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Re: [FH] Introduction and Leo's story

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  • lclarizia@aol.com
    In a message dated 6/3/2005 10:34:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time, howdeeeyall@aol.com writes: Hi Judith and Leo, Welcome to the list, though I m sorry you had to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 4, 2005
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      In a message dated 6/3/2005 10:34:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
      howdeeeyall@... writes:
      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 a
      > 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.
      >

      Well, first, I think you might want to look around for another cardiologist,
      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
      meds.

      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 know
      > recommended dosages of Taurine and other amino acids, and any other
      > supplements that would be good for him right now.
      >

      Taurine -- between 125-500 mg per day. As for other supplements -- I have a
      whole laundry list. My kitty, Baby Boy, has DCM and is on a boatload of
      supplements.

      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
      beneficial.

      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.

      - Renal

      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.

      - Musculoskeletal

      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
      of calories/nutrients.

      - 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 good
      > 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.
      >

      Hawthorn should definitely be avoided!

      > I would like to substitute something for the aspirin, if I could find
      > 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.
      >

      Vitamin E is the best fat-soluble vitamin for preventing clotting. Fish oil
      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 want
      > 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.
      >

      That was probably me. I have to run an errand in about five minutes so can't
      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.

      >
      > 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.
      >

      Freezing, no, heat, yes. Freezing does nothing to amino acids, so far as I
      know but heat denatures them.

      > Question: Should I find out more details about Leo's condition? What I
      > know seems vague. Should he be rechecked by the cardiologist at some
      > interval?
      >

      Absolutely yes, find out *all* you can! How often he's checked depends on
      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 kitties
      > 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.

      This place is a GREAT resource! Again, welcome, and if you have any
      questions, feel free to ask!

      Lisa

      "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

      - Anatole France


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