Just diagnosed with HCM and my owner is terrified

This is a special place for cats to share their love and support for each other during difficult times; it's a place to light candles, give a "get well purr" and let everyfur know they are never ever alone.

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Mutzi (now- in heaven)

Purred: Sun Dec 11, '11 12:21pm PST 
Hi everyone,

I'm Mutzi, and I'm new to the forum! I found you guys because I've just been diagnosed with a grade 3 heart murmur. I had an EKG and a T-4 test. My thyroid is normal, which means I have Hypertrophic cardiomyophathy. I'm going to get my blood pressure checked tomorrow, and my cardiologist will be starting me on medication soon.

Here's my mom with some more words:

Hi, guys. I'm an emotional wreck. From browsing these forums, it looks like this is a really common disease for kitties. I thought I had many, many years with her - she was so healthy before! I think she's around 8, but she was full-grown when I adopted her, so it's hard for us to tell.

I'm so scared. I love Mutzi so much and I know I need to get hold of myself and be strong, and enjoy whatever time I have left with her. I just wish I knew if she had a long time or a short time. The vet says we caught it early, which is a good sign, but because the disease is severe, it's impossible to give an accurate prognosis.

I feel so lost. I just want her to be okay, but she's not okay. I saw some posts on here about kitties that have lived into their teens, which gives me hope. Some kitties decline very rapidly, however.

Any purrs, support, prayers, or advice would be helpful. Thank you so much.

Alex (sweet angel girl)

Angel on a- mission!
Purred: Sun Dec 11, '11 1:03pm PST 
Hi there, I'm so sorry you're going through this. I really don't know much about this disease but there are some very knowledgeable kitties here who are living with it. I know it's hard to be calm right now and I'd be feeling the same way you do. It's just crazy how many diseases kitties can get. But you will never know how much time you have with her and that's the truth even if she was healthy. I'll see if I can find Bumpurr, he's got HCM and is doing very well. Hold on okay? Hang in there!hug

Bella My- Beautiful- Angel

Mommys Kitty- Girl! I know- I\'m loved!
Purred: Sun Dec 11, '11 2:12pm PST 
Mutzi and Mom,
Please don't panic!
Every cat is different. When I used to work at the Humane Society many years ago, we had a cat who was left at our clinic...and we later learned he had HCM. Well, our then vet, who was a bit of a jerk said 'I give him 3 months'.
Well, PS, Tom Nolan outlived the vets employment there, and lived to what was estimated the upper teens. It wasn't HCM he passed with, as far as we know. He passed quickly and peacefully in his sleep. During that whole time, he was our 'Mascot' and greeted everyone who came to us, and 'ran' the place with a few cat friends.

My Bella was recently diagnosed with a heart murmur. She's 'up there'. We'll get a sonogram done, and figure it out...but truthfully, we take things here day by day.

When we hear scary diagnosisis, we get scared! But your kitty doesn't know what she has! She is going about her normal routine, probably just as happy as you please. She's not worried, so try not to!

Sending you purrs and prayers,
Deb and the Kew Gardens Cats!

Mutzi (now- in heaven)

Purred: Sun Dec 11, '11 2:32pm PST 
Thank you so much for your kind words! It was so helpful to come back to find reassurances from experienced cat owners (Mutzi is my first cat). I'm so happy that this forum is here.


Backflips are my- specialty!
Purred: Sun Dec 11, '11 3:28pm PST 
Mutzi, Bella is right. You really never know the outcome of anything. Some kitties can be very strong and live much longer than anyone thought. With the right care and treatment, you could live to be an old lady! big grin

Boxie Brown- Forever

Boxie B.- with a- goatee!!
Purred: Sun Dec 11, '11 5:58pm PST 
Mutzi: I nearly died after taking steroids that aggravated a pre-existing heart condition, which turned out to be HCM. After coming out of critical condition I started taking a couple of different medications and was put on a low sodium diet. I didn't like one of the meds (the one that prevented blood clots) not matter what my parents did so we eventually gave up on that one but I got the rest of my meds compounded through BCP VET PHARMACY and I took them, no problem, I would also take some of the meds in a Greenies pill pocket if they were tiny and not too bitter. But BCP, they can compound anything into a treat for you! Your doctor only has to call in or approve the script and they will mail them to you or to your vet, your choice. I also had CRF so it was difficult to manage my HCM, because some of the meds were hard on my kidneys, so you will have to be monitored to check your kidney levels if you need meds. In the end I was able to be completely stabilized and only passed because I developed a rapid growing tumor behind my eye. If you have questions lots of kitties are living with the disease and can help! Have faith my friend!

Mutzi (now- in heaven)

Purred: Sun Dec 11, '11 8:31pm PST 
Thank you all so much for your kind responses. I have so much more hope now than I did this morning. I'm really glad I found you guys. hug


RESPECT The- Star!
Purred: Mon Dec 12, '11 5:00am PST 
Here I am, and thank you to Finney for telling me about Mutzi, be very glad to help! wave

First, take a breath, this is not a death sentence, it is very manageable. Bump was diagnosed at 10 months, 2 cardiologists said he would not live past 1 yr old. I said oh heck no, find me another cardiologist. My vet and I did extensive research on this, talked to Maine Coon breeders, talked to Ragdoll breeders, talked to other vets, even had the Winn Foundation involved. Bump turned 5 yrs old last month. He plays with the kittens, runs with them thru the house at warp speed, like crazy boys. He is doing very well, its just management.

You may have already done these tests, but in case you haven't you need to get them done.

You need an x-ray, to determine if there is fluid on the heart or lungs, that also determines if lasix needs to be given, which, if you go that route, make sure its the cardiologist that prescribes it. You need an ultrasound, that is the only true way, to determine the proper grade, and the proper treatment. Bump is also a grade 3. You need a CBC and Wellness blood panel, the vets also call it a mini screen, and **insist** it be sent to Antech, they are a lab, the best in the country, and they have specialists there that work with your vet. You need to know if any values are too high or too low, if there are other issues going on, and you need to know what his normal values are now, for the vet to look back on, to see if an issue might be starting.

They usually put them on Atenenol, its a blood thiner, and baby aspirin, usual dose is 1 every 3 days, that is to prevent clots, but your vet needs to work with your cardiologist, to determine if these meds are needed, and what the dose should be, they usually start with the lower dose, and adjust.

You need to get him on a grain free, by product free, soy free, gluten free food, and most importantly, one that is LOW IN SALT, this one is imperative. I feed Blue Wilderness chicken, the blue one, its by Blue Buffalo, just avoid the bag, with the code of Nov 11 12 on it, long story. This is the food Bump picked, he wouldn;t eat any of the other foods, and his cardiologist at UC Davis, approved this food. You also have to keep him flushed out. Wet is better, mix it with lukewarm water, so its real real soupy, twice a day. Bump won't eat any wet, period, so he gets the dry. If you need to go the dry route, let me know, will tell you what to do, this is what his vet and card came up with.

You now have a kitty that has a compromised immune system. Thats why he has to be fed a quality food, thats why you have to keep him hydrated, its management. You also have to be aware of his health. Any change in his health, or personality, he needs to go in to the vet, whatever it is, it needs to be caught and treated quickly, this is the key. When Bump does have an issue, he goes on L-Lysine, its an immune booster, which he doesn't like, and about the time he refuses to take it anymore, is about the time he is over his issue. He will be suseptable to upper respitory infections and eye infections, also called herpes. Bump hasn't had any of these in awhile, but he did at the beginning, until his body adjusted, he went in at the first sign, and got over it quickly. If your kitty will take it, its a good idea to put him on it, but run it by your vet first. Your vet *needs* to know, any meds the kitty is on, prescription or over the counter, NEVER give any over the counter meds, without checking with your vet first, as some meds, prescription or over the counter, that are fine for most cats, will kill a heart kitty. Centrine is one, *never* let your kitty be given Centrine. Its an anti spazmodic, similiar to Pepto Bismal for us. Before your kitty is given any meds, you need to ask, is this safe for a heart kitty. Its now your responsibilty. Never accept probably or I don't know, make them look it up.

Its also very very important the kitty be kept in a stress free household. You cannot stress about this, he will pick up on it.

HCM is hypertropic cardiomyopathy. It helped me too, to understand exactly, what it was, I asked like about a zillion questions.

It means the left ventrical does not open and close properly, it lets in too much blood, or not enough, it should open and shut tight, like your front door, instead, it swings in the wind, like a saloon door, is how my vet explained it.

Everytime you take him in, for anything, make them check his heart and blood pressure. You need periodical x-rays and blood panels done, to make sure nothing has changed, and so they get a gist, on how his "normal" is.

Its just management. Be very glad to help you and ans any questions you have.

Finnegan (Finney)

I am a- CARNIVORE! Not a- Cornivore!
Purred: Mon Dec 12, '11 6:57am PST 
Thank you Bump!!! This poor mom needs to know she can do this. Mutzi I know this a lot of information to take in. Just print out Bumpurr's information so you can have it on hand and ask the vet about it. Plus don't be afraid to ask Bumpurr any questions, he knows what he's talking about with this condition okay? Hang in there!!! way to go


RESPECT The- Star!
Purred: Mon Dec 12, '11 2:56pm PST 
Your very welcome Finney! hug I am very glad to help. I understand how she feels. When they told me, I about fell on the floor, its like being kicked in the stomach. You know nothing about it, and its very overwhelming.
Then my Texan kicked in, we tend to stand and fight, and, take no prisioners. I said, oh *H* no, not my baby boy! I told my vet, find me another cardiologist, and start your book now, as Bump is going to be the one, that makes it. We then started the very, long journey, of extensive research. I also had the added attraction, that his was a genetic defect, as Maine Coons are prone to HCM, as are Ragdolls, and other breeds. I was *determined* to find out, where it came from, as I did not want any more Bump's born, and their mommy's to have to go thru what I went thru. It took me over a year, but I found it, and this amidst death threats to me, to him. I never backed down, I am from Texas, we stand and fight. Breeders didn't test, as they should have, and they came across the wrong kitten buyer. There are still lawsuits going on. When it comes to the big Bump, takin on his mommy, ain't, a good idea. wave

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