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Re: [FH] Hi. My cat Pearl diagnosed with Mitral insuffiency

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  • lclarizia@aol.com
    Hi Karen and Pearl, Welcome to the list, though I m sorry you had to join us! We all know the overwhelmed feeling. The first days and weeks are the worst,
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 28, 2005
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      Hi Karen and Pearl,

      Welcome to the list, though I'm sorry you had to join us!

      We all know the "overwhelmed" feeling. The first days and weeks are the
      worst, but you do get to a point where you can cope. This list is a great
      resource because whatever you come up against, chances are someone else here has
      experienced it.

      Regarding Pearl's diagnosis -- mitral valve insufficiency can occur on its
      own or as part of another condition, such as cardiomyopathy. Did either vet say
      anything about this? MVI alone can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF)
      with the fluid in the lungs, etc. but the best thing you can do for Pearl right
      now (or, after she's had a few days to calm down) is to get an accurate
      diagnosis.

      Her diarrhea might be caused by stress, but could also be caused by the meds,
      as could her lethargy. The heart meds and pred. can be rough on the kitty at
      first, though most adjust. Did your vet mention why he used prednisone? I
      ask because generally it's contraindicated in heart kitties -- it's often used
      to treat asthma, and it seems like some vets just use it for any old breathing
      problem -- although if it's for something else, steroids can be used safely,
      if care is taken.

      Speaking of heart meds, it usually is okay to crush them. My kitty, Baby
      Boy, also takes lasix and enalapril (along with another diuretic, spironolactone)
      and I crush them.

      As far as the months/years thing goes ... the survival statistics you hear
      and read about are often pretty dismal. There is no denying that feline heart
      disease is very serious and often difficult to treat. But, one thing to keep
      in mind is that different things affect the outcome. Caring for a cat with
      heart disease is tough, requires a lot of committment on the part of the owner,
      and compliance with meds and keeping a close eye on the cat go a long way to
      improving their general condition. Not everyone is able to do this. Many of us
      on this list use alternative therapies as part of our cats' treatments --
      vitamin supplements, homeopathic remedies, accupuncture, Reiki, etc. and have had
      good results with them. My kitty has end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy, I've
      been using various supplements on him (especially coenzyme q10, which I highly
      recommend) and he's doing quite well, considering.

      As to what to watch for -- watch how Pearl breaths, how fast she breaths and
      the "quality" of her breaths, i.e. hard, shallow. There is a big range of
      "normal" for the number of breaths per minute (16-40, generally, slower when
      sleeping, faster when awake) but some cats always breath faster/slower than that
      and are okay. The most important thing is to be alert for any major changes --
      i.e. if Pearl always breaths around 36 breaths per minute and suddenly goes
      up to fifty and stays there, she might be having difficulty. You'll want to
      watch her diet, see how she eats, keep and eye on her weight and in general,
      just keep a close eye on her.

      I know it's overwhelming now, but there's lots you can do to help Pearl.
      This list is a good place to learn about that. Welcome again, and I hope this
      helps though it's kind of general.

      Lisa



      In a message dated 6/28/2005 8:44:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
      kchuplis@... writes:


      > Hi there. Feeling a bit overwhelmed. Pearl (8 y.o.) has always had what I
      > consider
      >
      > wierd vomiting issues and an occassional cough. We never pursued this
      > agressively,
      > although she was xrayed two years ago to see if there was a possible stomach
      > or
      > intestinal issue. We discovered arthriis in one knee but nothing else.
      >
      > Sunday, her coughing was awful. Where as in the past she coughed maybe once
      > a
      > week and maybe not for several weeks (that I know of - I am gone 8 hours a
      > day) this
      > was every two hours. I finally took her to an emergency vet. I wondered
      > about asthma
      > and that is what that vet thought. I took her xrays to my regular vet who
      > looked at
      > them and disagreed with the emergency vet. She thought the heart looked
      > enlarged.
      > The cardio vet happened to be coming that after noon, so I brought her in.
      > End of
      > long story, he found a leaky valve. He says "not real bad" but you could see
      > it. The
      > prednisone the emergency vet put her on is being continued (she hasn't
      > coughed
      > since that first dose), and my vet had me pick up meds today. She is
      > currently on the
      > predinisone and just tonight I gave her her first doses of lasix and
      > enalapril. 1/2 lasix
      > and 1 enalipril. In a week we go to 1/4 lasix. We are weeding the pred down
      > to
      > eventually 1/2 tab everyday. She needs to lose about 4 lbs. too. The cardio
      > vet
      > recommended SD g/d (which I gave her a bit of the canned today and that
      > seems fine
      > with her but the dry she throws up.) Sooo. Poor girl has diarhea today. From
      > stress of
      > going to vets for two days? I don't know. She *does* ocassionally get it.
      > I'm thinking
      > of trying to take away all dry food, though that is tough because that is
      > all my other
      > cat will eat.
      >
      > She is pretty lethargic since I gave her the meds, but I can tell she is
      > uncomfortable
      > from the diarehha. She's not an active cat to begin with and never has been.
      > I've had
      > her 3 years since she was 6. BTW, her heart in the xray from two years ago
      > looked
      > fine. This seems to have progressed slowly over the last two years.
      >
      > Feeling very overwhelmed and wonder what others experience is. It's wierd
      > because I
      > am most nervous about giving her the heart meds. Vet said I could crush up
      > all three
      > and mix in food, which is what I did.
      >
      > Is there anything I should look for? She has never presented panting. She
      > was
      > wheezing after the coughing barrage on Sunday, but you could really only
      > hear it
      > through a stethoscope.
      >
      > While he said this didn't look bad, he said "I've seen cats live months if
      > not years with
      > this". Ugh. MONTHS?
      >
      > I need to get her blood tested to see if thyroid caused this, but we all
      > agreed that
      > could wait until next week since she is SO stressed about going the vet. I
      > sure hope
      > she does not have a thyroid problem. I just can't see adding another med!!!
      >
      > Anyhow, any advice or observations are appreciated.
      >
      > Thank you.
      >
      > Karen


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

      - Anatole France


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Karen
      ... All he spoke of was the MVI. We will get a blood test later. Though I just hate thinking of her stress levels. I know she is better than some cats, but
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 28, 2005
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        on 6/28/05 9:16 PM, lclarizia@... at lclarizia@... wrote:

        > Hi Karen and Pearl,
        >
        > Welcome to the list, though I'm sorry you had to join us!
        >
        > We all know the "overwhelmed" feeling. The first days and weeks are the
        > worst, but you do get to a point where you can cope. This list is a great
        > resource because whatever you come up against, chances are someone else here
        > has
        > experienced it.
        >
        > Regarding Pearl's diagnosis -- mitral valve insufficiency can occur on its
        > own or as part of another condition, such as cardiomyopathy. Did either vet
        > say
        > anything about this? MVI alone can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF)
        > with the fluid in the lungs, etc. but the best thing you can do for Pearl
        > right
        > now (or, after she's had a few days to calm down) is to get an accurate
        > diagnosis.

        All he spoke of was the MVI. We will get a blood test later. Though I just
        hate thinking of her stress levels. I know she is better than some cats,
        but she is definitely the worst one I've had. They did mention the thyroid
        and so we will have to test for it. I sure hope it isn't just because it
        seems like too many meds!!!
        >
        > Her diarrhea might be caused by stress, but could also be caused by the meds,
        > as could her lethargy. The heart meds and pred. can be rough on the kitty at
        > first, though most adjust. Did your vet mention why he used prednisone? I
        > ask because generally it's contraindicated in heart kitties -- it's often used
        > to treat asthma, and it seems like some vets just use it for any old breathing
        > problem -- although if it's for something else, steroids can be used safely,
        > if care is taken.

        I took her to the emergency vet (who did not think the heart looked
        enlarged) on SUnday and because they thought the cough was asthma, started
        her on pred. It certainly did end the coughing. So, because we started we
        have to wean down. My vet thought we might keep her on it a while at a very
        low dose, but I am going to ask if we can try weaning her off and just see
        if the cough returns. If she has to lose weight, the pred is not going to
        help that!
        >
        > Speaking of heart meds, it usually is okay to crush them. My kitty, Baby
        > Boy, also takes lasix and enalapril (along with another diuretic,
        > spironolactone)
        > and I crush them.

        I found the most awesome pestle and mortor. Crushes them very fine with just
        a couple of grinds. Luckily, Pearl just eats the food with the meds mixed
        right in. I'm glad of that as she has an easy gag reflex. If she even smells
        something she doesn't like she will gag. If I give her laxatone she will
        gag!

        >
        > As far as the months/years thing goes ... the survival statistics you hear
        > and read about are often pretty dismal. There is no denying that feline heart
        > disease is very serious and often difficult to treat. But, one thing to keep
        > in mind is that different things affect the outcome. Caring for a cat with
        > heart disease is tough, requires a lot of committment on the part of the
        > owner,
        > and compliance with meds and keeping a close eye on the cat go a long way to
        > improving their general condition. Not everyone is able to do this. Many of
        > us
        > on this list use alternative therapies as part of our cats' treatments --
        > vitamin supplements, homeopathic remedies, accupuncture, Reiki, etc. and have
        > had
        > good results with them. My kitty has end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy, I've
        > been using various supplements on him (especially coenzyme q10, which I highly
        > recommend) and he's doing quite well, considering.

        The hardest thing is I don't know how "bad" this is or not. The cardio vet
        said that the leakage is not bad. He showed me on the echo and it bows back
        in just a little, but her heart looks a lot bigger to me than in the xray
        two years ago. I need to get more info I guess.

        > As to what to watch for -- watch how Pearl breaths, how fast she breaths and
        > the "quality" of her breaths, i.e. hard, shallow. There is a big range of
        > "normal" for the number of breaths per minute (16-40, generally, slower when
        > sleeping, faster when awake) but some cats always breath faster/slower than
        > that
        > and are okay.

        I wondered what is "normal". Her breathing has never really appeared
        abnormal to me. And her heart does not seem to "sound" bad. Both at a check
        up a couple of weeks ago and even at the emergency vet Sunday, both vets
        thought it sounded fine. Respiration was acceptable too.

        >The most important thing is to be alert for any major changes
        > --
        > i.e. if Pearl always breaths around 36 breaths per minute and suddenly goes
        > up to fifty and stays there, she might be having difficulty. You'll want to
        > watch her diet, see how she eats, keep and eye on her weight and in general,
        > just keep a close eye on her.
        >
        I would be VERY alarmed if she did not want to eat. Pearl *always* wants to
        eat. She is not grossly overweight, but she is overweight.

        > I know it's overwhelming now, but there's lots you can do to help Pearl.
        > This list is a good place to learn about that. Welcome again, and I hope this
        > helps though it's kind of general.

        Thank you. I guess I just wish I knew more. But I have more of an idea of
        what questions to ask.
      • Karen
        I was wondering what happened that first caused your cat to be diagnosed. With Pearl it was a sudden spate of coughing several times in one day. She has
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 28, 2005
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          I was wondering what happened that first caused your cat to be diagnosed.
          With Pearl it was a sudden spate of coughing several times in one day. She
          has ocassionally had coughing/gagging, but it often looked like trying to
          get a hairball up. However, that was once a week or less frequently. This
          was the same thing only many times in one day.
        • ireneboater
          My cat had a heart murmmer for a long time. Vet said nothing about it. One day, after leaving my cats for a few days on vacation with ppl looking in on them, I
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 28, 2005
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            My cat had a heart murmmer for a long time. Vet said nothing about
            it. One day, after leaving my cats for a few days on vacation with
            ppl looking in on them, I find Scratchy in the middle of the floor
            meowing and not moving his back legs. I rushed went to the vet and
            he said -- your cat has a clot in his leg. There was a long pause
            and he said nothing else. I said what can I do? they sent me to a
            specialty emergency vet where they told me he had only 30% chance of
            survival and 50% chance of reclotting. I remembered that in Nov he
            lost the use of his front leg but recovered (later to know it was a
            thrombosis just like this one). So I said, lets try it -- after a
            lot of crying. almost 6 months later, 2 saddle thrombosis, 2 front
            leg thrombosis, 1 night of blindness, and variety of other trial and
            error snafus, Scratchy is doing well.

            He's sitting next to me right now purring like a motorcycle! Upside
            down and as cute as can be. I'm lucky to have him and pay for longer
            days with him.

            I just wish I knew earlier so I could have slowed the progression
            down earlier too.

            Irene and Scratchy

            --- In feline-heart@yahoogroups.com, Karen <kchuplis@a...> wrote:
            > I was wondering what happened that first caused your cat to be
            diagnosed.
          • Karen
            ... Wow. He is doing really well if he has thrown that many clots!! Continued health to Scratchy.
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 28, 2005
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              on 6/28/05 10:40 PM, ireneboater at ireneboater@... wrote:

              > My cat had a heart murmmer for a long time. Vet said nothing about
              > it. One day, after leaving my cats for a few days on vacation with
              > ppl looking in on them, I find Scratchy in the middle of the floor
              > meowing and not moving his back legs. I rushed went to the vet and
              > he said -- your cat has a clot in his leg. There was a long pause
              > and he said nothing else. I said what can I do? they sent me to a
              > specialty emergency vet where they told me he had only 30% chance of
              > survival and 50% chance of reclotting. I remembered that in Nov he
              > lost the use of his front leg but recovered (later to know it was a
              > thrombosis just like this one). So I said, lets try it -- after a
              > lot of crying. almost 6 months later, 2 saddle thrombosis, 2 front
              > leg thrombosis, 1 night of blindness, and variety of other trial and
              > error snafus, Scratchy is doing well.
              >
              > He's sitting next to me right now purring like a motorcycle! Upside
              > down and as cute as can be. I'm lucky to have him and pay for longer
              > days with him.
              >
              > I just wish I knew earlier so I could have slowed the progression
              > down earlier too.
              >
              > Irene and Scratchy
              >

              >
              >
              Wow. He is doing really well if he has thrown that many clots!! Continued
              health to Scratchy.
            • Susan
              I had lost suddenly an 18 month old cat to as yet undiagnosed HCM that was in acute respiratory failure upon being admitted. Subsequently I had two equal age
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 29, 2005
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                I had lost suddenly an 18 month old cat to as yet
                undiagnosed HCM that was in acute respiratory failure
                upon being admitted. Subsequently I had two equal age
                unrelated kittens. A fat one and a little one. Rudy
                the little one was effected by heat and would run
                outside and suddenly lay down stretched out. A DVM
                dismissed my concerns calling him a Nervous Nellie. I
                made an appt. with an ACVIM vet without a referral, he
                heard a 2/5 systolic murmur, did an ultrasound and
                prescribed atenolol even though Rudy was borderline
                normal for LV thickening. This particular vet feels
                very strongly about treating asymptomatics with
                atenolol based on his clinical experience of having
                over 100 cats on atenolol. So for me it was very
                subtle exercise and heat tolerance. Had he not been an
                indoor/outdoor cat I don't think I would have noticed.

                Rudy was diagnosed at 19 months and is now 4 years
                old. He will have been on atenolol for 3 years this
                Sept. I am very pleased with atenolol as I feel like
                it has also had the added side benefit of having
                smoothed out his scaredycatness by blocking the
                chemical that speeds up heart rate.

                BTW the coughing symptom is more typical of dogs than
                cats.

                Susan
                --- Karen <kchuplis@...> wrote:

                > I was wondering what happened that first caused your
                > cat to be diagnosed.
                > With Pearl it was a sudden spate of coughing several
                > times in one day. She
                > has ocassionally had coughing/gagging, but it often
                > looked like trying to
                > get a hairball up. However, that was once a week or
                > less frequently. This
                > was the same thing only many times in one day.
                >
                >
                >

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              • Lance Trickey
                normal check up, heart murmur detected. an xray showed an outwardly normal heart 8 months later (now) enlarged heart , gallop rhythm, pulmonary edema ( which
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 29, 2005
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                  normal check up, heart murmur detected. an xray showed an outwardly
                  normal heart

                  8 months later (now) enlarged heart , gallop rhythm, pulmonary edema
                  ( which seems to be under control for now, thank god.)

                  He does have new behavior which scared the heck out me the first few
                  times.
                  He says "Hi!" if I enter a room that he's in. Imagine waking into a
                  dark room and your HCM cat crying intermittently from somewhere
                  unseen... Holy mackerel !! Nothing wrong, just saying Hi!

                  -Lance





                  On Jun 28, 2005, at 11:23 PM, Karen wrote:

                  > I was wondering what happened that first caused your cat to be
                  > diagnosed.
                  > With Pearl it was a sudden spate of coughing several times in one
                  > day. She
                  > has ocassionally had coughing/gagging, but it often looked like
                  > trying to
                  > get a hairball up. However, that was once a week or less
                  > frequently. This
                  > was the same thing only many times in one day.
                  >
                • Catherine Brinkman-Dantas
                  My cat went in for a teeth cleaning (all blood work done in advance). Three days later, he had a complete urinary blockage, and was hospitalized for three
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 29, 2005
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                    My cat went in for a teeth cleaning (all blood work done in advance). Three days later, he had a complete urinary blockage, and was hospitalized for three days. In a follow-up to the urinary tract issue, the doctor heard a heart murmur that wasn't there during the cleaning or the blockage. This all happened in the span of about 10 days.






                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • brinkett
                    We d noticed that Morag s respiration rate seemed higher than usual, but we were in the midst of a heat wave and figured it was the temperature. Luckily, she
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 30, 2005
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                      We'd noticed that Morag's respiration rate seemed higher than usual,
                      but we were in the midst of a heat wave and figured it was the
                      temperature. Luckily, she was due for her annual checkup a week
                      later. The vet heard an abnormal noise when she listened to Morag's
                      heart and said it was probably nothing, but suggested an ultrasound to
                      give us peace of mind.

                      Well, we didn't get it. What we got was a diagnosis of HCM, which was
                      modified to RCM a month later by the cardiologist. When the vet saw
                      the initial ultrasound, a chest X-ray was done, which showed that
                      Morag was stuffed with fluid. We were lucky -- if she hadn't been due
                      for her annual checkup, we probably would have had a crisis on our
                      hands a few weeks later.

                      Sarah.
                    • savionna@aol.com
                      Hi Karen, In a message dated 6/28/05 8:45:03 PM, kchuplis@alltel.net writes:
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jul 1, 2005
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                        Hi Karen,

                        In a message dated 6/28/05 8:45:03 PM, kchuplis@... writes:

                        << Hi there. Feeling a bit overwhelmed. Pearl (8 y.o.) has always had what I
                        consider

                        wierd vomiting issues >>

                        What does Pearl usually eat (brand, flavor, canned or dry)? Vomiting and
                        other digestive issues are always related to diet. What goes in the mouth has a
                        direct relationship with what goes on in the gut (and the rest of the body).

                        << Where as in the past she coughed maybe once a

                        week >>

                        There is also a possible connection to diet, which can contribute respiratory
                        issues. I'm not saying it's the primary factor, only a possibility.

                        << We are weeding the pred down to

                        eventually 1/2 tab everyday. >>

                        While pred and other corticosteroids can be life-saving, it's also important
                        to keep in mind that they carry long- and short-term risks.

                        << She needs to lose about 4 lbs. too. >>

                        Obesity is directly related to diet, usually a dry, high-carbohydrate diet,
                        which adds fat and bloat...both issues in heart disorders. Some links about the
                        relationship and about feline nutrition in general incl:

                        1. http://home.earthlink.net/~jacm2/id1.html
                        2. www.catinfo.org
                        3. www.maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm
                        4. http://rocquoone.com/diet_and_health.htm
                        5. www.homevet.com/petcare/feedingyourcat.html
                        6. www.drsfostersmith.com/general.cfm?siteid=0&gid=74&ref=2066&subref=AN

                        Cats will generally maintain the proper weight for their frame when fed the
                        proper amt of calories (generally 20-30 cal per lb of ideal body weight per
                        day, adjusted for the individual) from a high-quality, well-balanced,
                        low-carbohydrate, moisture-rich, meat-based diet.

                        The calorie content of many Rx and commercial products can be found here:
                        www.sugarcats.net/sites/jmpeerson.

                        << The cardio vet

                        recommended SD g/d >>

                        Why? Does the cat need restricted sodium? Does the vet believe that sodium
                        content needs to be balanced with the nutritional value of the whole product?

                        G/d canned contains 0.29% sodium. There are a number of canned commercial
                        brands, with considerably nutritional value, that contain less than or around the
                        same amt of sodium. Eg, PetGuard venison, rabbit, and turkey flavors contains
                        0.21%, 0.22%, and 0.26% respectively; Eagle Pack chicken contains 0.28%;
                        NutroMax Senior chicken and lamb contains 0.24%.

                        The sodium content of many Rx and commercial products can be found here:
                        http://webpages.charter.net/katkarma.

                        << (which I gave her a bit of the canned today and that seems fine

                        with her but the dry she throws up.) Sooo. Poor girl has diarhea today.>>

                        Not surprising. G/d canned contains: Water, turkey, pork liver, corn flour,
                        barley, powdered cellulose.

                        G/d dry contains: Brewers rice, corn gluten meal, pork fat, chicken
                        by-product meal, soybean mill run, pork protein isolate, chicken liver flavor, fish
                        meal...ethoxyquin.

                        If you would like an analysis of the ingredients, I would be happy to do so.
                        But just in general, with the exception of the turkey in the canned, the
                        ingredients provide poor-quality nutrition...and most of the ingredients pose the
                        risk of adverse reactions, incl digestive upset.

                        << From stress of

                        going to vets for two days? >>

                        Stress may be a contributing factor...or may be the tipping point. But my
                        suspicion is that it's related to the food in 2 ways: 1) the ingredients, which
                        are by and large not appropriate to cats and 2) the sudden change in diet,
                        which upsets the bacterial balance in the gut, which can lead to digestive
                        disturbance.

                        << I'm thinking

                        of trying to take away all dry food >>

                        That may be a very good idea, since dry food has little nutritional value for
                        cats and, for various reasons, puts the cats at risk for a variety of
                        health-related disorders in addition to digestive disorders, incl diabetes, obesity,
                        chronic urinary issues, "allergies," dental/gum disorders, and on and on.

                        << though that is tough because that is all my other

                        cat will eat. >>

                        Cats can become physiologically addicted to the ingredients in dry, some of
                        which are "allergenic." If desired, it is possible to transition cats, very
                        slowly, to a species-appropriate, meat-based diet with techniques that minimize
                        digestive upset and taste inhibitions.


                        << She is pretty lethargic since I gave her the meds, but I can tell she is
                        uncomfortable

                        from the diarehha. >>

                        Understandable. Diarrhea is irritating to the tissues and dehydrating. And it
                        indicates a problem with maintaining water balance in the gut. It may be
                        worthwhile to consider providing a small amt of nondairy mixed probiotics (eg UAS
                        Labs or Jarrow Pet-Dophilus) to help replenish beneficial gut bacteria and
                        also consider slippery elm bark, which helps soothe digestive tissues and
                        rebalance moisture.

                        << Feeling very overwhelmed >>

                        That's understandable. Caring for a cat with a health issue can be
                        frightening. But the cat is relying on you to help her lead a full life...and you can do
                        that.

                        << It's wierd because I

                        am most nervous about giving her the heart meds. Vet said I could crush up
                        all three

                        and mix in food, which is what I did. >>

                        If you'd like to brush up on pilling technique, there is a gentle one
                        illustrated here: www.marvistavet.com/html/pilling_a_cat.html. If a pill has a
                        pronounced taste (keeping in mind that cats experience taste diff. than we do), it
                        may diminish the cat's appetite when mixed in food, which is necessary for
                        health. If pilling is not feasible, it is possible to have meds compounded (by a
                        compounding pharmacy) in another form, such as liquid suspension, flavored
                        chew, or injectable.


                        << While he said this didn't look bad, he said "I've seen cats live months if
                        not years with

                        this". Ugh. MONTHS? >>

                        It is not possible to predict longevity for any animal. // Rosemary
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