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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 5, 2005
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default Cardiomyopathy

    So my three year old cat was just diagnosed with juvenile-onset hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. My primary care vet found a heart murmur and sent me to a cardiologist for an ultrasound. He felt that it could be controlled with medication (a beta blocker to help lower his heart rate). Does anyone have any experience with this? I've always had cats but never one with a heart condition. HELP!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
    Location
    Western NY
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    5,873

    Default

    I don't know anything about controlling it with medication or treatment, but I will say that it's excellent that your vet caught it early and recommended follow-up to diagnose. My wonderful young cat Mischka suddenly seemed a little ill a few years ago; after a day of being NQR and increasingly raspy breathing, we got him in to the vet, who diagnosed HCM. We rushed him to the pet ER, but even after intense treatment in an oxygen tent, he died just two hours later. We had no idea he was at risk for it and had never seen any symptoms.

    Last month my friend's cat seemed to be having some trouble breathing, so she brought him to the vet, and it was HCM also--he was 14, and she had to put him down.

    So HCM is scary and deadly, but it's great that you're able to catch it early and treat for it, because most of the time, when you find out about it it's too late... good luck with the treatment for your kitty and I hope it helps him/her live a long and healthy life!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    1,335

    Default

    Oh man, I feel for you! I went through HCM with my coon cat, Piper. Like you, the vet heard a murmur when he was young, I think he was 8mo-1yr old at the time. I took him to a cardiologist every year or every other year for echos. I saw a few cardiologists over the years with him (we moved a few times) and he always had a grade 3/4 out of 6 murmur, and all the vets thought he was borderline to put on Atenolol, but never did because he had no clinical symptoms of HCM.

    Piper did really well for all of his life until he went into heart failure. One night I heard him moaning, and found him in distress hyperventilating. I took him to the ER, brought him home the next day. He had gone into heart failure, but while I was concerned, I wasn't too worried because lots of cats do well on meds and can live for years after they have gone into failure. Well, about a week later, he had another episode, and we figure he must have started throwing clots, he was not right afterward and had gone into kidney failure, and I had to put him down.

    But, Piper lived 8 fun filled and healthy years, 7 of those with the murmur. He was a really good cat.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2001
    Location
    Toronto, Canada.
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    6,359

    Default

    Unfortunatley its pretty common. Good on your vet for sending you to see a cardiologist. Cant get any better advice than from a cardiologist!

    Its managable, not curable. Ive known many cats to live long lives with cardiomyopathy (better prognosis in cats than dogs), but it does require frequent recheck vists with the cardiologist. Compliance to care is key

    You are very lucky to have caught it early. Do you know if there was smoke on his ultrasound? Often the only reason people find out about this is when their cat becomes in excruciating pain from a saddle thrombus.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 5, 2005
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default

    Squish the vet didn't say anything about smoke. The murmur he called variable--anywhere from a 2 to a 4 depending on his stress level/heartrate. There is some thickening in the left ventricle which causes the blood to leave at a faster rate. The mitral valve is opening too far which makes it leak-- I believe that is what is causing his murmur. He will start on Atenolol this week to help slow the heart rate reduce the pressure that the blood leaves the ventricle.

    My regular vet is going to check his heart rate after two weeks on the Atenolol to see if we need to adjust the dosage. The ultrasound will be repeated in six months. If the thickening in the ventricle is less then that will tell us that the heart muscle hasn't been working as hard (he equated it to going to the gym less--your muscles will get smaller!).

    This is very difficult for me to explain--I feel like an idiot for even trying to talk about it! I've always had cats but I'm not a cat person. I love them but I'm much more comfortable with horsey ailments!

    Thanks everyone for the advice and Happy Thanksgivjng!



  6. #6

    Default

    Unfortunately the biggest sequele of HCM is aortic thromboembolism, so if you ever notice your cat having trouble with his hind legs or worst case he is down, screaming in pain and paralyzed behind, you need to rush him to an emergency clinic. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot you can do when this happens, so prepare yourself.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2001
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    Toronto, Canada.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony View Post
    Unfortunately the biggest sequele of HCM is aortic thromboembolism, so if you ever notice your cat having trouble with his hind legs or worst case he is down, screaming in pain and paralyzed behind, you need to rush him to an emergency clinic. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot you can do when this happens, so prepare yourself.
    Thats why I asked if there was smoke on the echo. Good to hear there wasnt. hopefully the atenelol will help him out. Ive known many cats to come in with early diagnosed HCM that live a long healthy life. Its usually always the ones untreated that endup with the emboli.

    But yes, if they do clot (usually it will be one or both hindlegs cold and paralyzed) there is almost nothing you can do. Luckily, your vet found this early and hopefully your cat will never develop this!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 5, 2005
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    Default

    Thanks for the posts. While the vet is optimistic that this can be controlled with the medication I'm not in denial that I may lose my cat in a less than desirable way

    We do have a new problem though! I have the Atenolol but am having a very difficult time getting him to take it. We tried tuna fish which worked once but after that he wouldn't eat the tuna (even without the pill). Wet cat food doesn't work either--he eats dry food normally and is really not much of a chow hound. We tried pill pockets this morning but he still managed to eat the treat and spit out the pill. What can I say he's pretty talented!

    We're going to try again tonight but this time we're going to crumble the pill into the pill pocket. I'd hate to think that we're going to have to shove it down his throat every morning

    Anyone tried cream cheese? Or peanut butter? I really need to make this as easy as possible--we're gone alot and my dad needs to be able to deal with this.



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