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  • Usually middle aged to older adults
  • Burmese, Siamese, and Abyssinians may be predisposed.


  • The first sign of underlying heart disease may be the development of a sudden thromboembolic event to one of the limbs (usually both hind limbs).
  • Dyspnea is the most frequent complaint
  • Syncope is an infrequent presenting sign
  • Anorexia, lethargy, and/or sometimes vomiting may be noted
  • These signs usually are noted to have a recent onset prior to presentation

Physical Examination:

  • Marked dyspnea is usually present (due to pulmonary edema or pleural effusion)
  • All the possible findings of congestive heart failure of Clinical Evaluation of Heart Disease
  • Ascites which is common in dogs, tends to be rare in cats
  • Gallop rhythms are more common in cats
  • Heart murmur of A-V valve insufficiency is common
  • Dysrhythmias tend to be more uncommon than in dogs
  • Due to the pleural effusion, heart sounds may be muffled
  • Hypothermia tends to be common
  • Evidence of thromboembolism may be noted (see below)