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38978RE: [FH] What is a normal heart rate?

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  • Carol R.
    Mar 2, 2010
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      hi Daisy,

      When I read your post I just shiver inside. All the things you said that your vet said are going on with Ginger, as the exact same diagnosis' as Snowball had. Snowball had a high heart rate for two years. It was always between 160 and 200, sometimes over 200, but most of the time around 180...and 180 is not "normal". I don't care what any vet says to you. Even 160 is too high for a heart kitty. My holistic vet and my regular vet were always concerned about Snowball's high heart rate. The cardiologist for the whole first year she had it said the same thing... no meds at this time. He was wrong. Flat out wrong. I feel if she had been started on something earlier to slow down her heart rate, which by the way, was cause from her hyperthyroid (which we mostly had under control with spikes here and there...adjusted her methimazole, just like you do)...she might still be here. Having a high heart rate wears out the heart so much faster. I don't care how "mild" the heart diagnosis is... if the heart rate can't be slowed down, the heart is going to suffer from that, and that "mild" HCM and any other mild problem will quickly become a severe one.

      Just last June Snowball had an ultrasound, the cardiologist said her heart was still in mild to moderate HCM, but that now her upper chamber was beginning to be enlarged. He said the enlargement was likely from the uncontrolled rapid heart rate. The rapid heart rate is like over exercising the heart muscle and it just becomes bigger and bigger, because the bigger the muscle gets, the less efficient it is at pumping the blood, so it pumps even faster to get the same amount of blood to go where it needs to go, and the heart muscle keeps enlarging. It's a viscous circle. If you don't control the rapid heart rate, the heart muscle will enlarge and the heart will age quickly and then you're in trouble.

      We started Snowball on Atenolol, or I should say we tried to, last July. She couldn't tolerate it. It made her nauseated and she would just puke it up. We called many times to the cardiologist about this, but never got a call back. Thinking back now, I should have just gone to another cardiologist, but they only other one was 4 hours away and Snowball couldn't have made that trip in the car... so I did nothing. Big mistake on my part.

      By October she was even worse. Her heart rate was always 200. I tried flower essences, we did acupuncture which helped some, but it wasn't the solution. We found out we could get the Atenolol in transdermal cream, so we tried that starting in October. Snowball continued to have rapid heart rate so we had another ultrasound done in mid December. That one was a shock to us. Just six months before her diagnosis was "mild to moderate"... now the cardiologist told us she was in "end stage". The walls of her heart had become loose and floppy, no longer able to pump the blood properly at all. So in a desperate effort, we stopped the transdermal cream, which clearly wasn't working, and started the pills again, hoping Snowball could keep them down. At the same time we had her thyroid rechecked and it was how HYPO-thyroid. So we had to stop the methimazole. That was December 16th. We kept her off the methimazole till the end of December and then had her rechecked December 30th. The next day the results came back that her thyroid was through the roof again. It was so high it wasn't readable. We started methimazole again, increased her Atenolol per the vet, and hoped we were on the right track.

      We never found out, because she died the next day from throwing a massive clot that then sent her into congestive heart failure.

      I'm not telling you all of this to scare you into doing anything. I'm just sharing what happned to us... from us not getting Snowball's rapid heart rate under control soon enough. I can't stress enough how very important it is that you do that. When your vet tells you no meds are necessary at early stage problems... I would get another opinion right away. You don't have time to waste. Kitties' lives go by so much faster than ours in the time frame we have. Six months can be years to their little bodies and when they're already older, that doesn't give you the luxury of waiting to see how things go. You just may not have the time.

      This is for everyone...please, please... if your kitty has an elevated heart rate, this is a very serious situation and it needs to be addressed. However you do that, be with medication or herbs, acupuncture, holistic vet or allopathic... just get it treated as soon as possible. Try to find the underlying cause if you can, but if you can't, at least get them on medication to control it.

      I miss my Snowball every day and cry still every day. I can't breathe sometimes. And I still am blaming myself for not getting her help sooner. So many things I know now that I didn't before this experience... maybe that's what Snowball wanted to teach me? I don't know, but I do know that if any of my other guys gets the same illness as Snowball had, I'll know what to do now.... I'm just so saddened that I had to learn this lesson by losing my little Snowball.

      One last thing... about the thyroid panels they do with the regular bloodwork... they were NEVER accurate with Snowball. The only lab that did it accurately was the one we found out about in December. It's Hemopet. It's worth the extra effort it takes to send it down to Hemopet to get accurate results. You can find out about Hemopet at http://www.hemopet.org or at http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/HEMOPET.HTM and there are forms at the itsfortheanimals site that tell you how to get and send in the blood samples.

      We will never rely on a regular thyroid panel from the local labs anymore for any of our guys.

      Anyway... I hope any of this helps anyone out there dealing with this.

      Carol & Angel Snowball *5/10/91 to 1/1/10*
      & the gang


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      > To: feline-heart@yahoogroups.com
      > From: daisyfoxworth@...
      > Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 13:33:36 +0000
      > Subject: [FH] What is a normal heart rate?
      > The wonderful forum FAQ indicates it should be in the range of 130-140. At rest at home Ginger varies from 180 to 200 (I have a good BP monitor that also provides HR). While at the vet's yesterday for an ultrasound her HR was 188 which the cardiologist said was normal. (I use flower essences to calm her at the vets so I'm not surprised the reading was consistent with what I see at home.)
      > I thought 188 was high and a reflection of her thyroid disease.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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