How To Identify Correctly CHF In Cats? In this, we will talk about approach to the cat with respiratory distress due to heart failure. The first problem is recognizing that you’re cat actually dealing with congestive heart failure (CHF). And, when faced with a cat with respiratory distress it’s important that you make some correct decisions early on in your approach.

How To Identifying Correctly CHF In Cats?

How To Identify Correctly CHF In Cats?

So, things that we can do to increase our chance of identifying correctly congestive heart failure is:

  1. Watch the breathing pattern
  2. Listen to the chest both the lungs and to the heart zones and,
  3. Then imaging can be helpful in confirming our suspicion that the cat dealing with congestive heart failure.

What Is Really Important Is that We Don’t Stress These Cats?

A cat presenting with respiratory distress is very fragile and we can easily push them over the edge by causing them too much stress in how we restrain them.

So, above all we want to adopt a minimal restraint technique for anything we do with them.

Provide Them Oxygen

The first step may be simply to provide oxygen. If you have an oxygen cage that’s a good way of allowing the cat to relax to avoid stressing them while delivering increased concentrations of oxygen.

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Even holding circuit delivering oxygen close to the face using a flow by technique can be helpful as long as we’re not restraining the cat.

For some cats they may be so distressed about their breathing difficulties that you have to consider sedation. In these cats vet usually prefer to give butorphanol often, it’s not possible to give it intravenously in the first instance and so they give it intramuscularly.

That can give the cat a little bit of a chance to relax and while the vet waiting for it to work. They can watch the breathing pattern.

Pay Attention To The Respiratory Rate

How To Identify Correctly CHF In Cats?

We need to pay attention to the respiratory rate to the amount of effort being used in breathing and whether there’s any audible noise. Generally with congestive heart failure there won’t be any audible sound produced by the cat. Generally when we hear noise associated with breathing it’s upper airway obstruction.

Why Owners Usually Missed The Signs?

How To Identify Correctly CHF In Cats?

When you watching these cat you can see that the signs are not that dramatic but when you watch closely you can see the cat is breathing with more effort and breathing faster than normal.

These signs are very easily missed by owners. If the cat is moving around it’s easy for you to miss these signs too. At this you need to watch very closely at the rate and pattern of breathing how much effort is being made by the cat.

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Final Words : How To Identifying Correctly CHF In Cats?

We can use auscultation as well and cats with a rapid respiratory rate increased effort and audible inspiratory crackles. We should be very suspicious about the possibility of pulmonary edema.

If we can’t hear breath sounds very well ventrally but we can hear them dorsally then you should consider the possibility of a pleural effusion.

If you have a cat presenting with a rapid respiratory rate the main causes will be pulmonary parenchymal disease or pleural disease and in both of those categories congestive heart failure is a very important differential.

So, for any cat presenting with tachypnea we should consider the possibility of it being congestive heart failure.

If we hear abnormalities of the heart sounds while we’re examining the cat with tachypnea so if there’s a murmur or an arrhythmia or a gallop then we should consider even more strongly the possibility of congestive heart failure.

So it could be that we have congestive failure and cardiomyopathy or congenital disease but don’t forget the secondary causes and we should include hyperthyroidism and anemia for example and then don’t forget that respiratory disease particularly airway disease is quite common in cats and we we know that murmurs are quite common in cats.

So just because you hear a heart murmur doesn’t always mean that you must be dealing with a cardiac cause of of the respiratory distress.


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