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Cardiac issues are not confined to humans only. Your feline friend may also counter a cardiac issue that may prove weakening and fatal at times. In order to treat such issues, you need to understand them properly. Abnormal heart rhythms of your cat is a sign that something is wrong and needs your attention.
What is feline cardiac arrhythmia?
Cardiac arrhythmia is an abnormal pattern of your cat’s heartbeat. The issue can be associated with a heartbeat too fast or too slow, or strong or weak, or a problem in the region where electrical signals are initiated in the heart. Cats of any age, breed or sex may suffer from cardiac arrhythmia. There are different types of feline cardiac arrhythmia, some of which may not fatal at all. But it is always recommended to seek help before the issue complicated itself.
Causes of feline cardiac arrhythmia
While arrhythmia is associated with abnormal heartbeat patterns, it does not always mean that your cat has a heart condition. Cardiac arrhythmia can be caused due to a number of factors, some of which are as follows:
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Drug reactions
- Cyclic change in the vagus nerves connected with respiration
- Gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, congestive heart failure, intracranial pressure, digitalis toxicity, and cerebral disorders.
Symptoms of feline cardiac arrhythmia
The symptoms of feline cardiac arrhythmia include the following:
- Irregular heartbeat patterns including rapid or slow heartbeat, or a one that skips a beat
- Physical weakness
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
Blood tests, including biochemical profile and blood count, should be performed to detect the issue. Some cats may be diagnosed with anemia, organ dysfunction or hyperthyroidism, which may underlie feline cardiac arrhythmia. Electrocardiogram (ECG) is used to diagnose the issue. An ECG oscilloscope or radiographs are used to detect the type and extent of feline cardiac arrhythmia. If upper airway disease is suspected, your vet can use pharyngoscopy or laryngoscopy, by which a tubular device is inserted into the cat’s respiratory track for examining the region visually.
Treatment and Prevention
The treatment for feline cardiac arrhythmia depends on the type and severity of the problem. Each type of cardiac arrhythmia in cats is addressed and managed differently. Specific treatment for cardiac arrhythmia is required only when the issue is connected with symptomatic slow heartbeat. The issue not related to respiration can be treated for underlying causes with medications. You vet may recommend caloric restrictions in case your cat is overweight, which restricts air flow.
There is no way to prevent feline cardiac arrhythmia. You can only observe the early signs of irregular heartbeats and consult a vet to treat the same.