Restrictive Cardiomyopathy in Cats

A cat’s heart is composed of four chambers: the top two chambers are the left and right atria and the bottom two chambers are the left and right ventricles. The valves of the heart are located between the left atrium and the left ventricle (the mitral valve), between the right atrium and the right ventricle (the tricuspid valve), from the left ventricle to the aorta (the main artery of the body, the valve of which is the aortic valve), and between the right ventricle to the main pulmonary artery (the pulmonary, or lung valve).

Cardiomyopathy is the medical term for disease of the heart muscle. Restrictive cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the muscle is stiff and does not expand, such that blood cannot fill the ventricles normally. Restrictive cardiomyopathy in cats is characterized by abnormal filling of the chambers of the heart (known as diastolic dysfunction), severe atrial enlargement, normal left ventricular wall thickness and variable abnormal pumping of the heart (known as systolic dysfunction). Scar tissue of the heart muscle layer may be present. Other heart-muscle disorders, including inflammatory or immune-mediated diseases, may also be present.

Symptoms and Types


Poor appetite and weight loss


Impaired movement or paralysis

Some cats are asymptomatic

Difficult breathing

Fast breathing

Open mouth breathing

Pale mucous membranes

Abdominal distention




Inflammation of the heart muscle

Inflammation of the heart muscle and inner lining of the heart

Parasites in the heart

Thickening of the heart muscle with a heart attack

Diffuse small vessel disease and other causes of inadequate oxygen to the heart


Your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam with a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis to rule out other causes of disease. will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition.

Your veterinarian will also order an electrocardiogram to evaluate the electrical conductivity of the heart’s beat for abnormalities. X-rays and an echocardiogram are essential in assessing heart disease and its consequences. X-rays of the lungs should also be taken to check for fluid accumulation.




mitral valve

The fold of membrane found between the left atrium and left ventricle

hand feeding

A routine of feeding in which the animal is fed certain amounts of food at certain times of the day


Pertaining to the lungs


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


a) A cavity in certain animals b) Term refers to a rear chamber in the heart or a cavity in the brain


A record of the activity of the myocardium


A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts


A large blood vessel that transports blood out of the heart.


The name of the main artery that starts in the left ventricle of an animal’s four chamber heart.


Term used to refer to a condition of having a disease or affliction but not displaying symptoms of it.


The superior chamber in an animal’s heart.


Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.


The process of making something larger by dilating or stretching it

Share on Tumblr

Show more