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DrLucy, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 618
Experience:  Almost 30 yr as a practicing small animal vet.; experience in gen.medicine, surgery, emerg/
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What does a galloping Heartbeat mean. What can cause it and

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What does a "galloping Heartbeat" mean. What can cause it and why does it happen???

A "galloping heartbeat" is actually a "gallop rhythm." It usually indicates that the two heart ventricles are not beating at precisely the same time. It is not necessarily cause for alarm in and of itself, but it is important to determine the underlying cause. If a cat has never had a gallop rhythm and suddenly develops one while on intravenous fluid therapy, it could mean impending fluid overload. Gallop rhythms are usually associated with some degree of heart "stiffness," such as a thickened muscle, dilated chamber, or some scar tissue or other fibrous tissue. The first thing usually recommended is that a cat's blood pressure be checked, since elevated blood pressure can sometimes precipitate a gallop rhythm. Common causes for increased blood pressure in cats are hyperthyroidism and/or kidney disease. A complete cardiac evaluation, with a chest X-ray and echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound), is recommended, because the cardiologist will be able to evaluate the thickness and contractility of the heart chambers and recommend medication, if needed. An echocardiogram will also help to distinguish a gallop with something that sounds very similar, called a "systolic click," which is not nearly as serious.


I hope that answers your question. If not, let me know.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
What does this mean when she is fighting to survive the "fatty Liver disease"??? It hit her like to ton of bricks. One day she seemed ok, the next, she was critical....
Hmmm... A lot depends on what precipitated the fatty liver disease. Almost any illness that causes a loss of appetite and rapid weight loss has the potential for triggering fatty liver. Does your vet know what triggered it? Sometimes, it is triggered by pancreatitis, or diabetes. Also, when did the gallop rhythm develop? Was it when she was on fluids? If so, it might mean that she had a preexisting heart condition and could not handle a normal amount of IV fluids. The key to getting a cat through fatty liver syndrome is getting enough calories into her. The most effective way for this to occur is to have a feeding tube placed. The esophagus is usually the best place, but there are other options. Regardless, I would definitely recommend a full cardiac evaluation.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We do not know what caused the FLD....her blood work showed nothing to out of the norm...Liver was 131???
She was on iv fluids all last week and seemed to be doing better on Friday when I was able to bring her home, she had gained 2lbs back at the vet.
When I got her home, I gave her the fluids underher skin near shoulder blades. I wasn't successful in force feeding..she's a fighter and refused. I was afraid I would hurt her. When I took her back to the vet this am, she had lost that 2lbs again.
They want to put a feeding tube in, and so do I, but they now say that with the heart rythym, they may not be able to.....which means she will die cause she won't get the nourishment. She is having the ultsound tomarrow
Is tomorrow's ultrasound for her abdomen (liver) or heart? The liver number you were talking about was probably the ALT, which is a liver enzyme. The only way to be sure you are dealing with FLD is with a biopsy, but some ultrasonographers are good enough to get a very good idea, from the liver's appearance on ultrasound. If they do a liver biopsy, they will need to do some blood clotting tests first, to make sure she does not have a bleeding tendency. Most cats don't let you force-feed them, so don't feel bad. Anyway, the gallop rhythm is not bad by itself---You just need to find out what is causing it, and then treat the problem, if needed. If she cannot get a feeding tube placed at this time, she might be able to get one that is smaller and is put through her nose. It is not tolerated quite as well and has a tendency to plug up, even with liquid feedings, but at least does not require anesthesia to place it.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The ultrsound is for both the Liver and Heart. I talked to the vet tech tonite and they were able to feed her 4 times today and vomitted 1 time. Realistically, can she pull thru this???
I am willing to do whatever it takes and will pay anything to get her better. Is the nasal feeding tube a reliable way to nurish her if needed??

Yes. What you said about the feedings is good. Vomiting once is not too bad. If her heart is OK and the only thing you need to worry about is the fatty liver, then getting the feeding tube will greatly increase her chances of pulling through. The nasal tube can work--it's just harder to maintain. It sounds as if your vet hospital is doing all the right things. I need to go off-line now and will be unavailable until tomorrow night. I promise I will check in again to see how everything went. Take care. I'll be thinking of you (and her).

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank You so much.
My email [email protected]
Any news?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for caring so much. Yes, there is news. The ultrasound showed a STRONG heart and the surgery to place the feeding tube was successful. She is resting and beginning her feeding in small doses at the hospital and is on anti-nausua rx, she should be able to come home tomarrow. Everyone at the Cat Doctor was really helpful and caring trhu my many phone calls today.
I'm looking to the next 4-6 weeks of feeding her and praying for a full recovery.
One more most likely started from her teeth. There were several that had to be removed and thats probably what caused her to stop eating.
I promise to be more attentive on all my animals needs. This was a big slap in the face to me and my priorities must be on my family and pets!
You have been very great to me and I deeply appreciate it.
Janette Reid
13reid at sbc global, dot net
Hooray. That all makes sense. Keep me posted. I'll pray for a full recovery, too.
DrLucy and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I just got home with Baby and she looks so much better. The feeding tube placement was successful and I'll be giving her her first at home feeding at 8pm. They also removed her infected teeth and she is wearing a pain med. patch. She already looks fuller and more alert than Monday morning. Thank you again for all you advice and prayers.
You truely are a very caring person.
Thanks you sooo much!
Janette Reid
That is great news. Thank you for the update.

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