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Rapid Heart Rate in Cats

Diagnosis

 

Because there are so many things that can cause this condition, it is difficult to diagnose and differentiate from other similar diseases. Your veterinarian will most likely use differential diagnosis. This process is guided by a deeper inspection of the apparent outward symptoms, ruling out each of the more common causes until the correct disorder is settled upon and can be treated appropriately.

 

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, taking into account the background history of symptoms that you have provided and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis, which may show infections of the blood or disorders of the organs (e.g., heart, kidneys). 

 

Your doctor may also order chest X-rays to look for possible evidence of primary cardiac disease or tumors. An electrocardiogram (ECG, or EKG) is essential for evaluating the electrical currents in the heart muscles, and may reveal any abnormalities in cardiac electrical conduction (which underlies the heart’s ability to contract/beat), and may show structural cardiac diseases that are affecting the heart. Ultrasound and angiography are also very useful for evaluating adrenal masses. Your doctor may also conduct a thyroid scan to evaluate your cat for hyperthyroidism. If the tachycardia is found to be related to congestive heart failure, the prognosis is generally poor, even with treatment.

 

Treatment

 

Your veterinarian will develop a treatment plan for your cat once a diagnosis has been confirmed. If there is an underlying cause, that will be the primary focus of treatment. For infections, antibiotics will be administered, and for dehydration, your cat will be given fluid therapy until the body fluids have stabilized. Digoxin may be prescribed for cases of chronic hyperthyroidism.

 

Living and Management

 

The care of your cat following diagnosis will depend on the specific disease that is found to be causing the sinus tachycardia. Restricting your cat’s activity so that its heart rate does not increase excessively may be called for, but only if your cat’s health is being adversely affected by the increased heart rate.

 

 

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