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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease in Cats

By Davin Borde, DVM, DACVIM, Staff Cardiologist, Veterinary Heart Institute ; Jorge Guerrero, DVM, PhD, DEVPC (Ret), Adjunct Professor of Parasitology, Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania ; Michelle Wall, DVM, DACVIM ; Clay A. Calvert, DVM, DACVIM, Professor, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia ; Benjamin J. Darien, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin

Also see professional content regarding treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Treatment of cardiovascular disease should be specific for the type of disease. Some defects can be repaired or corrected with surgery, while other conditions can be managed with medical therapy using one or a combination of drugs. In general, the goals of treatment are to minimize damage to the heart muscle, control the accumulation of fluids in the lungs, improve circulation, regulate the heart rate and rhythm, ensure that there is enough oxygen in the blood, and minimize the risk of blood clot formation. In heartworm disease, the mature heartworms and larvae should be killed.

Common Types of Drugs for Cardiovascular Disease

There are many medications that a veterinarian can prescribe for cats with cardiovascular disease. The type of disease will determine the type of medication prescribed. Medications must be given exactly as prescribed; otherwise, they may not be effective and may even cause serious complications and harm. (For a more detailed discussion of common medications for heart disease, see Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease in Dogs.)