Different species may show signs like coughing, intolerance to high activity or other early signs of heart disease. However, this is often called the silent killer of cats. They are usually asymptomatic until the disease progresses to an advanced stage. There are a few treatment options that may be available for cats with heart disease. Common drugs may not always be able to meet the therapeutic needs of cats during treatment.
There are many prescriptions that veterinarian medicine can write. We’ll discuss Plavix and the alternatives for cats, since there are many vets who prescribe it.
- Antiplatelet medications like Aspirin
- Furosemide and other diuretics
- Topical creams such as Nitroglycerin
- Enalapril is an ACE inhibitor
- Beta-channel blockers like Atenolol
- Calcium-channel blockers like Diltiazem
What is Plavix?
Clopidogrel can be used to prevent strokes and heart attacks in people with heart disease (recent stroke, heart attack), or blood circulation disease (peripheral vein disease). Clopidogrel can also be used in conjunction with aspirin to treat chest pain, such as new or worsening symptoms (new heart attack, unstable gina), and to prevent blood clots following certain procedures (such a cardiac stent). Clopidogrel prevents platelets from sticking together, and thus prevents them forming dangerous clots. It is an antiplatelet medication. It keeps blood flow moving smoothly throughout your body.
Clopidogrel can be used alone or in combination with aspirin for animals who are allergic to aspirin. This drug, like many others in veterinary medicine is not FDA approved and is not available through a veterinary pharmaceutical company. It is instead compounded in a specialty pharmacy.
Heart Disease for Cats (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
The most common type of heart disease in cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). According to The American Veterinary Medical Association, 1/10 cats are affected by it.
HCM refers to a condition where the walls and muscles of the heart become too weak and thicken until the blood can no longer flow freely. As the cat ages, the heart becomes less efficient at blood circulation. This is most common in the lower limbs.
Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common cardiac condition in cats. This condition is more common in male cats between 5 and 7 years old. This condition is genetically predisposed in some breeds. Although clinical signs can vary, once a diagnosis is made, treatment may include a range of drugs.
Feline Heart Disease is Common
FELINE HEART DISEASE is a common condition that affects approximately 15% of cats. The majority of heart disease cases are benign and cats with the condition remain healthy throughout their lives.
However, the clinician should not become complacent because heart disease can be fatal. It is crucial to inform owners about the potential risks and discuss possible treatment options.
Cats with heart disease often present in severe and sudden ways. A veterinarian can quickly assess a patient who is extremely fragile in an emergency situation.
Both drugs can be tolerated by cats and have similar effects. Recent research was conducted on 75 cats who had suffered from cardiogenic arterial embolism (CATE). Clopidogrel was tested to see if it would reduce the chance of these events recurring.
Plavix and Aspirin were both found to be beneficial for cats. However, Plavix was more effective at decreasing the chance of CATE recurring. Plavix had a higher survival rate than Aspirin in another study. Plavix was found to have a longer life expectancy and extend cats’ lives for an additional 8 months.
Another class of drugs that are required for the treatment of hypertrophic cardiacmyopathy is diuretics. Furosemide, the preferred diuretic among veterinarians, is only available in FDA-approved tablet form in two strengths. You can mix it with other drugs as needed. As approved human drugs, there are also off-label options for diuretics such as Spironolactone and Hydrochlorothiazide.
Another class of medication required for the treatment of this condition is anti-thrombotic medications. To achieve the required doses for cats, aspirin must be combined. Clopidogrel, the antithrombotic drug of preference in cats, must be compounded to provide lower doses for cats than that required by humans.
Recent years have seen the rise in popularity of ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril. They were avoided because they could worsen SAM and HCM. One study has shown that ACE inhibitors can improve the quality of a cat’s life and increase its survival rate.
Beta-channel blocking agents are used to reduce SAM in cats and slow down the heart rate. They also regulate oxygen use by the heart to pump blood to the body.
Calcium-channel blocking agents work in a similar way to beta-channel inhibitors. They also reduce heart contractions, which can provide more rest.
Calcium-channel blockers such as Diltiazem are controversial and may not be the best for cats. Cats can take 75 mg of Diltiazem every eight hours.
The drug also shows less edema and a gradual decline in heart wall thickness. The study showed that only a handful of cats experienced a decrease in the wall thickness. It is difficult to determine if this is due to drug use or time.
5. Take care
This and other drugs should be kept out of reach from children. Only give this drug to the animal it was prescribed for. This medication should not be given to anyone other than the animal for whom it was prescribed.
Clopidogrel reduces blood clot formation. Animals with active bleeding should not use it.
6. Side Effects
Discuss any side effects immediately with your vet.
Clopidogrel is usually well tolerated by cats. Most common side effects include vomiting and loss appetite. Clopidogrel may be taken with food.
Possible side effects include bleeding/bruising, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset/pain and diarrhea. These effects may persist or get worse if they are not treated promptly by your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication was prescribed by your doctor because you have been told that it is beneficial to you and less likely to cause side effects. This medication is not known to cause serious side effects in many people.
Even though it is unlikely, severe bleeding may occur in the stomach, gut or eyes. Clopidogrel may also cause serious blood disorders (thrombotic trombocytopenic purpura, TTP).
You may experience symptoms after you start this medication. If you experience any of the following symptoms: severe stomach/abdominal/heartburn, bleeding from the gums or nose, bloody/black stool, confusion, fever or unusual weakness, severe vision changes, seizures, bloody/red/pink/dark urine, or signs of kidney disease (such as an increase in urine volume), seek medical attention immediately.
It is very rare for this drug to cause a severe allergic reaction. If you have symptoms such as rash, swelling (especially on the face/tongue/throat), dizziness or trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
As cats age and become weaker, the likelihood of their hearts becoming weaker increases. There are many Plavix alternatives for cats. Each one has its pros and cons.
Some vets may not prescribe medication in certain cases. Instead, they recommend a healthier diet rich in nutrients such as Taurine, LCarnitine, and Omega-3, and lower levels of activity to help the heart beat more often.
Remember to always follow your veterinarian’s instructions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or discuss your pet’s treatment.