Furty Heart Health and Disease

PixieBelle- angel- ♥

pampered- princess
Purred: Thu May 14, '09 11:01am PST 
I was diagnosed on Tuesday with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and the veterinary cardiologist has put me on a beta blocker medication called Atenolol. This is not necessarily a disease of older cats (my young squirt brother Cow!Cat got the same diagnosis, on the same day), but since several Olde Furts have HCM or other cardiac problems, Scooter suggested I start a heart forum within the group so that we can pool information.

Our regular vets first detected our respective heart murmurs a couple of months ago, but we had to wait to see the cardiologist. He said what HCM means is that our heart muscles have grown too thick and are causing abnormal heart function. Apparently there is a decent chance that the Atenolol will halt or - best case scenario - reverse the muscle thickening, which can be measured in follow-up tests. But if not we will each have further problems and may need additional medications such as Lasix (a diuretic).

Other than the beta blocker, which we're taking without any problem so far, we have to watch out for breathing above 30 counts per minute (breathe in-breathe out is one count). And Mama has to watch for "belly breathing", or our abdomens rising and falling significantly with each breath, which would indicate fluid on the lungs. Neither of us had any congestion on Tuesday when the tests were done, and I don't think I've ever had any in the past, and I've only had the too-fast breathing when I'm scared and trembling. (Like when I'm at the vet's, having tests done!)

Other cats have suggested to me that a low-salt diet is key to preventing fluid retention and congestion, but since both Cow and I already are on restricted diets for other conditions, it is going to be difficult to work out any more changes. Mama is going to talk to the owner of the holistic pet store we get a lot of our food from, to see if he can recommend anything.

Olde Furt Sally Maria also told me that steroids are very bad for cats with HCM, so Mama is very glad to be armed with that information, in case Cow or I ever have some condition that would otherwise indicate steroid therapy.

If other cats will post their experiences and knowledge of heart disease here, hopefully we can build up a good information bank within Olde Furts for those of us who are battling heart problems.

Edited by author Thu May 14, '09 7:48pm PST

Freckles- (1993-2011)

My beautiful old- lady!
Purred: Thu May 14, '09 1:25pm PST 
My sister Sassy (7 years old) was diagnosed with a heart murmur and hyperthyroidism at her annual check up.

Jester and Minxy also had enlarged hearts (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and heart murmurs but didn't realise that there were meds that they could have taken. It didn't cause them any issues and they both died of totally unrelated things but after reading the posts and that beta blockers could reverse the issue mum caled the vet about Sassy.

There was a miscommunication before and the vet confirmed that Sassy should see a cardiologist for a follow up and we've got an appointment in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for starting the posts about this and meds. wave Mum will also ask my holistic vet if she has any advice when I see her for my next appointment in a couple of weeks.

LOLA ~ Our- Good Girl,- forever

I came, I- purred, I- conquered...
Purred: Tue Sep 29, '09 9:59pm PST 
bump - for housekeeping. snoopy

Beatrice- (Miss You!- '94-'12)

The very Beast- of all

Purred: Mon Nov 26, '12 12:04am PST 
Hey, my sweet, beautiful Furts! hug

This past week, I went to my regular vet to get my teeth cleaned and a couple of bad teeth extracted. I've had a heart murmur most of my life, so the vet wanted to do a chest x-ray to check the size of my heart before proceeding with the anesthesia. She was shocked to discover that my chest was filled with fluid and called off the dental.

Both my vet and my mom were surprised by this because I'd been showing no symptoms (like fast breathing, abdominal breathing, or panting). They have no idea when it even started. frown

The next day, I went to the cardiologist for an echocardiogram, and he also tapped my chest and drew off about 4 ounces of fluid. shock

The cardiologist said that the ECG showed some evidence of HCM, but not not as severe as he would expect given the amount of fluid build-up. thinking He also said that it was unlikely to be lymphatic leakage because the fluid was clear and not milky.

I got a shot of furosemide (Lasix) and sent home with a prescription for tablets of the same medication. I have to go back to my regular vet next week for another chest x-ray to see if it's working.

In the meantime, the cardiologist sent a sample of the fluid to a pathology lab, and there was no sign of a malignancy. So...it has to be heart failure.

I had a seizure over the holiday weekend, which they said was most likely caused by depletion of electrolytes from the diuretic. Mom got me a tube of NutriCal to supplement my potassium and calcium levels as well as boost my calories a little.

Do we know why steroids are bad in this case? I take 3.25mg of prednisolone a day for allergies and intestinal inflammation. The cardiologist didn't seem concerned about it, but, then, maybe it got lost in the laundry list of medications I'm taking these days. frown

I just went to the regular vet a few weeks ago for my routine olde furt exam and everything checked out fine (that was when the dental was booked). Now, this! Mom and I appreciate any guidance, advice or purrs you can offer. Thanks in advance.

Macy Angel

Purred: Mon Nov 26, '12 4:57pm PST 
I think steroids are bad because they could help build up fluid. I have CHF and had my chest tapped too way back in May. I am also on Lasix. I also have pancreatitus . It makes me not want to eat. I am on a very small dose of prednisolone .5ml a day to help me eat and keep the inflammation down. We tried an appetite stimulant and it put me in the hospital. Sometimes vets have to balance medications when we get complex medical problems. I would guess that's why you are on the steroid. But I would ask your vet because it is always good to know what they are thinking.
I am purring for you purrty girl.

Beatrice- (Miss You!- '94-'12)

The very Beast- of all

Purred: Wed Nov 28, '12 12:46am PST 
Thanks, Macy!
My family and I are sending purrs to you as well! Please keep us posted.

Macy Angel

Purred: Wed Nov 28, '12 2:24pm PST 
Let us know how you next xray goes too purrty Beatrice.Oh, and what the DR. thinks about the pred. now that you've had fluid build up. My fluid did have lymph in it shock The lab did not find any cancer cells though. I will keep purring for you !

PixieBelle- angel- ♥

pampered- princess
Purred: Fri Jan 31, '14 5:23pm PST 

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