In dilative cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle is severely weakened and the heart enlarges or dilates. This enlargement reduces the pumping efficiency of the heart and leads to heart failure. A dietary deficiency of the essential amino acid taurine is the most common cause of this disorder in cats. Other diseases, infections, or toxic substances that damage the heart muscle can also cause dilative cardiomyopathy.
Dilative cardiomyopathy is primarily a disease of young to middle-aged cats (average is 7.5 years). Although all breeds of cats may be affected, the disorder is more common in Siamese, Abyssinian, and Burmese breeds.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Dilative cardiomyopathy is a very serious condition, particularly during the early stages of treatment. Blood clots and shock are common complications and may be fatal. After 2 to 4 weeks, if the cat’s condition is improving, the prognosis (medical forecast) is much better.
2. Medication: Giving all medications, on schedule, is extremely important. Please call the doctor if you are unable to medicate your cat as instructed.
3. Activity: Your pet should be confined indoors and no vigorous play should be allowed. Do not encourage your cat to chase objects or other pets.