Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy refers to the abnormality of the heart muscles while dilated describes the abnormal thinning of the cardiac muscles. When the cardiac muscles become thin, they are weakened and are unable to pump blood to the body efficiently. With the progression of the disease, the blood flows backward and accumulates in the lungs or other organs, and eventually leads to heart failure. The exact cause of the disease is unidentified but certain breeds are predisposed to this condition probably due to genetic factors e.g., Great Danes, Dobermans, Boxers, and Cocker Spaniels. In the initial stage of the disease, the pet may not show any overt symptoms but once the disease has advanced, they may experience cough, lethargy, difficulty in breathing, exercise intolerance, and eventually death occurs. A physical examination with a special focus on the heart is required for the diagnosis of the disease. Murmuring of the blood flow may not be heard but abnormality in the rhythm can be detected. Radiograph images of the cat’s chest are required for a definite diagnosis of the disease. DCM is treated through drug therapy which helps the weakened cardiac muscles in pumping blood efficiently. Although there is an improvement in the prognosis due to the arrival of new drugs but in the long term, the prognosis is really poor especially if there are signs of heart failure.