May 30th 2010 12:22 pm
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Well, one month on and I thought I should update everyone on my situation. Thanks to everyone who has been purring and praying for me, it has really helped me to feel better.
I had a blood test to check on how my kidneys were coping with the medications I'm on for the heart disease and it showed they were fine - which is great news. They sent some blood away to be tested for any thyroid abnormalities, as that can cause heart problems, but supposedly it "spoiled in the post". This means I have to go through the stressful procedure of having blood drawn again, which is not great for me as I'm supposed to be kept stress free. Mum and dad have just postponed that blood taking for a while, although they realise it's a really important test to do and they will get it done sometime soon.
Now, the facts as they stand are like this: I still breathe quite fast (35 when I'm resting)and I still cough sometimes if I haven't had the steroid jab. The vet saw "thickening of the ventricle walls of my heart when he did the ultrasound, but he's not a feline cardiologist (there aren't many in the UK and none closer to us than 60 miles away)and that is pretty much all he could tell us about my heart as even though I was sedated, I was "very wriggly" and they didn't want to overly stress me.
So that vet (not my usual vet but the one at my vets clinic who specialises in doing ultrasound scans)looked at my x rays and the thickening of the ventricle walls and comes to the conclusion that I have heart failure - which is very bad as cats on average, only tend to live 3 months after being diagnosed with heart failure. The x rays showed some cloudiness, which he put down to pulmonary edema - the fluid that seeps into your lungs when your heart isn't working very well. This is why I'm on the diuretic pill.I also had this patterning that they often refer to as 'donuts' - small rings that show changes in bronchial structure. These 'donuts' are a classic sign of asthma and other bronchial diseases. The x rays also showed that my heart was a normal size. I don't have a heart murmur and have always had a strong, regular pulse. Cats with heart FAILURE, usually have an enlarged heart and a weak or irregular pulse, along with poor appetite, vomiting and lethargy - I have none of these. Call her crazy, but Mum just doesn't think I have or have been in a state of heart failure at any time!
After doing a heck of a lot of reading, my mum has her own theory on my heart and lung problems and i will explain it. She might be wrong and it might just be wishful thinking (probably is??!!)but this is what she thinks:
Mum thinks that I have asthma or chronic bronchitis and have had this problem for quite a while and it's gone unrecognised. I have had a fast breathing rate for at least a couple of years and I saw the vet about it 2 years ago. At that time, he thought everything sounded OK in my chest but said if mum and dad were concerned, I could always have xrays and an ultrasound scan to see if there was anything going on.
Mum and dad declined, because they thought they were just being silly. Although I was breathing a little fast, it was still within 'normal' range - just the higher end of normal. They were reassured that my heart and lungs sounded good, so just left it at that. Every once in a while, she would see me cough after drinking water, but she just thought that was because I had some sort of spazzy swallowing action and occasionally choked when I was drinking. Also, I lost my voice a few years ago. Mum has now read that cats with asthma tend to lose their voice sometimes. So when these bouts of coughing started back in autumn last year, she now thinks that was a progression of mild asthma to starting to have 'asthma attacks'. When she looks at videos of cats having asthma attacks on the internet - that's what my coughing looks like.
Mum believes that because I this asthma going untreated for so long, that it caused my heart to work harder and the ventricle walls to thicken. So therefore, in her opinion, the heart disease is secondary to the lung disease. Mum read that if heart disease is secondary to some other disease, then it should always be considered reversible. So she's going to cling onto that little ray of hope and keep telling herself that my heart will get better, once they get control over the asthma or chronic bronchitis. She tends to think it's more likely asthma, as she read that cats with chronic bronchitis cough EVERY day without fail, where as cats with asthma sometimes have days where they don't cough - like I do.
So now I have an inhaler, to help with the inflammation in my lungs as I can't keep having the depo-medrol shot as that's not good for cats with heart problems and it can have side effects if you have it too regularly. I don't like the inhaler but mum thinks I'll get used to it, like I have gotten used to taking my tablets. I have them crushed in a little bit of butter (well it's Olivio olive oil spread, not real butter!)and I lick the butter/pill paste off her finger.
I have only tried the inhaler for the first time last night, so we'll see how that goes. I did struggle and tried to back away from the mask as it was a bit scary.
Mum is hoping that within a few weeks of having the inhaled medicines, my breathing will slow down, I'll stop coughing and eventually my thickened heart walls will thin out again. My vet doesn't think this is very likely, but like I said, mum has been doing a lot of reading that the vets doesn't have time to do and she believes it COULD happen!
So friends, just keep purring that my mum is right, because that would be a whole lot better than me having heart failure and I might yet live to be an old furt cat!
Purrs ~ Blade
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Purring for you and your parents my friend..
Purring for you. Thank you for my rosie. Let me know how you are doing.
Best wishes to you too Blade. Purring for both of us to live to be old furts with happy hearts.