Cluing in to heart disease

By Connie Orcutt • Published: August 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Heart disease is common in cats, but its signs may not be obvious. In fact, some cats never appear sick at all. But heart disease is progressive and can cause other problems, so early diagnosis is crucial.

Now, a blood test borrowed from humans can help detect heart disease in cats. B-type natriuretic (nay-tree-yur-ET-ick) peptide, or BNP, is produced by heart muscle cells and released into the bloodstream when the heart wall is under increased tension. Elevated levels of BNP often accompany heart disease and signal the need for more tests, such as echocardiography, to confirm the diagnosis.

The BNP test can sort out whether heart murmurs are problematic or if breathing problems are caused by respiratory or cardiac abnormalities. It can also help screen cat breeds prone to heart disease. This simple test could help your kitty get diagnosed and on the road to recovery.