|Purred: Fri Apr 18, '08 10:22am PST |
I was diagnosed in December with "restrictive cardiomyopathy" (I'm not sure if that is the very same thing you have or not but it could well be--you could ask your vet about that)!
I was very, very sick--in fact, it turns out that most kitties as sick as I was have a life expectancy of less than 2-4 months! Well, it's been a good four months and guess what--I'm still here MOL! AND doing GREAT, says my specialist vet!
Now, my mommy is NOT any kind of medical expert, so pleeeeease check all this out with your doctor first! But here is what happened to make me so much better:
FIRST--my vet referred me to a special veterinary hospital where there are lots of veterinary specialists (this is just too complicated for most "family vets"--no matter how good they are--to handle). I am sure that your family can check with your vet or on the web and find a university vet school, a specialist vet hospital, or somewhere similar to take you where you will find doctors who treat LOTS of patients with your condition. You will probably need a referral from your own doctor but that can be easily done. And please let them know that this is a pretty urgent case--it is not good AT ALL when we have fluid build-up and have trouble breathing!! (I know this sounds terribly expensive, but many of these hospitals will let your family pay on an installment plan--most of them love us kitties and are more than willing to work with our families to help us out).
SECOND--While my regular vet was afraid of trying this (another reason a specialist is needed), my "special" vet (who is a veterinary internist BTW--they also have cardiologists etc) is able to remove the fluid build-up in my chest cavity within minutes! I think it involves putting a needle in my chest (they use a sonogram to tell just where the fluid is) and drawing out the excess fluid. I immediately started breathing SO MUCH BETTER when they did that!! They can also put you on oxygen if you need it.
THIRD--My "special" vet started me on meds for my heart condition and to keep down the fluid build-up. In a minute I will list all the meds I am on, but first---the medicine I take for my heart is approved ONLY FOR DOGS. As you probably know, some meds that are great for doggies don't help us kitties, and some can even be fatal for us. BUT I was so very, very sick, my specialist vet decided it was worth the risk of trying the doggie heart med on me. And you know what??? It is not only working for me (and with no bad side effects)--it is working GREAT for me!!! At first, my new vet was not even sure the doggie heart med would work for me. And he wanted to see me once a month. Well, only a week ago my family took me for my monthly check up (including bloodwork--ugh!) and my doctor was SO PLEASED--he said my blood work is PERFECT (!!) and that he is ASTOUNDED by how well I am doing!!! AND instead of seeing me once a month--he now says once every 3 0r 4 months! (Unless of course I NEED to see him sooner--he works at a place where they also have 24-hour emergency services--it costs a bit more but can be life-saving!). He really cannot believe how great I am doing!!!
Okay, now here is a list of the meds he has me on (and Mommy says to remind you again that this is what works for ME--you need to see a specialist to decide what will work best for you)!
I will not put the amount of meds I am on since it depends on so many factors, but here are the meds:
(1) Furosemide (twice a day)
(2) Spironolacton (twice a day--I THINK I spelled it right!)
(3) Benazepril (once a day--or twice, I think he upped the dose!) This med is to help keep down the fluid build-up in my chest. This one can cause GI upset and should only be used if you are eating okay. But it has helped me enormously!!
(4) Pimobendan (once a day). THIS IS THE HEART MED. The one usually rx'd only for doggies--but it is working fantastic for me!!
(5) Aspirin (6 drops per dose--taken twice a week). This is to reduce the change of blood clots, because we kitties with cardiomopathy are prone to them. But I am running around and playing and feeling great!
Now if you will take tablets from your Mommy--terrific. I won't MOL--I fight it like a tiger! So my family takes the pills to a compounding pharmacy where they turn the pills into liquids (kept in the refrigerator) and so I take my meds in liquid form thru a kind of syringe or medicine dropper.
My special doctor said that we kitties with cardiomyopathy face two big medical risks: the first is congestive heart failure. Signs to look for: increased repiratory rate and effort (trouble breathing--if you start panting after no exertion or only a teeny bit of exertion, THAT IS AN EMERGENCY!!!!). Other signs: blue gums or tongue (signs of lack of oxygen--tongue and gums should be a healthy pink color), and open-mouth breathing (kind of like the panting I mentioned). ANY OF THESE SIGNS ARE AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!!!!!
The other main risk of cardiomyopathy is blood clot formation. These clots usually go to our back legs and can cause paralysis and pain (clearly NOT good!!!). But clots can strike anywhere, causing stroke-like events and other (serious) problems. Again--THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. This is also the reason I take my aspirin drops twice a week, because aspirin helps prevent/dissolve blood clots--just like it does with our humans!
Sorry this is so long but your mommy asked for info and I hope this might be of some help to you! My doctor is SO PLEASED (not to mention "amazed" MOL!) by how well I am doing, clearly my meds are working! (Of course prayer helps a lot too! )
OF course like any self-respecting feline, I hate taking meds (esp. twice a day for some of them!!) but I have to admit it's worth it--I FEEL GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!
If your mommy has any more questions, please tell her to feel free to contact my mommy!
Purrs and hugs,
Amber (and of course I will be sending you healing purrs--and my mommy will be praying for you!!)
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