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  • Jean W
    Hello group... My name is Jeannie and my furry love is Cricket, an 17 year old Maine Coon we adopted while stationed in Alaska. Need I say, she s very well
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 15, 2006
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      Hello group...

      My name is Jeannie and my furry love is Cricket, an 17
      year old Maine Coon we adopted while stationed in
      Alaska. Need I say, she's very well traveled,
      traveling cross country twice by car and many airplane
      trips, and deeply loved by all in the family.

      Our sweet Cricket has been diagnosed with an
      "moderately enlarged heart" that xrays show is resting
      against her sternum, a galloping heart beat, along
      with constipation. The reason for the vet visit was
      for a check up as she's not been acting herself
      lately. When we woke up yeterday, she had 2 little dry
      coughs and sounding like she was swallowing very hard,
      followed by raspy breaths, sounds I had never heard
      from her before. <Wondering now if that could be fluid
      in or around the lungs?> I was hoping that it was just
      perhaps a hairball or something of that nature, so the
      xray and info were a little of a shock. The vet was a
      vague about it all, so I am in search of more
      information. The vet only offered to send us to a
      cardiologist in another state, and drugs for the
      constipation, but nothing more... no additional
      information. She didn't tell us it was HCM, but it is
      my impression from reading on the internet that she
      was probably thinking this is what it is since she
      mentioned that Maine Coons are seen quite often to
      have this <whatever she was referring to but didn't
      mention>.

      My question would be for some of the signs that
      perhaps someone has experienced in their kitty that
      could help us to understand where our Cricket might be
      in all of this. "Moderate" heart enlargement, to me,
      sounded pretty awful. I am actually numb and scared
      for our girl after this news and wouldn't want her to
      suffer but not knowing what to expect. Being 17, I am
      wondering if medication will help her. When I asked
      the vet about it, she would only say that Cricket has
      lived a good long life, but she would be glad to refer
      me to the cardiologist. I was also looking into
      hyperthyroidism that can cause an enlarged heart. I
      would think that Cricket would have been diagnosed
      before now.

      Hopefully this didn't sound too garbled. Naturally
      still in shock over the news that I didn't expect. Any
      information would be greatly appreciated.

      Jeannie

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    • Susan
      Jeannie, You are right hyperT is a differential diagnosis and should be ruled out in any cat over age 6 as HCM is secondary to hyperT and treating hyperT can
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 15, 2006
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        Jeannie,

        You are right hyperT is a differential diagnosis and should be ruled out in any cat over age 6 as HCM is secondary to hyperT and treating hyperT can stop HCM progression.

        Your regular vet should be able to see fluid in the lungs with just an xray. Ask your vet if there is fluid and if there is request lasix, a diuretic and enalapril, an ACE-Inhibitor.

        While a cardiologist may be too far away you may have more luck finding an internist as there are many more of them and they are qualified to treat HCM as they will be able to ultrasound the heart. The enlarge silhouette your vet saw on xray is called cardiomegaly and may or may not be prsent in HCM.

        The ACVIM website has listings by state under Diplomates.

        Susan


        Jean W <jeannie3262001@...> wrote:
        Hello group...

        My name is Jeannie and my furry love is Cricket, an 17
        year old Maine Coon we adopted while stationed in
        Alaska. Need I say, she's very well traveled,
        traveling cross country twice by car and many airplane
        trips, and deeply loved by all in the family.

        Our sweet Cricket has been diagnosed with an
        "moderately enlarged heart" that xrays show is resting
        against her sternum, a galloping heart beat, along
        with constipation. The reason for the vet visit was
        for a check up as she's not been acting herself
        lately. When we woke up yeterday, she had 2 little dry
        coughs and sounding like she was swallowing very hard,
        followed by raspy breaths, sounds I had never heard
        from her before. in or around the lungs?> I was hoping that it was just
        perhaps a hairball or something of that nature, so the
        xray and info were a little of a shock. The vet was a
        vague about it all, so I am in search of more
        information. The vet only offered to send us to a
        cardiologist in another state, and drugs for the
        constipation, but nothing more... no additional
        information. She didn't tell us it was HCM, but it is
        my impression from reading on the internet that she
        was probably thinking this is what it is since she
        mentioned that Maine Coons are seen quite often to
        have this mention>.

        My question would be for some of the signs that
        perhaps someone has experienced in their kitty that
        could help us to understand where our Cricket might be
        in all of this. "Moderate" heart enlargement, to me,
        sounded pretty awful. I am actually numb and scared
        for our girl after this news and wouldn't want her to
        suffer but not knowing what to expect. Being 17, I am
        wondering if medication will help her. When I asked
        the vet about it, she would only say that Cricket has
        lived a good long life, but she would be glad to refer
        me to the cardiologist. I was also looking into
        hyperthyroidism that can cause an enlarged heart. I
        would think that Cricket would have been diagnosed
        before now.

        Hopefully this didn't sound too garbled. Naturally
        still in shock over the news that I didn't expect. Any
        information would be greatly appreciated.

        Jeannie


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      • Sue at MAGDRL
        Here are the links: Cardiologists: http://www.acvim.org/index.aspx?id=86 Internists: http://www.acvim.org/index.aspx?id=174 Sue ... From: Susan
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 15, 2006
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          Here are the links:

          Cardiologists: http://www.acvim.org/index.aspx?id=86

          Internists: http://www.acvim.org/index.aspx?id=174


          Sue


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Susan" <somnamblst@...>
          To: "Jean W" <jeannie3262001@...>; <feline-heart@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, July 15, 2006 2:55 PM
          Subject: Re: [FH] Newbie here...


          > Jeannie,
          >
          > You are right hyperT is a differential diagnosis and should be ruled out
          in any cat over age 6 as HCM is secondary to hyperT and treating hyperT can
          stop HCM progression.
          >
          > Your regular vet should be able to see fluid in the lungs with just an
          xray. Ask your vet if there is fluid and if there is request lasix, a
          diuretic and enalapril, an ACE-Inhibitor.
          >
          > While a cardiologist may be too far away you may have more luck finding
          an internist as there are many more of them and they are qualified to treat
          HCM as they will be able to ultrasound the heart. The enlarge silhouette
          your vet saw on xray is called cardiomegaly and may or may not be prsent in
          HCM.
          >
          > The ACVIM website has listings by state under Diplomates.
          >
          > Susan
          >
          >
        • Sue at MAGDRL
          Jean, Hello & welcome. Sorry to read about Cricket. I also have a Maine Coon and they are prone to have heart disease - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). If
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 15, 2006
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            Jean,

            Hello & welcome. Sorry to read about Cricket. I also have a Maine Coon and
            they are prone to have heart disease - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

            If it's not too far to go to the cardiologist, I would do that. Otherwise
            as Susan said, find a good board-certified internist (see links on my other
            note) and get an echocardiogram done and get medicine.

            I don't see why the medicine should be any less effective for a 17-year old
            as opposed to any other age.

            Most vets don't have much exposure to heart disease so that's probably why
            she's being vague.

            As you've read, HCM can be secondary to hyper-T, but it can also be an
            entitiy unto itself. It's best to rule out hyper-T.

            You should probably get her on medicine as soon as possible (see Susan's
            note). Otherwise, it really doesn't sound that bad. It's amazing how tough
            our cats can be.


            Sue


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Jean W" <jeannie3262001@...>
            To: <feline-heart@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, July 15, 2006 9:15 AM
            Subject: [FH] Newbie here...


            > Hello group...
            >
            > My name is Jeannie and my furry love is Cricket, an 17
            > year old Maine Coon we adopted while stationed in
            > Alaska. Need I say, she's very well traveled,
            > traveling cross country twice by car and many airplane
            > trips, and deeply loved by all in the family.
            >
            > Our sweet Cricket has been diagnosed with an
            > "moderately enlarged heart" that xrays show is resting
            > against her sternum, a galloping heart beat, along
            > with constipation. The reason for the vet visit was
            > for a check up as she's not been acting herself
            > lately. When we woke up yeterday, she had 2 little dry
            > coughs and sounding like she was swallowing very hard,
            > followed by raspy breaths, sounds I had never heard
            > from her before. <Wondering now if that could be fluid
            > in or around the lungs?> I was hoping that it was just
            > perhaps a hairball or something of that nature, so the
            > xray and info were a little of a shock. The vet was a
            > vague about it all, so I am in search of more
            > information. The vet only offered to send us to a
            > cardiologist in another state, and drugs for the
            > constipation, but nothing more... no additional
            > information. She didn't tell us it was HCM, but it is
            > my impression from reading on the internet that she
            > was probably thinking this is what it is since she
            > mentioned that Maine Coons are seen quite often to
            > have this <whatever she was referring to but didn't
            > mention>.
            >
            > My question would be for some of the signs that
            > perhaps someone has experienced in their kitty that
            > could help us to understand where our Cricket might be
            > in all of this. "Moderate" heart enlargement, to me,
            > sounded pretty awful. I am actually numb and scared
            > for our girl after this news and wouldn't want her to
            > suffer but not knowing what to expect. Being 17, I am
            > wondering if medication will help her. When I asked
            > the vet about it, she would only say that Cricket has
            > lived a good long life, but she would be glad to refer
            > me to the cardiologist. I was also looking into
            > hyperthyroidism that can cause an enlarged heart. I
            > would think that Cricket would have been diagnosed
            > before now.
            >
            > Hopefully this didn't sound too garbled. Naturally
            > still in shock over the news that I didn't expect. Any
            > information would be greatly appreciated.
            >
            > Jeannie
            >
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          • Leah Ferron
            Jeannie, Welcome to you and Cricket! I am glad you found us but sorry to hear of Cricket s condition. I saw that you have already gotten some good advice from
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 17, 2006
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              Jeannie,

              Welcome to you and Cricket! I am glad you found us but sorry to hear of Cricket's condition. I saw that you have already gotten some good advice from the group so I just wanted to welcome you two. I just wanted to chime in that sooner rather than later in seeing a cardio or IM vet is best. It sounds like Cricket really needs to be on meds as soon as possible! It sounds like Cricket may be retaining fluids and it is critical that the fluids be relieved and kept at bay.

              Welcome again and keep us informed of Cricket's progress!

              Leah and her cats and Angel Alec




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            • Craig
              Hello all. My animal companion, Theo, was diagnosed with a heart murmur on his annual checkup. We took him to the specialist and found that he has HCM. The
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 28, 2008
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                Hello all. My animal companion, Theo, was diagnosed with a heart
                murmur on his annual checkup. We took him to the specialist and
                found that he has HCM. The vet perscribed a medicine starting with
                a "d"...can't remember now and am at work so I don't have the bottle
                in front of me.

                Anyway, they caught the HCM early and his heart wall has thickened
                by barely.

                You all probably understand how painful this news was. Theo is an
                amazing cat...friendly, loving, smart.

                My question is...what is the longest an HCM diagnosed cat can live.
                I am praying for me to be together with him for a long time. He
                shows no sign of slowing down, he has an amazing appetite but is not
                over weight. He also is an inside only cat with little or no stress.

                Thanks for being here, ya'll. I'm scared but know that Theo will
                have a life of royalty no matter how long he lives.

                -Craig
                North Carolina
              • Lisa Clarizia
                Hi Craig, Welcome to the list, though I m sorry you had to join us! Theo sounds like a lucky boy :) Generally speaking, the earlier you catch it, the better
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 28, 2008
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                  Hi Craig,

                  Welcome to the list, though I'm sorry you had to join us! Theo sounds like a
                  lucky boy :)

                  Generally speaking, the earlier you catch it, the better chance you have at
                  controlling the disease. It's a lot harder to manage when the cat has
                  progressed from the "just a murmur" stage to "symptomatic," where the cat is
                  in congestive heart failure.

                  Because you caught it so early, and because there are minimal changes to
                  Theo's heart, you have an excellent chance at controlling the disease.
                  Clinical/anecdotal evidence suggests that asymptomatic cats who get regular
                  medication tend to develop the disease at a much slower rate than
                  non-medicated cats (is the medicine diltiazem?).

                  No one can ever accurately predict how long any of our cats will live -- one
                  common element of this stupid disease is that it's so variable. Plenty of
                  us were told our cats had "a few months" and went on to way outlive those
                  prognoses -- some are still with us and going strong. So, you never know.
                  With that caveat in mind, Theo has a very good chance, from what you've
                  described.

                  There are lots of other things you can do to help Theo stay healthy. Diet,
                  getting his meds on time, nutritional supplements -- all kinds of things.
                  Any questions, just ask away :)

                  Lisa


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Kristen Kinzer
                  Hi Craig, I m not an expert, but they way I understand it is some cats can live pretty much normal lifespans even with HCM. It all depends on the progression
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 28, 2008
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                    Hi Craig,

                    I'm not an expert, but they way I understand it is some cats can live pretty much normal lifespans even with HCM. It all depends on the progression of the disease. Hopefully Theo will be one of those cases. Just make sure to have him cared for by a qualified doctor, and make sure he gets his meds. I'm not sure what medicine you would be referring to, but I know lasix and enlapril are a couple that are used together to fight this disease.

                    Kristen

                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: Craig <nclotus@...>
                    To: feline-heart@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:09:29 PM
                    Subject: [FH] Newbie here...

                    Hello all. My animal companion, Theo, was diagnosed with a heart
                    murmur on his annual checkup. We took him to the specialist and
                    found that he has HCM. The vet perscribed a medicine starting with
                    a "d"...can't remember now and am at work so I don't have the bottle
                    in front of me.

                    Anyway, they caught the HCM early and his heart wall has thickened
                    by barely.

                    You all probably understand how painful this news was. Theo is an
                    amazing cat...friendly, loving, smart.

                    My question is...what is the longest an HCM diagnosed cat can live.
                    I am praying for me to be together with him for a long time. He
                    shows no sign of slowing down, he has an amazing appetite but is not
                    over weight. He also is an inside only cat with little or no stress.

                    Thanks for being here, ya'll. I'm scared but know that Theo will
                    have a life of royalty no matter how long he lives.

                    -Craig
                    North Carolina





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                  • jamander33
                    Hi Craig, I am a fellow North Carolinian. It is nice to know another one. I am so sorry about Theo. However, from my understanding too, with the proper care
                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 28, 2008
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                      Hi Craig, I am a fellow North Carolinian. It is nice to know another
                      one. I am so sorry about Theo. However, from my understanding too,
                      with the proper care and catcing early signs and the fact that you
                      caught the disease itself so early, Theo can live a good long life.
                      My cat, Griffin, was diagnosed very early as well. His disease has
                      barely progressed in a year. He was diagnosed Feb '07. I hold my
                      breath before every cardio appt, but have been able to breathe a
                      sigh of relief afterward so far. I hope Theo does well. Please share
                      any concerns and/or questions with us. This group has been my
                      absolute best support. I have learned an amazing amount. I feel so
                      much better about his disease having joined this group. Read, read,
                      read everything you can about it. I have so much more peace than I
                      did at 1st. Amanda and Griffin

                      > Hello all. My animal companion, Theo, was diagnosed with a heart
                      > murmur on his annual checkup. We took him to the specialist and
                      > found that he has HCM. The vet perscribed a medicine starting
                      with
                      > a "d"...can't remember now and am at work so I don't have the
                      bottle
                      > in front of me.
                      >
                      > Anyway, they caught the HCM early and his heart wall has thickened
                      > by barely.
                      >
                      > You all probably understand how painful this news was. Theo is an
                      > amazing cat...friendly, loving, smart.
                      >
                      > My question is...what is the longest an HCM diagnosed cat can
                      live.
                      > I am praying for me to be together with him for a long time. He
                      > shows no sign of slowing down, he has an amazing appetite but is
                      not
                      > over weight. He also is an inside only cat with little or no
                      stress.
                      >
                      > Thanks for being here, ya'll. I'm scared but know that Theo will
                      > have a life of royalty no matter how long he lives.
                      >
                      > -Craig
                      > North Carolina
                      >
                    • elfinmyst@aol.com
                      Hiya Craig I`m so sorry to hear of Theo, but I admire your courage and conviction in standing by him. Having a heart kittie is a rollercoaster of emotion, but
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 29, 2008
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                        Hiya Craig

                        I`m so sorry to hear of Theo, but I admire your courage and conviction in
                        standing by him. Having a heart kittie is a rollercoaster of emotion, but I
                        would say that each and every day is a true gift. I think these kitties choose
                        us! You must be very special.

                        Theo has been caught very early and that's a blessing. With the medicine,
                        HCM can be stabilised for many years and some cats have outlived their HCM.
                        There is no way to tell how HCM will progress, but the earlier it is caught, the
                        better the outcome. Since you are very aware of Theo and what is normal,
                        you'll also pick up on changes sooner as well, so keep an eye on his breathing
                        rate.

                        When mine were first diagnosed, I used to sneak down during the night to
                        'check' on them, and many an insulted kitten glared at me as I prodded them
                        'just to make sure' or waved around the stethoscope even though I had no clue
                        what I was listening for!. I was upset and angry sometimes as well. Now I don't
                        get up during the night and enjoy every day. They play, eat and give a lot of
                        joy. I know HCM is progressive, but try not to worry about that.

                        There are supplements too which Theo can take, and my cats are all
                        remarkably stable on them and their medicines.

                        Lyn :)

                        www.furkids-uk.com






                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Sharyl
                        Craig, I know it is a shocking dx but the good news is you know about Theo s condition before he went into CHF. I m not sure what med Theo is on but there is
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 29, 2008
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                          Craig, I know it is a shocking dx but the good news is you know about Theo's condition before he went into CHF. I'm not sure what med Theo is on but there is a lot you can do to help his heart. Most of us use CoQ10. My IM vet said it wouldn't hurt but also wouldn't help. This is the same vet that said my sweet Albert, severe periodontal disease, advanced CRF, anemia, CHF and severe HCM, only had days/weeks to live. After joining this board I added several supplements to his daily treatment plan including CoQ10, taurine, L-Carnitine, and L-Arginine. He enjoyed another 1 1/2 yrs.

                          Sharyl Pequita and Angel Albert

                          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Hello all. My animal companion, Theo, was diagnosed with a heart
                          murmur on his annual checkup. We took him to the specialist and
                          found that he has HCM. The vet perscribed a medicine starting with
                          a "d"...can't remember now and am at work so I don't have the bottle
                          in front of me.

                          Anyway, they caught the HCM early and his heart wall has thickened
                          by barely.

                          You all probably understand how painful this news was. Theo is an
                          amazing cat...friendly, loving, smart.

                          My question is...what is the longest an HCM diagnosed cat can live.
                          I am praying for me to be together with him for a long time. He
                          shows no sign of slowing down, he has an amazing appetite but is not
                          over weight. He also is an inside only cat with little or no stress.

                          Thanks for being here, ya'll. I'm scared but know that Theo will
                          have a life of royalty no matter how long he lives.

                          -Craig
                          North Carolina


                          ---------------------------------
                          Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • dshale1
                          Craig, my vet has been a lot more optimistic about HCM then a lot of what you read online. He said quite a bit of it is outdated and treatment for heart
                          Message 12 of 12 , Mar 3, 2008
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                            Craig, my vet has been a lot more optimistic about HCM then a lot of
                            what you read online. He said quite a bit of it is outdated and
                            treatment for heart kitties is better now.

                            Our cat was diagnosed with very mild HCM (hardly any thickening and
                            just in one small spot, the rest of heart is normal) last May. She has
                            responded very well to atenolol. It sounds as though your cat was
                            prescribed diltiazem, which is another very commonly used treatment
                            for HCM--which to prescribe depends on the kind of HCM your cat has.

                            There was a small study which showed diltiazem can actually reverse
                            the thickening of the heart walls in some cases. Theo may be one of
                            the lucky ones.

                            According to my vet, the heart kitties in his practice who have done
                            well on medication often live a normal lifespan. At this point you
                            can't predict how the condition will progress but if he is stable at
                            the next check-up, you should relax because chances are Theo will be
                            with you a long time yet.
                            -Susan

                            --- In feline-heart@yahoogroups.com, "Craig" <nclotus@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hello all. My animal companion, Theo, was diagnosed with a heart
                            > murmur on his annual checkup. We took him to the specialist and
                            > found that he has HCM. The vet perscribed a medicine starting with
                            > a "d"...can't remember now and am at work so I don't have the bottle
                            > in front of me.
                            >
                            > Anyway, they caught the HCM early and his heart wall has thickened
                            > by barely.
                            >
                            > You all probably understand how painful this news was. Theo is an
                            > amazing cat...friendly, loving, smart.
                            >
                            > My question is...what is the longest an HCM diagnosed cat can live.
                            > I am praying for me to be together with him for a long time. He
                            > shows no sign of slowing down, he has an amazing appetite but is not
                            > over weight. He also is an inside only cat with little or no stress.
                            >
                            > Thanks for being here, ya'll. I'm scared but know that Theo will
                            > have a life of royalty no matter how long he lives.
                            >
                            > -Craig
                            > North Carolina
                            >
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