Dramatic muscle loss, called “cachexia,” is a syndrome observed in patients suffering from heart failure and other diseases, including kidney failure and cancer. A retrospective study performed at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, evaluated cats with heart failure to see if cachexia was truly a symptom in cats with heart problems and then looked at things like its prognostic value. All the cats in the study were spayed or neutered; average age was 10 years. Of the 125 cats evaluated, 107 had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The others had various other forms of cardiomyopathy.
The researchers classified cats as having cachexia if they showed unintended weight loss of 5% or more, low body condition scores, low muscle condition scores, and whether they were on a prescription appetite stimulant.
Cats classified as cachectic had a less optimistic prognosis and shorter survival times, especially if the cachexia was determined by muscle conditioning scores. The research emphasizes the need to address cachexia in cats suffering from heart failure.n
J Vet Intern Med. 2020 Jan;34(1):35-44. doi: 10.1111/jvim.15672