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C2010-35

Dear Christopher Cat

As part of her senior lab work, my cat, Sasha, had a Cardiopet blood test. The veterinarian said the result was normal, indicating that she didn’t have heart disease, but he didn’t really explain the test. Does Cardiopet measure cholesterol and triglycerides, or something else?

Christopher Responds

The Cardiopet blood test measures a hormone called NTproBNP, which is produced by heart muscle cells when they’re stretched. The substance is unrelated to cholesterol or triglyceride.

Cardiopet is a useful test because, as a diseased heart enlarges, its cells stretch and release excessive NTproBNP, which veterinarians recognize as a marker of heart disease.

The most common type of heart disease in cats is cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease that usually produces no clinical signs until the disease has advanced. Cardiopet may help identify cardiomyopathy sooner, allowing treatment to begin early enough to prolong life.

Moreover, if Sasha needs a surgical or dental procedure, her normal NTproBNP level will help you and your veterinarian feel confident about her heart’s ability to tolerate the anesthesia.

In cats with breathing difficulties, Cardiopet can help determine the cause, by differentiating between heart disease and respiratory disease.

If Sasha’s Cardiopet result is high in the future, your veterinarian may recommend chest x-rays and cardiac ultrasound to evaluate her heart function and determine a diagnosis.

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