What You Need To Know About Heart Murmur In Cats

What You Need To Know About Heart Murmur In Cats
What You Need To Know About Heart Murmur In Cats

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound that your pet’s heart makes. It is usually found when the vet listens to the heart with a stethoscope during a regular exam. Is it, however, a cause for concern? No, not always. Many healthy felines with a heart murmur never develop heart problems and live long and healthy lives. Continue reading to know about the symptoms and treatment of a heart murmur, as well as the cost of medication, life expectancy, severity, and implications for your cats.

What is a Heart Murmur?

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound caused by turbulent blood flow that a veterinarian can detect when listening to a cat’s chest.

Vets give heart murmurs a number between one and six based on how loud and strong they are, with one being the quietest and six being the loudest. Softer murmurs may only be heard in one place on the cat’s body, while louder murmurs can be heard in more than one place.

A heart murmur does not have to be cause for concern, but it may indicate a heart condition. Depending on your pet’s condition, the veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostic testing to know the cause of the heart murmur in your cats.

Heart Murmur Causes

Even though a murmur is usually a sign of an underlying heart problem, murmurs can also be caused by other things.

As an incidental finding in young kittens, so-called “innocent” heart murmurs may be heard. These are usually gone by the time the kitten reaches adulthood. Anemia is another cause of heart murmurs in cats, but the cats often show signs of being tired and not eating.

Adult cats sometimes have what is called “physiological murmurs.” For example, blood flow in the large vessels leaving the heart can sometimes be heard as a murmur, but this usually doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t lead to disease.

Heart Murmur In Cats Symptoms

Several factors can influence the clinical symptoms of a heart murmur in cats. Most heart murmurs are asymptomatic until they reach a certain level of severity. When a cat has a heart murmur, the symptoms can be subtle and hard to pinpoint. Some of these symptoms are weight loss, decreased appetite, weakness, and lack of energy.

If a cat’s heart murmur has gotten worse, the most common symptoms are caused by fluid building up in the lungs. These symptoms include breathing quickly or hard, coughing, trouble breathing, and collapsing. All of these are symptoms of heart failure.

If you know of any of these heart murmur symptoms or anything unusual in your cats, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of Heart Murmurs in Cats

Heart murmurs are usually found when your vet listens to your cat’s heart as part of a physical exam. Once the abnormality is discovered, your veterinarian will examine your cat further. You will be asked about your cat’s health and whether they have shown any clinical signs at first.

While listening with the stethoscope, the veterinarian will also grade the intensity of the heart murmurs. This grade is assigned a letter grade ranging from I to VI. Grade I is barely audible and can only be heard on one side of the chest. The volume has increased by Grade VI. It can be heard in multiple places, and its vibration can be felt through the cat’s chest wall.

If your cats had no symptoms and were just nervous during the physical exam, your vet may just want to check them again when they are calmer to make sure the murmur was nothing to worry about. In the same way, if a young kitten has a low-level murmur, the vet will just suggest that the kitten be checked again in a few weeks.

If your cats exhibits symptoms or the heart murmur appears to be caused by something else, your veterinarian may order a battery of tests to know what’s wrong. With a complete blood count (CBC) test, you can find out if you have anemia or an infection. With a blood pressure test, you can find out if you have high blood pressure. Chest X-rays will be ordered to examine the lungs as well as the size and shape of the heart vessels. Any irregular heart rate or rhythm will be examined using an EGG (electrocardiogram).

Heart Murmur In Cats Treatment

Whether or not your cat’s heart murmur needs treatment depends on several things, such as what caused it, how bad it is, how far along it is, and what symptoms your cat is showing.

Treatment options also differ depending on the cause of your cat’s heart murmur. If it is benign, no treatment is required, and your veterinarian will simply keep a closer eye on your pet’s health. If the cat’s murmur is caused by something else, your vet may give the cat medicine or a special diet.

Beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, and anti-clotting medications are the most commonly used medications. If the murmur is caused by a congenital condition, the veterinarian may advise surgery. Also, any kind of treatment for cats with heart murmur is always best to know the exact cause.


If the heart murmurs aren’t serious, your vet may only want to keep an eye on your cat. Regular checks make sure that nothing goes wrong and that your cat is healthy. This re-examination can happen every few weeks to every few months.


Depending on what the problem is and what caused it, the right medicine may be given to treat it. Effect in conditions such as hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure. Anemia can also be treated with nutritional supplements. Some medicines, like blood thinners and beta blockers, which help relax muscles, may help people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy feel better. Nonetheless, cardiomyopathy is mostly treated with palliative care.


If the murmurs are caused by a disease that was present at birth, your veterinarian may recommend surgery. Any specific surgery will be determined by the nature of the disease.

Heart Murmur In Cats Life Expectancy

It is impossible to know life expectancy in cats with heart murmur unless a holistic diagnosis is made, and many cats with low-grade murmurs live relatively normal lives. Not all murmurs are serious, and some are harmless “functional,” characterized by normal turbulence and the absence of disease. The life expectancy of a cat with a heart murmur is determined by the severity of the murmur and, if present, the underlying illness. Veterinarians assign a severity rating of 1-6, with 6 being the most serious.

I’m trying to recall a scenario in which a cat owner would be searching the Internet for an answer to know the life expectancy of cats with a heart murmur because it appears to me that their veterinarian would tell them that after diagnosing the condition. Unqualified cat owners may have detected a heart murmur. However, as expected, they are usually discovered when a vet listens to a cat’s heart with a stethoscope. If the heart murmur is clinically significant, cats may exhibit symptoms such as weight loss due to poor appetite, breathing difficulties, lethargy, and weakness.

The issue appears to be that to assess lifespan, you need to be able to grade the severity of the murmur, which would normally require the training and skill of a veterinarian. You’ll also need to identify the underlying illnesses that are causing the heart condition. As a result, the answer that a visitor to this page seeks cannot be provided. Self-diagnosis may be dangerous because there is a need to diagnose holistically.

Cat Heart Murmur Medication Cost

Medication costs vary greatly depending on whether your cat’s heart murmur self-corrects or if your dog has a more serious underlying heart condition that necessitates surgery and/or long-term prescription treatment.

The cost of diagnosing a heart murmur in a cat exceeds the cost of medication. Diagnosis can cost up to $1,500 in most cases. Medications for treating heart murmurs in cats can cost up to $300 per month.

How Does A Veterinarian Know the Origin of a Heart Murmur in Cats?

 #1. Stethoscope

A heart murmur is almost always diagnosed by a veterinarian using a stethoscope to listen to your cat’s heart, often during a routine health check. If the murmur is very loud, a diagnosis can sometimes be made simply by feeling a buzz when placing a hand on the cat’s chest (this is known as a “pre-cordial thrill”) “). In addition to making the diagnosis, your vet will take note of the murmur and many other aspects of your cat’s heart, such as heart rate and regularity.

Once a heart murmur is identified in cats, your veterinarian will usually recommend additional diagnostic testing to know the underlying cause.

#2. Physical examine

Any investigation into a cat problem begins with a careful, thorough physical examination of your pet.

#3. Ultrasound analysis

An echocardiogram, also called an ultrasound exam of the heart, is often used to find out more about a heart murmur. With an ultrasound of the heart, the heart muscle, heart chambers, heart valves, and other structures around the heart can be looked at in detail.

#4. X-rays

Your veterinarian may advise you to get chest x-rays to see the size and shape of your cat’s heart, as well as other structures in the thorax (chest)

#5. High-tech imaging

In rare cases, other types of imaging, like CT or MRI scans, may be used to get a very clear picture of the heart and the structures around it.

#6. Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a recording of the electrical activity in your cat’s heart: this can be a helpful way to learn more about your cat’s cardiac function as part of a gold standard approach to an investigation.

#7. Blood pressure monitoring

High blood pressure is common in senior cats and can contribute to heart murmurs, so it’s important to keep an eye on it.

#8. Blood tests

If an extracardiac cause of a heart murmur is suspected, consult your doctor (such as anemia or hyperthyroidism),

#9. Specialist referral

A referral to a veterinary cardiologist who specializes in cardiology may be recommended by your local veterinarian.

What is an Innocent Murmur?

A physiologic or innocent heart murmur is a benign murmur that is usually asymptomatic and of low intensity. Even though heart murmurs are more common in kittens, they can also happen to adult cats when they are stressed and their heart rate goes up. This type of murmur goes away when the heart rate returns to normal and has no effect on the animal’s health. In general, harmless heart murmurs are of low intensity (usually grade I or II) and do not cause symptoms.

Heart Murmur in Kittens

One kind of normal or healthy heart murmur is common in small kittens, especially ones that grow quickly. The heart murmur usually appears between six and eight weeks of age and disappears around four or five months. This type of heart murmur is not dangerous.

Recovery of Heart Murmurs in Cats

The prognosis varies depending on the cause of the heart murmurs. People with harmless murmurs live normal, healthy lives and don’t need anything other than regular checkups. Even if your cat appears to be in good health, it is best to take any medication prescribed by your veterinarian exactly as directed.

Depending on the diagnosis, making changes to how you live could help your cat’s condition a lot. These modifications include diet and exercise management. Also, keep in touch with your veterinarian because only they can determine whether or not a murmur has resolved or has worsened.


If your veterinarian tells you that your cats has a heart murmur, make sure to ask them to know the exact cause of the murmur so that you can help your cat.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will a cat live with a heart murmur?

In most cases, the disease will worsen over time, and heart function will be compromised. Cats with heart failure have a bleak prognosis, with survival times typically ranging from 12 to 18 months after diagnosis.

How serious is a heart murmur in cats?

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound detected by a veterinarian while listening to the heart with a stethoscope. A murmur is not always caused for concern, but it can be an indication of heart disease, in which case additional diagnostic tests may be required.

What can you do for a cat with a heart murmur?

Murmurs that are benign or innocent usually do not require any treatment. Cat age, overall health, and the cost of therapy are frequently important considerations in the treatment of heart disease in cats. Depending on the severity of the condition, CHF frequently necessitates hospitalization, diuretics (water pills), cardiac medications, and oxygen therapy.

What is a Grade 4 heart murmur in cats?

Murmurs of systolic grade 4/6 to 6/6 indicate the presence of structural heart disease. Murmurs in cats frequently change in intensity in response to stress/excitement or changes in heart rate. This can happen with murmurs from either pathological or non-pathological causes.

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