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20078Re: [FH] Hi. My cat Pearl diagnosed with Mitral insuffiency

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  • Karen
    Jun 28, 2005
      on 6/28/05 9:16 PM, lclarizia@... at lclarizia@... wrote:

      > Hi Karen and Pearl,
      >
      > Welcome to the list, though I'm sorry you had to join us!
      >
      > We all know the "overwhelmed" feeling. The first days and weeks are the
      > worst, but you do get to a point where you can cope. This list is a great
      > resource because whatever you come up against, chances are someone else here
      > has
      > experienced it.
      >
      > Regarding Pearl's diagnosis -- mitral valve insufficiency can occur on its
      > own or as part of another condition, such as cardiomyopathy. Did either vet
      > say
      > anything about this? MVI alone can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF)
      > with the fluid in the lungs, etc. but the best thing you can do for Pearl
      > right
      > now (or, after she's had a few days to calm down) is to get an accurate
      > diagnosis.

      All he spoke of was the MVI. We will get a blood test later. Though I just
      hate thinking of her stress levels. I know she is better than some cats,
      but she is definitely the worst one I've had. They did mention the thyroid
      and so we will have to test for it. I sure hope it isn't just because it
      seems like too many meds!!!
      >
      > Her diarrhea might be caused by stress, but could also be caused by the meds,
      > as could her lethargy. The heart meds and pred. can be rough on the kitty at
      > first, though most adjust. Did your vet mention why he used prednisone? I
      > ask because generally it's contraindicated in heart kitties -- it's often used
      > to treat asthma, and it seems like some vets just use it for any old breathing
      > problem -- although if it's for something else, steroids can be used safely,
      > if care is taken.

      I took her to the emergency vet (who did not think the heart looked
      enlarged) on SUnday and because they thought the cough was asthma, started
      her on pred. It certainly did end the coughing. So, because we started we
      have to wean down. My vet thought we might keep her on it a while at a very
      low dose, but I am going to ask if we can try weaning her off and just see
      if the cough returns. If she has to lose weight, the pred is not going to
      help that!
      >
      > Speaking of heart meds, it usually is okay to crush them. My kitty, Baby
      > Boy, also takes lasix and enalapril (along with another diuretic,
      > spironolactone)
      > and I crush them.

      I found the most awesome pestle and mortor. Crushes them very fine with just
      a couple of grinds. Luckily, Pearl just eats the food with the meds mixed
      right in. I'm glad of that as she has an easy gag reflex. If she even smells
      something she doesn't like she will gag. If I give her laxatone she will
      gag!

      >
      > As far as the months/years thing goes ... the survival statistics you hear
      > and read about are often pretty dismal. There is no denying that feline heart
      > disease is very serious and often difficult to treat. But, one thing to keep
      > in mind is that different things affect the outcome. Caring for a cat with
      > heart disease is tough, requires a lot of committment on the part of the
      > owner,
      > and compliance with meds and keeping a close eye on the cat go a long way to
      > improving their general condition. Not everyone is able to do this. Many of
      > us
      > on this list use alternative therapies as part of our cats' treatments --
      > vitamin supplements, homeopathic remedies, accupuncture, Reiki, etc. and have
      > had
      > good results with them. My kitty has end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy, I've
      > been using various supplements on him (especially coenzyme q10, which I highly
      > recommend) and he's doing quite well, considering.

      The hardest thing is I don't know how "bad" this is or not. The cardio vet
      said that the leakage is not bad. He showed me on the echo and it bows back
      in just a little, but her heart looks a lot bigger to me than in the xray
      two years ago. I need to get more info I guess.

      > As to what to watch for -- watch how Pearl breaths, how fast she breaths and
      > the "quality" of her breaths, i.e. hard, shallow. There is a big range of
      > "normal" for the number of breaths per minute (16-40, generally, slower when
      > sleeping, faster when awake) but some cats always breath faster/slower than
      > that
      > and are okay.

      I wondered what is "normal". Her breathing has never really appeared
      abnormal to me. And her heart does not seem to "sound" bad. Both at a check
      up a couple of weeks ago and even at the emergency vet Sunday, both vets
      thought it sounded fine. Respiration was acceptable too.

      >The most important thing is to be alert for any major changes
      > --
      > i.e. if Pearl always breaths around 36 breaths per minute and suddenly goes
      > up to fifty and stays there, she might be having difficulty. You'll want to
      > watch her diet, see how she eats, keep and eye on her weight and in general,
      > just keep a close eye on her.
      >
      I would be VERY alarmed if she did not want to eat. Pearl *always* wants to
      eat. She is not grossly overweight, but she is overweight.

      > I know it's overwhelming now, but there's lots you can do to help Pearl.
      > This list is a good place to learn about that. Welcome again, and I hope this
      > helps though it's kind of general.

      Thank you. I guess I just wish I knew more. But I have more of an idea of
      what questions to ask.
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