Re: [FH] Introduction and Leo's story
- In a message dated 6/3/2005 10:34:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
Hi Judith and Leo,
Welcome to the list, though I'm sorry you had to join us!
> The cardiologist prescribed 1/4 baby aspirin (about 20 mg.) twice aWell, first, I think you might want to look around for another cardiologist,
> week, and that's all. He was not very informative. He did cite a
> large study, saying that the average life expectancy with this
> diagnosis is about a year. I want to beat those odds.
if possible. You are going to need a good working relationship with all Leo's
vets, and part of that will be veterinarians who are able to communicate with
you. What you need is information and if this cardiologist can't give it,
you might want to find someone else. Also, depending on the state of Leo's
heart, aspirin alone is very probably not enough. He may need diuretics, he may
need ACE-inhibitors, he may need a lot of things ... and I'm pretty sure that
given the state of his heart, aspirin alone isn't enough. In any event, you
need someone who will explain why or why not Leo is or isn't getting specific
That being said -- regarding beating the odds -- while no one can ever
predict what will happen for any given cat, there most certainly are plenty of
things you can do to help Leo feel good and mitigate the disease.
> I'm giving Leo CoQ10--30 to 60 mg. per day. I would like to knowTaurine -- between 125-500 mg per day. As for other supplements -- I have a
> recommended dosages of Taurine and other amino acids, and any other
> supplements that would be good for him right now.
whole laundry list. My kitty, Baby Boy, has DCM and is on a boatload of
The three I recommend as being the most helpful/critical are coenzyme q10
(60-200 mg daily), taurine (125-500 mg daily) and L-carnitine (125-500 mg daily),
the amount being determined by how well the cat does/tolerates. If you can
give nothing else, I recommend these three.
Cardiomyopathies, while primarily affecting the heart are actually systemic
disorders because all systems are ultimately affected by it. Thus, supplements
should be chosen to address these issues (to name a few):
- Heart function
The pathology is different for each type of cardiomyopathy, but the basic
issue in each comes down to this -- you have bad heart cells and good heart
cells. The good heart cells have to work considerably harder to compensate for the
bad heart cells. Anything which increases the available energy to those good
heart cells and/or protects them from further damage is possibly going to be
I don't want to get too technical, but you are looking for anything which
will play into/assist oxidative phosphorylation/electron transport chain where
most of the cell's ATP (energy) comes from. Coenzyme Q10, for instance, is a
key player in oxidative phosphorylation/electron transport so supplementing
theoretically increases the cells capacity to make ATP, and it's also an
anti-oxidant which protects the cells from free radical damage. Other anti-oxidants
are also helpful because curiously, the more metabolically active the cell is
the more chance you have of forming free radicals.
- Avoiding/preventing cachexia
Cachexia (wasting) is a big problem in heart kitties. The failing heart and
CHF cause a metabolic derrangement through several mechanisms, with the end
result being that the body starts to catabolize muscle for food, despite the
ingestion of an adequate diet. In my opinion -- and remember, I'm not a vet --
this is one reason why even the world's most balanced cat diet isn't enough for
a cat with symptomatic heart disease. Their bodies aren't processing fuel in
the way a healthy cat does.
Staving off cachexia goes a long way towards helping the kitty feel good and
be able to live a fairly normal life. B vitamins, particularly B1 (thiamine)
are very effective in countering this, as are omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)
and coenzyme q10.
- Immune system
Aside from protecting kitty from having to deal with other illness on top of
a heart condition, a healthy immune system will also prevent further damage to
those good heart cells.
Especially important if the cat's on diuretics. Constant diuresis is
sometimes necessary in CHF cats but it's rough on the kidneys. L-arginine, an amino
acid, is reported to help improve kidney functions. Some of use also use
'natural' diuretics like dandelion extract to promote diuresis either alone or
with synthetic diuretics. My cat has had huge problems with CHF, he gets two
synthetic diuretics (spironolactone and lasix) but I also give him dandelion and
L-arginine, which seem to help him in that we haven't had to increase the dose
of his synthetic diuretics over time.
To support general health. Creatine monophosphate is good for this. Also,
you'll want to feed your kitty a high-quality diet to maximize his absorption
- Blood clotting
There are a couple of different options here. Synthetically, you can give
aspirin, heparins like fragmin, plavix ... which I will address below.
Nutraceutically, Vitamin E and L-arginine decrease clotting, and nattokinase is
supposed to attack forming clots by digesting their fibrin matrix. My kitty used to
get fragmin, but he started having injection-site reactions so now he's on
vitamin E, arginine and nattokinase.
Baby Boy gets a homemade supplement mix consisting of about 10 ingredients,
which he gets twice a day. If you'd like, I can send you the recipe.
> I read Ziggy's story and saw that you think Hawthorn is not a goodHawthorn should definitely be avoided!
> idea. Thank you for that information--I had been considering
> Hawthorn. I know you did everything possible for Ziggy and gave him
> the best possible quality of life. Thank you so much for passing along
> everything you have learned.
> I would like to substitute something for the aspirin, if I could findVitamin E is the best fat-soluble vitamin for preventing clotting. Fish oil
> information on whether fish oil has similar anticoagulant action, or
> whether something else would be better. My vet, the surgeon, and the
> cardiologist have been no help at all on supplements. I had a consult
> with a homeopath, and got two remedies for Leo, but even the homeopath
> was pretty ignorant about supplements.
tends to be rich in this, but it depends some on which brand you use.
> I've read about nattokinase, which also sounds good, but I don't wantThat was probably me. I have to run an errand in about five minutes so can't
> to give Leo too many anticoagulants. I'd love to give him the best
> one, though. Someone wrote here recently that they didn't think
> aspirin did anything--I'd like to know more about that.
get into too much detail right now, BUT ... I don't like aspirin because it's
pretty toxic to cats, knocks out the inflammatory cascade pretty high up
which interferes with normal immune functioning, and has not been shown to be
especially useful in preventing clots in heart kitties. Some cats are more
susceptible than others, and aspirin does little to help them because it doesn't
address the factors which result in those cats being so susceptible to clots. I
have some papers I'll share later.
Nattokinase doesn't prevent clotting, it digests existing clots by attacking
the fibrin matrix. Unless a cat is taking whopping amounts of it, it won't
interfere with normal clotting in the case of accident or injury. You obviously
don't want to give a cat so many anticoagulants/clots busters it turns into a
hemophiliac so caution is necessary.
>Freezing, no, heat, yes. Freezing does nothing to amino acids, so far as I
> Question: What destroys Taurine? Long-term freezing? Cooking? I
> know it's added to canned foods, but I'm wondering if frozen food needs
> to have Taurine added.
know but heat denatures them.
> Question: Should I find out more details about Leo's condition? What IAbsolutely yes, find out *all* you can! How often he's checked depends on
> know seems vague. Should he be rechecked by the cardiologist at some
how bad he is, how well he does with car trips/vets, and finances. Baby Boy
hasn't been for a while -- not because of car trips or the vet (loves both) or
finances, but because he's been okay and I figure I'd better not jinx it.
> I'm very glad to be here--everyone seems to know a lot about kittiesThis place is a GREAT resource! Again, welcome, and if you have any
> and their hearts. I hope to learn from you all, and help Leo be as
> strong and happy as he can be. I suppose his heart was scarred when he
> was back on the street, emaciated. I'm glad he's had a good time for
> most of his sweet, gentle life.
questions, feel free to ask!
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
- Anatole France
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