Re: [FH] Supplements for my new HCM kitty
- Hi Lisa and Buffington (love that name),
Welcome to the list, though I'm sorry you had to join us!
Unfortunately, the reaction of the vet who gave you the results is all too
common, and not the most helpful.
While HCM and other cardiomyopathies are generally not curable (except in
very limited instances, such as HCM caused by hyperthyroid) the miserable
survival statistics are often based on outdated information and limited
studies and are not gospel. It's serious, it's incurable, don't get me
wrong, but there *are* things you can do to help Buffy. My cat, Baby Boy,
has end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy and has outlived his original prognosis
of "a couple months" by about ten months.
Generally speaking, the outlook for asymptomatic cats who are receiving
prophylatic meds (like atenolol) is a lot brighter than it is for
symptomatic kitties. There's no way to predict what will happen, but it
seems as though catching it early and treating it can help slow the
progression in many cats. In fact, there are several people on this list in
that situation who I'm sure will share their stories.
Murmurs are graded on a scale from 1-6, so a 2/6 murmur, while serious,
certainly isn't the worst you could have. If the atenolol works, you might
even see the murmur downgraded or disappear. When you next see your vet
you'll want to get a copy of the ultrasound report or get the measurements
generated from it. When you know Buffy's heart measurements you'll have a
better idea of what stage she's at.
As for supplements -- my first bit of advice is to stay away from anything
with hawthorne products in it. Hawthorne has a direct effect on heart
rhythm, and can cause a fatal arrythmia if administed improperly, and is
especially dangerous when given to a cat with a compromised heart. It's
supposed to "strengthen" the heart muscle and cause it to contract more
forcefully *but* when the heart muscle is damaged it can just cause it to go
into an arrythmic spasm and it's likely going to interfere with the
My recommendation for all heart kitties -- and I'm not a vet, just a
biochemist and a biochemist with a heart-kitty -- is a combination of
coenzyme q10, taurine and L-carnitine. This triad, IMO, forms the base of
any supplement regimen. There are other things you can give, but in general,
you want to tailor the regiment to the cat's specific situation. Buffy is
asymptomatic, presumably eating and playing and doing okay. Therefore, you
wouldn't need to add things like B vitamins to stimulate the appetite. You
can add more as the situation warrants, but until that happens you're better
off trying to support her general health by making dietary changes (high
quality, meat-based foods), giving her filtered water etc.
Coenzyme q10, taurine and carnitine are all safe and non-toxic when given in
a reasonable dose (anything will kill you if you take enough of it). My
recommendation is to start with 30 mg of q10 and 250 mg each of taurine and
carnitine. They come in various forms, I recommend getting oil-based capsule
for the q10 (it needs fat for absorption), piercing the capsule and
squeezing out the contents in his food. The taurine and carnitine come in
tablet and liquid forms (from places like GNC or the Vitamin Shoppe). The
tablets are generally HUGE -- you can crush them up and hide them in his
food. It won't hurt Bailey if she eats some of it.
Start slow, and see how he does. Most kitties do fine, but any new food or
additive has the potential to upset a kitty's stomach (they're fussy like
that) so add one supplement at a time and make sure he's tolerating it well.
Omega-3 oils can help prevent clots, as can vitamin E, though I'd suggest
using the omega-3's at this stage. Again, pierce and empty on the food.
Nattokinase is an enzyme which is supposed to help prevent the formation of
clots, I give my kitty 50 mg of that 2X per day.
I hope this information helps -- I know others will have more suggestions.
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- Hi Lisa,
In a message dated 8/29/05 4:42:27 PM, heightseeker_98@... writes:
<< My Buffy is a 2 yr old DSH. I took him
for routine vaccs at the clinic 2 weekends ago >>
Did you know that the only vaccination mandated by state/local law in the US
is rabies? And that cats with chronic health disorders can be exempted from
rabies vax, as well. All other vax are optional...and it is currently thought,
incl by mainstream organizations eg the American Veterinary Medical
Association, that annual revax is not only unncessary but potentially harmful. If
interested, some sources of information about the issue incl:
1. www.avma.org/policies/vaccination.htm (AVMA vax policy)
2. www.AVMA.org/vafstf (AVMA feline sarcoma task force)
3. www.catcaresociety.org/shots.htm (Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XI)
http://svmweb.vetmed.wisc.edu/VetWeb/DesktopModules/ViewAnnouncement.aspx?ItemID=39&mid=164 (Dr. Ronald Schultz, immunologist and chair of the Dept of
Pathobiology at the Univ of Wisc School of Vet Med)
5. www.geocities.com/~kremersark/newhope.html (Sylvia's Journey of New Hope)
<< he was far more pessimistic about the
I'm sorry you were treated that way. There is a difference between being
pessimistic and realistic...and caregivers can chose to put their energy into
helping the cat lead as healthy, full, and comfortable a life as possible, to the
extent of their and the cat's ability, regardless how "pessimistic" the
outcome may have been painted.
<< I've heard that Omega-3 oils will help prevent
clots forming >>
It's possible they do, at least in humans. But nutrients work quite
differently than synthetic medications...particularly in that they work individually to
the body. Essential fatty acids, incl the Omega 3s, have various potential
effects...and it's not possible to say definitely whether they prevent clots in
cats in general or will do that in an individual cat specifically. It's also
important to keep in mind that all nutrients, but esp essential fatty acids,
work in balance. Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids compete for the same enzymes,
so an "excess" of one means a "deficit" of the other. I can provide links on
EFAs if you're interested.
<< Hawthorn Berry might be helpful with blood
pressure and murmurs. >>
Again, hawthorn (and I assume you mean the plant, not the homeopathic remedy)
has various potential effects on the body, depending on the individual...and
b/c it is tricky to use, it is best to have the cat evaluated by a vet with
strong experience in botanical medicine. For a directory of holistic and
integrative vets, see www.ahvma.org/referral/index.html.
<< What else should I be looking at? >>
The first thing to look at...if you haven't done this already...is a
high-quality, species-appropriate diet, which supports the entire body and minimizes
risk of adverse reactions that could affect the heart. Links below. There was
recently a thread on supplements, so it may be worthwhile reading thru the site
archives for basic information.
<< I obviously
don't want to overmedicate if he's feeling ok but I'll do everything
I can to keep him well. >>
Terrific attitude!!! He's in good hands.
Some generally reliable inforation on feline nutrition incl: