Cardiac cachexia is common in people and dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF). However, the prevalence and effects of cardiac cachexia in cats are unknown.
To determine the prevalence of cachexia and its associations with clinical laboratory and survival data in cats with CHF.
One hundred twenty-five cats with CHF.
Medical records of cats evaluated during a 40-month period were retrospectively reviewed to identify cats with cardiac cachexia using 7 different definitions. Clinical, laboratory, and survival data were compared between cats with and without cachexia.
Prevalence of cachexia ranged from 0 to 66.7% for the 7 definitions, with a prevalence of 41.6% using muscle condition score (MCS). Cats with cachexia (determined by MCS) were older (P < .001), more likely to have pleural effusion (P = .003), had significantly higher blood urea nitrogen (P < .001) and neutrophil concentrations (P = .01), and significantly lower body condition score (P < .001), body weights (P < .001), hematocrit (P = .007), and hemoglobin concentrations (P = .009). Survival time for cats with cachexia (determined by MCS) was significantly shorter than for cats without cachexia (P = .03). Cats that were underweight (P = .002) and cats with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) also had shorter survival times (P = .04).
The association between cachexia and reduced survival time emphasizes the importance of identifying and addressing this common problem in cats with CHF.

© 2019 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.