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Heart Attack in Cats

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Myocardial Infarction in Cats


Much like in humans, a blockage of blood flow to the myocardium (the heart's muscular wall), is medically referred to as a heart attack, or myocardial infarction. This is generally due to the formation of a blood clot (or thrombus) within the blood vessels or heart, causing the premature death of a portion of the myocardium.


Heart attacks are rare in both cats and dogs.


Symptoms and Types


  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Difficult breathing
  • Obesity
  • Low-grade fever
  • Lameness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Collapse
  • Sudden death




  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Thromboembolism




You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. The veterinarian will then conduct a complete physical examination, paying close attention to the cat's cardiovascular system. Various laboratory tests -- such as complete blood count (CBC), blood culture biochemistry profile, and urinalysis -- will be used to help identify the underlying cause of the heart attack.


Blood testing may reveal an increased number of white blood cells (leukocytes), often seen during infections. The biochemistry profile, meanwhile, may show abnormally high levels of liver enzymes or abnormally low levels of T3 and T4 hormones. Echocardiography is another excellent tool used to evaluate of cardiac abnormalities.



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