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My Baby Rio

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  • fireflyeternal
    Hi all! My name is Jill and I am a new member. My 15 1/2 yr old male cat Rio has been diagnosed with CHF. We noticed that his belly was a bit distended last
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 31, 2007
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      Hi all! My name is Jill and I am a new member. My 15 1/2 yr old male
      cat Rio has been diagnosed with CHF. We noticed that his belly was a
      bit distended last week and took him in. All tests came back good...
      kidney, white blood cell count, liver (a little bit elevated but not
      much) thyroid...etc.. However he has an enlarged heart, rapid pulse
      and is retaining a lot of fluid.

      He is on Atenolol and Lasik. He was urinating and drinking a lot at
      first (normal on Ladik I guess) but is not as much now. Maybe dose
      is too small? Getting the fluid retention down would go a long way
      to making him more comfortable. Of course its only been 3 1/2 days
      on the lasik and five on the atenolol. His heart rate has come down
      from 200 to 150 at last check.

      I am so relieved to find this place. I am grieved that others have
      to deal with this issue but relieved to find there is support out
      there.(imagine before the internet-- much harder and probably
      impossible to find) Finding this out had been heartbreaking, scary
      and confusing. I have never dealt with this issue before and my head
      is spinning. When we brought Rio in-- the vet said he was a very
      fragile cat and we could lose him. How scary is that? He has been my
      baby for so long and I love him with all my heart. My husband and I
      have no children, so our 4 leggeds are our babies. (We also have a
      11 yr old female cat and a 7 yr old female dog)

      So many uncertainties... I have accepted as much as I can that we
      may not have him for much longer-- being an older cat in an advanced
      state of the problem. I'm scared of losing him, scared of the
      financial cost (though we have what we need, we are living paycheck
      to paycheck) scared I may have to make the decision to let him go.
      I'm scared if I have to make that decision-- about how I will handle
      it and if I will have the strength.

      The vet said he can have a decent quality of life with treatment--
      so that is what we are going for now. Other then the VERY
      uncomfortable fluid retention-- hes doing as well as can be
      expected. He gets around, eats (though not as much as he used to--
      he does try to still take food off my plate though!) drinks, uses
      the litter box (hasn't moved his bowels as much as I feel he should)
      and goes up and down 2 flights of steps.

      He is a stubborn boy.I have food, litter box and water both upstairs
      and down but he insists on eating upstairs and litter box
      downstairs. Water he drinks at both places, but mostly downstairs.
      He sleeps both up and down and shows interest in the birds outside.
      Its hard to check his heart rate, because every time we try, he
      starts to purr and I can't find the heart beat under the purrs!!

      I even bought him some pet steps to help him get onto a chair and
      onto the table for his food-- with his belly retaining so much water-
      - its been a bit more difficult for him to jump. But nope... won't
      use it. However.. our other cat Shelby, who doesn't need it-- is on
      them steps everytime she goes up or down, like they're her own
      personal stairmaster!

      I apologize for this being so long... it just feels good to get it
      out with people who have dealt with this and are dealing with this.
      Its very scary for me. Thanks all for taking the time. Jill
    • Leah Ferron
      Hello Jill, Welcome to you and Rio. I am sorry to hear about Rio s condition but glad that you found us. I, too, have kitties for children so I understand
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 31, 2007
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        Hello Jill,

        Welcome to you and Rio. I am sorry to hear about Rio's condition but glad that you found us. I, too, have kitties for children so I understand loving them as my own.

        We all know how hard it is after diagnosis. We often are told the worst from our vets and read more bad stuff online. Don't let this all get you down. First, it is good that Rio is still getting around OK and eating well. Heart kitties often want to stop eating so we like hearing that he is eating. Sometimes the meds can slow the kitty down at first but it doesn't sound like the atenolol is doing anything like that to Rio so that is another positive.

        It sounds like you may not have seen a vet cardiologist. Are you seeing a regular vet or internal med vet? Did Rio get an echocardiogram? I ask this because you say that Rio was diagnosed with CHF. CHF is a complication of his real daignosis which is probably cardiomyopathy of some type. There are 3 types of cardiomyopathy, HCM, DCM and RCM. each is treated a little different so it is best to figure out which one it is. That is only done for certain by echo. Having an echo isn't always available in some areas and there is usually a fee that some people can't afford. So, we do the best we can when we have to and if your vet thinks pretty certainly that Rio has cardiomyopathy, you can just do what you did by starting a common medication route. There is some information in our files section for ways to help pay for pet expenses for those that need it. You should check this section out.

        I am concerned about the fluid retention. He may need more lasix or something to supplement it like spironolactone (spiro). Sometimes when the fluid is being retained in the belly or outside the lungs, spiro is best for getting to that fluid. Lasix is best for getting the fluid out of the lungs. Spiro is usually given in conjunction with lasix not alone. Some vets don't know that spiro has duiretic properties so you will probably need to ask your vet about it. But first, you may want to try calling the vet and asking to increase the lasix dosage. I don't know what dosage Rio is on with lasix but it is usually given at smaller doses at first until the right dosage is found. Please call and talk with your vet asap about increasing the lasix and possibly adding the spiro. If it gets too bad, you may want to consider asking about having it drained by a vet that has experience in this. This is done by way of needle. It is a relatively safe procedure and pretty effective.

        We also suggest giving supplements to Rio like CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and some others. If you need more information on supplements, please email me. Supplements are something that your vet probably won't tell you about but we think is essential to helping our heart kitties and giving them a little edge in this battle. A good quality canned diet will help too.

        Be sure to ask us any question that you may have even if it isn't heart related because it often is. If you can't get to a cardiologist or internal med vet, I must warn you that a lot of regular vets know very little about heart disease. We will try to help you as much as we can but a more knowledgeable vet is best. We are glad that you two are here.

        Leah and her cats and Angel Alec





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      • Sara
        Hi Jill Welcome to the group, glad you found us. I dont have much experiance when it comes to fluid retention and Lasik but it sounds like you are doing all
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 2, 2007
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          Hi Jill

          Welcome to the group, glad you found us. I dont have much experiance when it comes to fluid retention and Lasik but it sounds like you are doing all the right things. However I do know about dealing with this. Your vet was right it is possible to live comfortably with this with treatment. There is also heart support supplements some of us give if you are interested - I'm a firm believer in the power of the holistic approach in addition to traditional - CoQ10, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Omega 3 fish oil, Vitamin E are just a few that I give daily.

          I know what you are feeling, my guys are my "babies" too, and having an elderly pet and all the uncertainties, the "decision". I have a 15 yr old bichon with kidney and liver failure, who (knock on wood) is doing fairly well right now on his treatments. Each time he stops eating, I never know if its just another bump in the road or the beginning of his eventual decline, which is scary. My 5 yr old HCM kitty Toby is asymptomatic now, but I know that too can change on a dime. I could be spending every moment wondering how bad this day will be, or worrying about "when", (Which I did do for a LONG time in the beginning, which I very much regret now) so years of dealing with all of this has taught me some things -

          - Its pointless to worry about the future, worrying is wasted energy. We are living in the present.
          - Enjoy each day you guys have together, all that energy should be put into making each day the best it can be.
          - Learning helps me cope. The more I know about these diseases, the better equiped I am at battling them!
          - When that day does come, (and no worrying about it till it does) there should be no question on whether you will be strong enough to handle it. Life must go on, our furbabies wouldnt want us to fall to pieces over their death. The last thing they would want is for us to be sad too long because of them, when they devoted their entire lives to giving us companionship, love, and happiness. They'd want us to honor them by remembering all the good times, and how happy they made us.

          I know its alot easier said than done (I've totally been there!), but positive thinking is very powerful.


          ----- Original Message ----
          From: fireflyeternal <codyandjillfield@...>
          To: feline-heart@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2007 12:33:19 PM
          Subject: [FH] My Baby Rio


          Hi all! My name is Jill and I am a new member. My 15 1/2 yr old male
          cat Rio has been diagnosed with CHF. We noticed that his belly was a
          bit distended last week and took him in. All tests came back good...
          kidney, white blood cell count, liver (a little bit elevated but not
          much) thyroid...etc.. However he has an enlarged heart, rapid pulse
          and is retaining a lot of fluid.

          He is on Atenolol and Lasik. He was urinating and drinking a lot at
          first (normal on Ladik I guess) but is not as much now. Maybe dose
          is too small? Getting the fluid retention down would go a long way
          to making him more comfortable. Of course its only been 3 1/2 days
          on the lasik and five on the atenolol. His heart rate has come down
          from 200 to 150 at last check.

          I am so relieved to find this place. I am grieved that others have
          to deal with this issue but relieved to find there is support out
          there.(imagine before the internet-- much harder and probably
          impossible to find) Finding this out had been heartbreaking, scary
          and confusing. I have never dealt with this issue before and my head
          is spinning. When we brought Rio in-- the vet said he was a very
          fragile cat and we could lose him. How scary is that? He has been my
          baby for so long and I love him with all my heart. My husband and I
          have no children, so our 4 leggeds are our babies. (We also have a
          11 yr old female cat and a 7 yr old female dog)

          So many uncertainties... I have accepted as much as I can that we
          may not have him for much longer-- being an older cat in an advanced
          state of the problem. I'm scared of losing him, scared of the
          financial cost (though we have what we need, we are living paycheck
          to paycheck) scared I may have to make the decision to let him go.
          I'm scared if I have to make that decision-- about how I will handle
          it and if I will have the strength.

          The vet said he can have a decent quality of life with treatment--
          so that is what we are going for now. Other then the VERY
          uncomfortable fluid retention-- hes doing as well as can be
          expected. He gets around, eats (though not as much as he used to--
          he does try to still take food off my plate though!) drinks, uses
          the litter box (hasn't moved his bowels as much as I feel he should)
          and goes up and down 2 flights of steps.

          He is a stubborn boy.I have food, litter box and water both upstairs
          and down but he insists on eating upstairs and litter box
          downstairs. Water he drinks at both places, but mostly downstairs.
          He sleeps both up and down and shows interest in the birds outside.
          Its hard to check his heart rate, because every time we try, he
          starts to purr and I can't find the heart beat under the purrs!!

          I even bought him some pet steps to help him get onto a chair and
          onto the table for his food-- with his belly retaining so much water-
          - its been a bit more difficult for him to jump. But nope... won't
          use it. However.. our other cat Shelby, who doesn't need it-- is on
          them steps everytime she goes up or down, like they're her own
          personal stairmaster!

          I apologize for this being so long... it just feels good to get it
          out with people who have dealt with this and are dealing with this.
          Its very scary for me. Thanks all for taking the time. Jill



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        • Leah Ferron
          This was meant for the group. fireflyeternal wrote: Thanks to all for the e-mail replies. I really appreciate it! Jill and
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 2, 2007
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            This was meant for the group.

            fireflyeternal <codyandjillfield@...> wrote: Thanks to all for the e-mail replies. I really appreciate it! Jill
            and Rio.




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