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  • A.K. Farrell
    Nov 12, 2004

      My name is Amy. My cat Betti was just diagnosed with
      hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. She has no symptoms, other than
      the heart murmur that tipped the vet off -- and for this I
      feel quite fortunate. I've joined the list to find out more
      about managing this condition.

      I also lost my first cat to HCM about six years ago. His
      first sign of trouble was heart failure, and he was only
      with me for a couple more months after that. For this reason
      I had to fight back a bit of panic about Betti's diagnosis,
      but I think I've gotten past that.

      Here's Betti's story (well, her medical story):

      Betti's vet heard her heart murmur during a regular exam
      about two weeks ago. She was last at the vet's a year ago
      and didn't have a heart murmur then. We had already planned
      a blood panel (Betti's first "geriatric" workup). The good
      news on that was: great-looking labwork. I took her in for
      an echocardiogram and chest x-ray on Monday, which confirmed

      Betti's vet tells me we've caught this early, and with
      treatment she will probably do well for several years. I
      don't know how old Betti is; we have her listed as eight
      years old on her chart, but it's just a guess.

      The vet has prescribed diltiazem, 22.7 mg/day (it's the
      time-release variety). She also recommended I start Betti on
      aspirin -- 1/2 of a baby aspirin every third day.

      I picked up the diltiazem today and gave Betti her first
      dose tonight. It's several little beads in a capsule, and
      the pharmacist says it can be given sprinkled on food. I
      thought I'd try giving her the capsule anyway, as I'll no
      doubt have to give the baby aspirin as a pill. I tried the
      trick of putting butter on the capsule to make it slide down
      better, but I think that only caused the capsule to stick to
      my fingers, and ultimately I was unsuccessful. I wound up
      bringing Betti a "peace offering" with diltiazem sprinkled
      on top, and that went down just fine.

      - Amy
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