Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Cats

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a primary myocardial disease wherein the heart muscle is damaged and becomes very weak.  

In cats, this is usually idiopathic, but can develop secondary to nutritional deficiencies (specifically Taurine deficiency).  

The left ventricle dilates and has a marked systolic dysfunction (pump dysfunction).  

This causes an elevation in left ventricular and left atrial pressures as the poorly pumping chamber continues to dilate.  

Eventually, this results in dilation of the left atrium and fluid accumulation within the lungs (congestive heart failure).  

This makes breathing difficult and requires urgent medical attention.

Unfortunately, there is likely no cure for this disease (unless Taurine deficiency is the underlying etiology).  

Ongoing rechecks and medical management are utilized to maximize the quality of life for affected patients.  The disease progression is variable, with some patients doing well for years and others progressing into congestive heart failure rapidly.  

This disease is also frequently associated with the development of arrhythmias (abnormal electrical beats) that can predispose affected patients to sudden death.  

Additional diagnostics, such as 24 hour Holter Monitors, may be recommended based on our initial findings.  

If any clinical signs of arrhythmias such as a “dazed” appearance or collapse are noted, please contact your trusted veterinarian or your local emergency clinic immediately.