|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
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