- Feb 20, 2008Hi Kristen, and Welcome!
First of all, our hearts and prayers go out to you and your beloved
furry children, most especially Chico! Please feel free to ask any
and all questions of the group here, you'll find the people most
It is heartening to know that Chico seems to be holding his own after
a year post-DX! HOORAH!
I have found out that it can be very hard to diagnose heart problems
in cats because they compensate so well by limiting their activity.
However, sitting upright or seeming reluctant to lie down are classic
signs of fluid building up CHF (congestive heart failure) in the lungs
as the heart starts to actually fail. These postures help keep the
fluid away from the heart and the top of the lungs.
Other signs of heart failure can include difficulty breathing,
fainting, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, gagging, or labored,
rapid, or very shallow breathing. If a blood clot forms, the clot can
get lodged in an artery leading to the hind legs and cause paralysis
as well as a lot of pain.
I can understand you questioning the ultrasound results, but did your
vet also perform the following:
* Electrocardiogram (ECG) - May show several patterns distinctive
* Echocardiography or Doppler - Often used to confirm or enhance
* Blood Work-Up - Elevated values may reflect systemic arterial
hypertension or hyperthyroidism.
These other diagnostic findings will help to confirm the diagnosis of
feline HCM once and for all, especially if you are still unconvinced
of the diagnosis.
What you might want to do, is to have your vet send a consult out to
the nearest vet cardiologist with all of his/her findings, and getting
an opinion as to whether a visit would be warranted after all.
We took Tank the Cat 72 miles round trip to Angell Memorial Hospital
in Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA to see his cardiologist via automobile.
It was not suggested that Tank be tranquilized for the trip not good
for feline cardiac patients, but you might want to check with your vet
just the same. He did pretty well, under the circumstances, at least
he did not go into cardiac arrest on either trip. Quite frankly, if
he survived THAT trip, we felt that he would do well after that he
lived 16 months more!
Our beloved Tank the Cat had a similar DX as your cat. He was seven
when diagnosed in 2005 and his weight was 13.2 pounds. His condition
was severe and was not expected to survive more than two to three
months after the initial diagnosis of HCF w/ CHF (congestive heart
He lived another year and a half with the following regimen upon
advice from his Vet and Cardiac Vet:
Non-enteric coated orange baby aspirin 81 mg. 1/2 a tab twice a week
on Wednesday and Saturday.
Atenolol 1/4 tab 12.5 mg twice a day. Beta-blocker
Furosemide (Lasix) 1/2 tab 40 mg. twice a day. Diuretic
You might suggest to your vet that Chico be put on a regimen twice a
week of non-enteric coated baby aspirin of a dosage appropriate to
NOTE: Give aspirin to an animal ONLY on the advice of an veterinarian
- NEVER self medicate!
In cardiac cases in both human and animal, aspirin can be helpful to
assist the vascular system and the heart. This compound helps to
prevent blood clotting by thinning the blood, but the usual dose for
that is either one regular or one "low dose" aspirin a day for humans.
Feline side effects of aspirin could include gastrointestinal
problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding
disorders, and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal problems are common in
dogs, whereas central nervous system depression is most common in
cats. Which is why aspirin should be given to felines and canines
ONLY with advice of the veterinarian.
You did not say if Chico was diagnosed with CHF, but it can accompany HCM.
What to watch for:
If your cat begins to exhibit signs like poor appetite, panting,
coughing after even the slightest exertion and blue lips/tongue/gums.
Kitty may appear to be out of breath, and not so often your cat may
even throw up a reddish colored fluid. This may, or may not be
accompanied by fainting spells. CHF is a very serious disease and as
such, any troubling signs warrant an immediate trip to the vet.
Keep your beloved active, but as stress free as possible. Keep him
indoors. Keep as quiet of an atmosphere as possible. If you have
multiple flights, sequester him to one floor preferably the first, the
stress of going up and down the stairs can overtax the heart. Keep
the rooms cool so he does not breathe harder.
If Chico begins to labor, do not be surprised if Whiskey attacks him.
We were shocked when Silkie the Cat attacked Tank the Cat when he was
having one of his bad moments. He would let out a yeowl in pain and
slump over and lose consciousness for a short time, and then she would
run over and bat at him with her paw, making him yeowl even more. He
is the Alpha male and she would normally just go about her business
being Silkie, never being hostile, except when Tank is ill. Try to
keep Whiskey away from Chico when he is having an attack if this happens.
If I can be of further assistance, you need only fire off an e-mail.
Isadora, owned by Silkie, the Cat, and overseen by Angel Tank the Cat
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Kristen" <kristen6105@...> wrote:
> Hi everyone, I just found and joined this group today. My name is
> Kristen. I have two cats at home, both boys, Chico and Whiskey.
> Chico, my savannah boy, was diagnosed with HCM about a year ago or
> more already. I'd have to look back at my records to be sure. He is
> on two medications which I give him daily, lasix and enapril(I
> think). I originally took him to the vet because he was coughing, I
> didn't know what was wrong. He hadn't even turned one yet. After
> xrays, and a heart ultrasound, my vet diagnosed him with HCM. He
> since has had 2 more ultrasounds, both showing the same. He seems
> to be doing well for the most part, he sleeps a lot. He doesn't
> really act like a young cat, to me anyway, but he does play some and
> he is always hungry and has a good appetite. I'm still in the denial
> stage, I want to take him to a feline cardiologist, even though I
> feel my vet is very qualified. There are none local, and Chico isn't
> the easiest traveler. If he in fact really has a heart condition, I
> don't want to put any more stress on him that absolutely necessary.
> I could go on and on, but I just meant for this to be an introduction
> more than anything. I look forward to reading about other's
> experiences with this disease, and I look forward to any
> advice/suggestions you can give me to make sure Chico has the best
> quality of life for as long as possible.
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