Treating Heart Murmurs in Cats

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


Treating feline heart murmurs is not a realistic or viable option, because heart murmurs are not a disease or illness but rather are simply abnormal heart sounds caused by turbulent blood flow. To “treat” the heart condition, the veterinarian must identify why the murmur exists. Once the cause of the murmur is identified, a treatment program can be formulated.

Treating Heart Murmurs in Cats

Heart murmurs can be congenital (the animal is born with them) or acquired, and the prognosis ranges from excellent to grave, depending on the underlying cause. Available treatment options will vary depending upon the severity of the underlying condition. Many feline heart murmurs do not require “treatment” at all, even if the murmur is very pronounced. Minor heart murmurs can often be addressed by dietary and lifestyle changes without more.

The most common causes of heart murmurs in companion cats are hyperthyroidism and cardiomyopathy. Hyperthyroidism often can be treated or managed through surgery and/or medical regimens. Feline cardiomyopathy often is manageable as well with a combination of drugs and supportive care that will reduce the heart’s workload, increase the elasticity of the heart muscle and improve the heart’s overall efficiency. Feline heart murmurs caused by anatomical abnormalities may be surgically correctable. Many pet owners are unable or unwilling to proceed with these specialized surgeries, but interested cat fanciers should explore all treatment and management options with their treating veterinarians. Heart murmurs in cats can also be caused by severe anemia from internal or external parasite infestation. Appropriate flea and tick preventative protocols and deworming regimens can be discussed with your veterinarian. Nutritional supplements can also help resolve the anemia and corresponding murmurs in some cases.

Cats with murmurs reflecting underlying heart disease should be kept in a warm, calm, soothing household environment where they can minimize their activity level and rest and relax as needed. In households with young children and other pets, the adults will need to carefully manage their cat’s special needs and requirements for rest.