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New member, kitty with dilated cardiomyopathy

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  • Diane
    Hello, I m so glad I found you all! My cat Starbucks was diagnosed Saturday with dilated cardiomyopathy. He is 8 years old, a neutered male who I took in as
    Message 1 of 3 , May 29, 2005
      Hello, I'm so glad I found you all! My cat Starbucks was diagnosed
      Saturday with dilated cardiomyopathy. He is 8 years old, a neutered
      male who I took in as a rescue along with his littermates when he was
      about 3 weeks old. He weighs 22 pounds and is a large boned cat, not
      fat; his littermates are as well and because they are rescues I don't
      know their history, but they are big fluffy gorgeous cats and I've
      been told they look like Maine Coon cats.

      He'd been very healthy but Thursday night I noticed him breathing
      funny, like he was trying to throw up a hairball. Something seemed
      funny though so I went over to him and his eyes were glassy and his
      gums slightly pale. I called my vet and she told me to come right in.
      An xray was done there which showed a lot of fluid in his chest
      cavity. He was having a lot of trouble breathing so was given oxygen.
      My vet suggested that he be transported to a good animal ER about 45
      min. away, where they had an ultrasound machine. They did a chest tap
      there and removed a lot of fluid. One was done which showed fluid in
      chest and lungs but the cardiologist was not there that evening so
      they waited until Sat. to do an echocardiogram. The cardiologist
      phoned me to say that the test showed a very enlarged heart and a
      clear diagnosis, in his mind, of DCM. He said it was only the 2nd
      case in cats he'd seen but he treats it in dogs frequently. He seemed
      quite pessimsitic about Star's chances. I asked if he was suffering
      and he said no, in fact Star had eaten a can of cat food and was
      looking around at the other animals. That didn't sound like he was on
      'death's door' so I said I wanted to try any treatments suggested, and
      not to put him to sleep. The vet agreed but warned about the risk of
      sudden death and embolism.

      Yesterday he was still stable and had not required another chest tap
      so was released when I asked to bring him home. He's being given
      Lasix, Digoxin and Enalapril, plus I was told to supplement with
      taurine. I know the link between taurine deficiency and DCM, but Star
      has always been fed good commercial food (for past 3 years the Nutro
      Natural Cat, previously it was Iams.) However, I have done a lot of
      reading in the past 24 hours online and it sounds like some studies
      showed an inexplicable reason why some cats don't absorb or process
      the taurine in food properly and still end up with a deficiency. I
      started the medications and taurine yesterday afternoon. Also, I gave
      him the homeopathic Calc. Fluor, which was recommended because it can
      help weak and stretched tissue incld. the heart. I have no idea if it
      will work, but I have some belief in homeopathy and thought it
      wouldn't hurt. This morning he seemed better to me, his breathing was
      much less labored. Part may be because he's home and less stressed?
      He has eaten 4 times today, not a lot each time, about 2 tablespoons
      each time of Science Diet canned, but he followed me into the kitchen
      and meowed at the fridge each time. I'm taking this as a good sign.

      I am probably talking too much but I don't know what is important!
      He's urinating copiously, I guess because of the Lasix? He is also
      drinking a lot. I'm worried about the Lasix because I would assume it
      can cause electrolyte imbalance but nothing was said about that. I
      did give him 3 teaspoons of Pedialyte a few times today, but was
      nervous. Also, I've read a lot about giving baby aspirin to help with
      risk of blood clot but the er vet didn't tell me to do it. Should I
      anyway? I will be seeing my regular vet Tues morning; she is going to
      do a blood test to check for his taurine plasma levels, as requested
      by the cardiologist. (because of Memorial Day weekend labs were
      closed and the sample had to be kept iced, so he decided it would be
      better to start Star on the taurine supplement now and do the sample
      Tuesday, thinking that it would not be enough time to make a huge
      change in his plasma levels. Does anyone know if that sounds right?)

      I feel that something is helping, and while he obviously isn't 100% he
      just doesn't seem like he's at anywhere near the end. My husband came
      home this evening and commented how much better he looks.

      I'm going to the Files and Links sections now to read, since I am sure
      some of my questions are answered in there. However, if anyone has
      any advice or thoughts, especially about the aspirin, I'd love the
      help. Thank you very much, and I will send prayers to any of you
      whose little buddies are suffering with heart problems too. Diane
    • Susan
      ... Diane, I see Lisa has answered many of your questions. When Lisa s Baby Boy was finally swiched to a DCM diagnosis from an HCM one I suggested she pretend
      Message 2 of 3 , May 30, 2005
        --- Diane <dwilliam@...> wrote:

        > I feel that something is helping, and while he
        > obviously isn't 100% he
        > just doesn't seem like he's at anywhere near the
        > end. My husband came
        > home this evening and commented how much better he
        > looks.
        >
        > I'm going to the Files and Links sections now to
        > read, since I am sure
        > some of my questions are answered in there.
        > However, if anyone has
        > any advice or thoughts, especially about the
        > aspirin, I'd love the
        > help. Thank you very much, and I will send prayers
        > to any of you
        > whose little buddies are suffering with heart
        > problems too. Diane
        >
        >
        Diane,

        I see Lisa has answered many of your questions. When
        Lisa's Baby Boy was finally swiched to a DCM diagnosis
        from an HCM one I suggested she pretend Baby Boy was a
        dog and dig into all the canine research. There is a
        lot,perhaps because the breeds affected (Doberman,
        Boxer, King Charles Spaniel, etc.) have breed
        associations that are very active and because most
        animal cardiology research to benefit humans is
        performed on canines.

        As far as prognosis, vets may be using their canine
        experience when they talk about feline DCM prognosis.
        For instance DCM in the Doberman has an extremely poor
        prognosis.


        Regarding the links section I have some favorites.
        Anything by Phil Fox, the Clark Atkins article on
        heart failure and VetGo cardiology Concepts which is
        searchable and laid out in a Q&A format.

        Susan



        __________________________________
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      • Karen
        My cat also was diagnosed with dilated HCM at age 14 after he threw a blood clot. He was rushed to emergency hospital and had echocardiogram on the heart. The
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 1, 2005
          My cat also was diagnosed with dilated HCM at age 14 after he threw a
          blood clot. He was rushed to emergency hospital and had
          echocardiogram on the heart. The vets said he had pretty late stage
          disease and only gave him a couple months to live based on his heart
          condition. He was on heparin injections every 8 hours (for first 3
          months until I discontinued it) which reduced the likelihood of
          another clot, although they said it was still extremely likely he
          would get another clot eventually which would be fatal (or require
          euthanasia). I immediately did a lot of research and when he came
          home a week later, I put him on a number of supplements which I
          believe helped him tremendously and enabled his next 15 months to be
          very high quality, happy ones. I figured it was worth a try to
          supplement, especially since they changed their prognosis from
          a "couple months" to "about a week" after it was apparent the
          circulation was not returning to his leg. Every situation is
          different. I would consult with a homeopathic vet who is knowledgable
          about feline nutrition and see what they recommend for your kitty,
          since he is still pretty young, and quite heavy, he may have
          different needs. (mine was only about 7 or 8 pounds) If you want to
          read more about the supplements I gave Ziggy please scroll down to
          last link on his website (Sept 2004). Best of luck with Starbucks,
          what a lovely name. I wish him many more years to come!

          Karen
          http://www.ziggycat.netfirms.com/




          --- In feline-heart@yahoogroups.com, "Diane" <dwilliam@e...> wrote:
          > Hello, I'm so glad I found you all! My cat Starbucks was diagnosed
          > Saturday with dilated cardiomyopathy. He is 8 years old, a neutered
          > male who I took in as a rescue along with his littermates when he
          was
          > about 3 weeks old. He weighs 22 pounds and is a large boned cat,
          not
          > fat; his littermates are as well and because they are rescues I
          don't
          > know their history, but they are big fluffy gorgeous cats and I've
          > been told they look like Maine Coon cats.
          >
          > He'd been very healthy but Thursday night I noticed him breathing
          > funny, like he was trying to throw up a hairball. Something seemed
          > funny though so I went over to him and his eyes were glassy and his
          > gums slightly pale. I called my vet and she told me to come right
          in.
          > An xray was done there which showed a lot of fluid in his chest
          > cavity. He was having a lot of trouble breathing so was given
          oxygen.
          > My vet suggested that he be transported to a good animal ER about
          45
          > min. away, where they had an ultrasound machine. They did a chest
          tap
          > there and removed a lot of fluid. One was done which showed fluid in
          > chest and lungs but the cardiologist was not there that evening so
          > they waited until Sat. to do an echocardiogram. The cardiologist
          > phoned me to say that the test showed a very enlarged heart and a
          > clear diagnosis, in his mind, of DCM. He said it was only the 2nd
          > case in cats he'd seen but he treats it in dogs frequently. He
          seemed
          > quite pessimsitic about Star's chances. I asked if he was suffering
          > and he said no, in fact Star had eaten a can of cat food and was
          > looking around at the other animals. That didn't sound like he was
          on
          > 'death's door' so I said I wanted to try any treatments suggested,
          and
          > not to put him to sleep. The vet agreed but warned about the risk
          of
          > sudden death and embolism.
          >
          > Yesterday he was still stable and had not required another chest tap
          > so was released when I asked to bring him home. He's being given
          > Lasix, Digoxin and Enalapril, plus I was told to supplement with
          > taurine. I know the link between taurine deficiency and DCM, but
          Star
          > has always been fed good commercial food (for past 3 years the Nutro
          > Natural Cat, previously it was Iams.) However, I have done a lot of
          > reading in the past 24 hours online and it sounds like some studies
          > showed an inexplicable reason why some cats don't absorb or process
          > the taurine in food properly and still end up with a deficiency. I
          > started the medications and taurine yesterday afternoon. Also, I
          gave
          > him the homeopathic Calc. Fluor, which was recommended because it
          can
          > help weak and stretched tissue incld. the heart. I have no idea if
          it
          > will work, but I have some belief in homeopathy and thought it
          > wouldn't hurt. This morning he seemed better to me, his breathing
          was
          > much less labored. Part may be because he's home and less
          stressed?
          > He has eaten 4 times today, not a lot each time, about 2
          tablespoons
          > each time of Science Diet canned, but he followed me into the
          kitchen
          > and meowed at the fridge each time. I'm taking this as a good
          sign.
          >
          > I am probably talking too much but I don't know what is important!
          > He's urinating copiously, I guess because of the Lasix? He is also
          > drinking a lot. I'm worried about the Lasix because I would assume
          it
          > can cause electrolyte imbalance but nothing was said about that. I
          > did give him 3 teaspoons of Pedialyte a few times today, but was
          > nervous. Also, I've read a lot about giving baby aspirin to help
          with
          > risk of blood clot but the er vet didn't tell me to do it. Should I
          > anyway? I will be seeing my regular vet Tues morning; she is going
          to
          > do a blood test to check for his taurine plasma levels, as requested
          > by the cardiologist. (because of Memorial Day weekend labs were
          > closed and the sample had to be kept iced, so he decided it would be
          > better to start Star on the taurine supplement now and do the sample
          > Tuesday, thinking that it would not be enough time to make a huge
          > change in his plasma levels. Does anyone know if that sounds
          right?)
          >
          > I feel that something is helping, and while he obviously isn't 100%
          he
          > just doesn't seem like he's at anywhere near the end. My husband
          came
          > home this evening and commented how much better he looks.
          >
          > I'm going to the Files and Links sections now to read, since I am
          sure
          > some of my questions are answered in there. However, if anyone has
          > any advice or thoughts, especially about the aspirin, I'd love the
          > help. Thank you very much, and I will send prayers to any of you
          > whose little buddies are suffering with heart problems too. Diane
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