Endocarditis in Cats: what is it? Causes and possible risks

An inflammation can develop into an infection. What is endocarditis in cats, what causes it and what are the possible risks for my cat?

When we were told that our Kitty’s heart might be in trouble, it sure would be like a freezing shower. However, medicine is also making great strides in the veterinary field, we must not despair. What is endocarditis in cats and what could be the causes and possible risks for my cat?

Endocarditis in cats

The suffix -ite of the word “endocarditis” tells us that there is inflammation of the endocardium in our cat, a membrane that lines the inside of the heart.

Speaking of inflammation we could already cheer up a little, but the problem in these cases is to understand the cause.

Although rare, endocarditis in cats is often infectious in nature : it mainly affects the valves of the heart, the mitral and aortic, and could cause risks for the cat.

Although the infection can also be caused by fungi, most of the time it is bacteria that are responsible.

Among these, those most found by instrumental examinations we have:

  • Staphylococcus spp;
  • Streptococcus spp;
  • Escherichia Coli.

Unfortunately, sometimes much more resistant bacteria are also found such as:

  • Pseudomonas Aeruginosa;
  • Proteus spp;
  • Erysipelothrix;
  • Pasteurella spp;
  • Corinebacterium spp.

Among endocarditis symptoms in cats are found:

  • Fever;
  • Anemia;
  • Heart failure;
  • Respiratory failure;
  • Problems with motility;
  • Thromboembolism;
  • Inflammatory arthritis.

In order to find the most suitable therapy for our cat, the veterinarian will also want to know his medical history from us.

This is because endocarditis is often found especially in older cats due to periodontitis or severe gingivitis.

However, urinary or gastrointestinal infections could also lead to endocarditis.

Even  sepsis caused by surgery or by the use of catheters in cats can grow to colonies of bacteria enough to even reach the heart.

Often the biggest problem is that bacteria migrate from the endocardium to colonize the whole heart.

Usually the hope lies in the success of repeated antibiotic therapies : through a culture of the blood sample it is possible to trace the specific antibiotic.

Possible risks for Kitty and advice

Surely the resolution of the infection will depend a lot on how far it has spread and how quickly it was diagnosed.

The worst risk for our cat is that the therapy does not work : unfortunately an advanced or delayed injection would cause septicemia in the cat.

However, this rarely happens, as does the onset of severe infective endocarditis in animals.

It is always essential that, at the first symptom that cat should manifest or when we notice a change in its behavior, we go immediately to the vet.

The choice of the right antibiotic for the cat will surely begin to have its effect: the bacterial load will gradually decrease and with it also the first symptoms.

We could say that when cat begins to breathe better and no longer has fever or thromboembolytic problems, he will be out of danger.

To get better and better, he must also take light and very digestible foods: a correct diet for cat would also lighten his organs weighed down by general malaise.

You know, for the resolution of a disease the surrounding environment affects a lot: it is good that we guarantee tranquility to our furry friend.

A stressful condition in the cat would cause a lowering of the immune defenses and, consequently, would also lengthen the recovery period.

The hygiene of the cat’s mouth and therefore dental pathologies should not be underestimated : especially if elderly, they could degenerate in favor of the action of bacteria.

If it is true that the onset of an infection is unpredictable, it is also true that periodic check-ups at the vet would allow us to detect it at the outset and therefore avert the worst.

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