Any info on heart murmurs in cats?

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Stella- Felinis--Queen- of All Kitties!
Purred: Fri Jan 12, '07 7:21pm PST 
It's Stella. Today the vet said she heard a grade 2 heart murmur in me when I was being checked over for a urinary tract infection. I am only nine months old?! What will this mean for me? They want my person to take me in for ultrasound and chest x-rays, which are going to cost about $800. If there is no treatment and no good prognosis, is it worth it? We understand that such cats don't live long and just don't wake up one morning and there is nothing that can be done.

Any info, web sites, personal experiences, etc., welcome! Or pmail me.

I know that all the great cats and people on Catster will have all the best information and advice!



Purred: Fri Jan 12, '07 10:18pm PST 
Booger has a heart murmur too although I'm not sure about the grade. He developed it as some point during the worst stages of his illness - we think it happened when his pleural cavity filled up with fluid. (My vet told me she didn't want to do any testing and didn't feel it was something I needed to worry about yet, just something that I needed to be aware of.) But, in your case, I do think I would opt to have the ultrasound done.

Ultrasound really is the best way to determine the cause of a heart murmur in cats. But, even so, it can still be extremely difficult to identify the exact cause which is why most vets refer to a cardiology specialist. Were you referred or is your vet performing the ultrasound?

Determining the cause of the heart murmur is going to give you a better idea of the prognosis and long term care, if any, that Stella will need. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for young cats to 'outgrow' their heart murmurs and also that many, many cats live long healthy lives with low grade heart murmurs and need nothing more than yearly monitoring.

I do hope it is nothing serious and wish you the best!


Gazza. - Rainbow- Bridge.

Teddy Bear
Purred: Sat Jan 13, '07 2:53am PST 
Hi Stellas. I was diagnosed with a grade two murmer and with meds I lived eight more years. I wasn't as young as you are when I was diagnosed though, I was middle aged. I'm sure that with the right meds you will be able to live a long , full and happy life. It didn't stop me doing anything I wanted.
We will be purring for you.

Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrr

The Cornish crew.


Lazy, Lazy, Lazy
Purred: Sat Jan 13, '07 9:38am PST 
Booger is right, some young animals outgrow the murmujrs. An ultrasound would be a good idea if your vet feels this is necessary. Sometimes medicines are given, other times the murmur isn't severe enough for medications. You can live a perfectly healthy life with a murmur, but it is wise to know as much info as you can regarding your heart in particular.


The Serenity- Prayer
Purred: Sat Jan 13, '07 11:45am PST 
Hear murmurs are graded 1-6. 1 is the least serious.
So right there, I would tend to think your cat is fine, and not in desperate need of special treatment.
It is common for kittens to develope heart murmurs that go away in later years.
X-rays are not the best diagnostic tool for a vet. Ultrasound is much better.
Neither is essential. If the vet has decided on surgery, he can open and then see what the problem is. Of course, most vets would PREFER to know what they are getting into before but this is not strictly necessary.
I would ask you vet if he has a plan. One of the things that I really HATE are these vets that want to go "fishing" for a diagnoses. It is my strong opinion that, "no clear game plan", "no fishing". The vet should have a clear idea of what he is looking for and what he will do if his suspicions are confirmed. Do you know HOW MANY TIMES, I have asked, "OK, and then what? " and the vet is like: "Well, actually if it is what I think it is, there is not much we can do." Uh, hu. Yeah right.
Anyway, this is a link to a ton of useful info on heart murmurs in cats: http://www.vetinfo.com/cmurmur.html#Heart%20murmur%20in%20bengal%20k itten


I am invincible
Purred: Sat Jan 13, '07 6:16pm PST 
Having an ultrasound will better determine what part of the heart is "malfunctioning" and if it is treatable--but that's up to you..yes kittens can grow out of their murmurs--so it's up to you if you want him to age some more-- then proceed however you wish to...GOOD LUCK with him


more food please
Purred: Sat Jan 13, '07 8:58pm PST 
I have heart disease. The prognosis was not good. The average cat diagnosed with the type of heart disease I have lives only a few days longer. The reason, I believe, is because heart disease in cats has virtually no symptom until it's too late. So, you're lucky the vet found it early!

I had to get a few ultrasounds and figure out a good combination of meds, but now I'm doing really well. My heart is almost normal. I have to take pills twice a day but that's nothing. It's been about two months now and no symptoms.

I think your mom should get the ultrasounds. But maybe try to find a cheaper vet. Prices vary dramatically with vets, call around.

Edited by author Sat Jan 13, '07 9:01pm PST


Horatio - in loving- memory

Daddy's boy
Purred: Sun Jan 14, '07 9:26am PST 
Bacall, our big sister Cleo died of cardiomyopathy before we came into our mommy's life. Mommy has always told us it was very sudden -- one week she was okay, the next week they were in the Tufts small animal ER and Cleo died that night.

We are glad to hear that you are doing well, though, and my brothers and me will all be purring for you.

Mommy also reminded me to tell you all that our baby brother Pippin -- okay, he's actually bigger than me now -- had a heart murmur when he was little and outgrew it. Our vet said that it isn't uncommon in kittens but he wanted to make sure to check it out next visit (when Pippy got more vaccines). We hope that's the case with you, Stella!


Stella- Felinis--Queen- of All Kitties!
Purred: Sun Jan 14, '07 10:13am PST 
It's Stella. Thanks to everyone for the information and all of their support for me!applause

My person has decided not to do the ultrasound this Tuesday. For one thing, I am still too sick from my bladder infection and am miserable so she doesn't want to make me feel worse. Also there is a big ice storm coming so the van might not come down from St. Louis either. The next chance is the middle of March.

Unfortunately this IS the cheap rate. The only other way to get this test would be to drive to St. Louis [130 miles each way] and then it would be more expensive. The van diagnostic center is subsidized.

As someone mentioned, these tests would be better read by a cardiologist, and our vet is not one. Again, the nearest is in St. Louis, and probably the best is in Champaign IL 225 miles away.

My person is following up on information that's been given to her. She also would like to have someone else to listen to my heart. Although our vet did a great job on Delyte's surgery, we are not sure that they would not do unnecessary tests to make money. They have frequently suggested this for the animals she has taken there, and in some cases the tests are uncomfortable for the animal and a few have involved travel, which except for Trinket, her dog, was always a horror for the cats.

Thanks, Everycat! big grin

Jesse James - An Angel

Spay & Neuter- your pets! - Adopt a Feral
Purred: Sun Jan 14, '07 12:12pm PST 
Meows Stella,

The vet told Mom I also had a heart murmor and suggested many many expensive tests. Since I am an old guy - Mom decided to have me rechecked in a few weeks instead.

Well we ended up changing vets thanks to Captain Morgan - and guess what? I never had a heart murmor!

If you saw the lists of tests they wanted to do to Morgan when he arrived and the prices, the only person who could have afforded it was Donald Trump. Morgan's new doctor said those people were nuts!

Look at Morgan today - on his way to see the world.

If you have a Veterinary College anywhere near you, it may be worth the drive to get Stella a good check up.

Mom and Morgan are driving 4 hours to Cornell University on Tuesday for his pre-op. His eye surgery here in CT is $4,000 to $5,0000.00 At Cornell it is $2,200.00 to $2,400.00 - a HUGE difference and he gets the top teaching Doctors!

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