthy do critical and dead. Please give me any answer at least.

Heart and Lung Disease Average Cost

From 561 quotes ranging from $1,000 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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