Cart --
0 Items in Cart
Your Shopping Cart is Empty

Cat Heart Murmur Treatment Options

Treatments for the Various Causes of Heart Murmurs in Cats

By Sam Bourne. September 05, 2013 | See Comments

Cat Heart Murmur Treatment Options

Heart murmurs can be serious business. Sometimes they are "innocent," or not life threatening, but they can also be a sign that something is wrong, and when it comes to the heart it is best not to take chances. Learn what types of treatment options are out there.

Hearing a heart murmur can be disconcerting, considering the wide array of possible causes out there, and the varying levels of severity. Many times the tell-tale “wooshing” is nothing to worry about, but just as often, this sound can be a harbinger of dark clouds on the horizon. Considering the vital nature of the organ in question, it helps to know the myriad ways a cat heart murmur can be treated.

Heart Murmurs Caused By Heart Disease

Much of the time, when a vet hears a heart murmur, what they are actually hearing is a symptom of another heart disease, which can receive any of a wide number of treatments, according to the type. For treating a heart murmur caused by a congenial or acquired heart disease, surgery may be needed to correct the problem. However, there are a number of different medications that may be prescribed, depending on the specific condition causing the murmur, that can help alleviate that telltale "woosh."

Diuretics

Removing fluid from the lungs, diuretics are typically the first line of defense against heart disease. Popular diuretics are:

Furosemide

  • For cats and dogs suffering from excess water retention
  • Rids the body of excess fluid
  • Effective means of balancing electrolytes
  • Can cause excessive urination and thirst

Spironolactone

  • Inhibits the aldosterone hormone, which is released in excess during heart failure, and is responsible for the retention of sodium and the excretion of potassium into the kidneys
  • Reduces fluid accumulation that occurs in some cases of heart disease
  • Side effects are typically mild and include dehydration, low blood sodium, high blood potassium, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea

ACE Inhibitors

As vasodilators, these drugs help expand blood vessels, helping ease the passage of blood through the heart, making its job simpler. Popular ACE inhibitors are:

Enalapril

  • Nutrients to help prevent cardiac disease
  • Eases stress on blood vessels
  • Can cause low blood pressure, weakness, upset stomach, and in some cases kidney failure. If your cat experiences any of these side effects consult a vet immediately

Lisinopril

  • Treats heart failure, high blood pressure, heart valve disease, and some forms of kidney disease
  • Dilates the veins and decreases fluid retention
  • Side effects are rare, but include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea

Positive Inotropes

Typically a last resort because of the high risk of negative side effects. A popular positive inotrope is:

Digoxin

  • Treats congestive heart failure, heart rhythm disorders, and dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Affects the sodium and potassium content in your pet’s heart, reducing the strain
  • Side effects include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of coordination, and weakness

Extracardiac Heart Murmurs

Sometimes the heart murmur is a sign of something not directly related to the heart, or extracardiac. Common extracardiac causes include anemia, hypoproteinemia, infections, fevers, pregnancy, or hyperthyroidism. To rid your pet of an extracardiac heart murmur like the ones listed above, the treatment should be targeting the root cause. So, treating a heart murmur caused by anemia could be resolved by putting your cat on a high iron diet, or a high protein diet in cases of hypoproteinemia.

Hyperthyroidism, or an overproduction of thyroid hormone, can be treated with drugs like:

Methimazole

  • An anti-thyroid tablet, reducing the amount of thyroid hormone being produced
  • Side effects are rare, but can be serious, such as a decreased white blood cell count

Infections, depending on their nature, can be treated with any of a number of antibiotics that may be effective against whatever strain of bacteria may be causing the murmur.

Worm Related Heart Murmurs

A subcategory of extracardial heart murmurs, and one that generally only effects young cats, is a major infestation of worms, such as roundworms, hookworms, ringworms, or heartworms. These infections can sometimes cause heart murmurs. These should be treated with your standard deworming medications, some of which are available over the counter. Some of the most popular options are:

Heartgard for Cats

  • Kills and protects against heartworm
  • Lasts for 30 days
  • Tasty beef-flavored tablet

Profender

  • Kills roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm
  • Easy to use topical
  • Prescription strength

Tape Worm Tabs

  • Over the counter
  • Unhooks tapeworm from your cat's intestinal wall so they can be digested and killed
  • Safe on cats six weeks and older
More on Cat Heart Murmurs

Causes and Treatments for a Cat Heart Murmur
The Best Senior Cat Pet Supplies
5 Common Cat Problems and Health Issues

Was this article helpful?