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16 week old kitten w/ possible heart condition

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  • lorieawhite
    Hello - New here and glad to have found this group. A lot of scary stress with our baby Barney. A week after we brought our kitten Barney to the vet for 1st
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 3, 2008
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      Hello - New here and glad to have found this group. A lot of scary
      stress with our baby Barney.

      A week after we brought our kitten Barney to the vet for 1st series
      of vaccinations (at 8 weeks old). That week with no warning, his
      breathing became raspy and he was lethargic, wouldn't eat or drink or
      go potty w/o help. He recovered within 24 hours. We brought him to
      vet who diagnosed him with a heart murmer and prescribed Clavamox for
      congestions and crinkly sound we heard as he inhaled (could hear with
      ear up against his body). His breathing also seemed strained-shallow
      and faster than before. After being on Clavomox for a month, his
      breathing didn't improve (still heard crinkly paper and saw it took
      more work for him to breathe). One night after giving Clavomox he
      started open mouthed breathing but it didn't last long. Brought him
      to vet who suggested he might have a cardiac disease and would need
      ultrasounds and x-rays. We brought him home and he started having
      episodes that were awful and three times we thought "this is it". He
      was breathing open mouthed, tongue sticking out, white bluish gums
      and tongue, he would walk and collapse and pant on his side. A few
      time would look like he was hacking up a hairball, foam coming out of
      his mouth. We think the three episodes we saw were each triggered
      by: climbing the stairs, playing with another cat, chasing a toy.
      Between these episodes he eats, drinks water, is alert and appears
      fine.

      Our angst is whether to drive almost 1 1/2 hours away to get an
      ultraound done (no one near us has equipment to fit kitten, except
      Cornell U. which charges $600+. The place further away is 1/2 the
      price. At this point our vet gave us a very poor prognosis. Said he
      had a very small chance of having asthma and more than likely had a
      heart condition. Our hope would be to get the ultrasound and get
      meds for palliative care since it sounds like there is no cure.
      We're afraid the car ride would stress him out too much and he could
      die on the way.

      Should we risk getting him to the ultrasound? Or just try to make him
      comfortable in our own way? When he's had these attacks my husband
      and I have both been talking to him, stroking his head, trying to
      keep him calm which I think helps but I don't know. This is awful.
      We both break down crying thinking he's not going to make it. I hate
      thinking he is scared and in pain. We are having a baby soon and
      can't afford much more than the ultrasound that would at least
      hopefully tell us exactly what he has and hopefully give us meds to
      make him more at ease.

      Thanks.
    • elfinmyst@aol.com
      Hi I am so sorry to hear of Barney s problems. I also had kittens diagnosed at a young age, one with HCM and the other with a large hole in her heart. Both had
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 4, 2008
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        Hi

        I am so sorry to hear of Barney's problems. I also had kittens diagnosed at
        a young age, one with HCM and the other with a large hole in her heart. Both
        had murmurs and breathing problems like you describe. The only way to find out
        is a cardiac ultrasound.

        However, kittens can also get murmurs called innocent kitten murmurs, but
        these are grade 1-2 and get better as the kitten grows. This doesn't sound the
        case here, especially with other symptoms. I am concerned by the lung sounds
        which would be coronary heart failure or some sort of pneumonia infection or
        asthma. If he has an infection which raised his temperature, then he might
        also have a heart murmur as a reaction to this, but again this would be a low
        grade.

        What grade is Barney's heart murmur?

        I'm not a vet and only a specialist can diagnose Barney properly. The
        ultrasound is invaluable for heart problems. Does Barney have a bluish tinge to his
        mouth? If Barney has heart failure, then he needs to be on diuretics
        immediately to clear his lungs, and the hacking (cardiac cough) would also clear up
        somewhat as well. But if he has pneumonia, then the treatment would be
        different.

        Another puzzle is his recovery between these episodes. I did have a cat once
        allergic to handwash and he collapsed and had a fit every time until we
        removed it. There are so many possibilities, and I think I`d want to see a
        specialist.


        I think the only way to find out is to have the ultrasound. Please keep us
        informed.

        Lyn



        www.furkids-uk.com






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Pat
        ... Yes, definitely!! You need the ultrasound for a proper diagnosis, and it gives you a better chance of providing the best care you can. We took Pepper
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 4, 2008
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          Hi "lorieawhite":

          ----- Original Message ----- >
          > Posted by: "lorieawhite" lorieawhite@... lorieawhite
          > Should we risk getting him to the ultrasound?

          Yes, definitely!! You need the ultrasound for a proper diagnosis, and it
          gives you a better chance of providing the best care you can. We took
          Pepper into our home at about the same age, and the moment we had him we
          complained to the vet that he had diarrhea. We went through the same
          treatments you mentioned, but it wasn't until a second vet had checked him,
          and ordered the ultrasound, that a heart condition was confirmed.

          With the hole in his heart, Pepper has a constant issue with diarrhea as he
          has fluid spilling into his digestive tract. We are having to give him Pro
          Pectalin to control that, and aside from the normal Fortekor and now Lasix
          that he has been taking, he is an energetic enthusiastic young fellow, (now
          7 months old), that doesn't show any signs of having a hole that is too big
          for him to survive surgery.

          There are a couple of very big differences between what you are describing
          and what we are dealing with, and the first is the diarrhea you haven't
          mentioned. The second is that Pepper is still very active and seems to love
          to tear around the house getting a very quick 'runners' high' from the lack
          of oxygen to his brain. He will stop and 'suck wind' for a short period and
          then take off again. What you are describing sounds so much more like our
          asthmatic cat who needs to be on periactin to reduce the raspy noises you
          are describing. Pepper doesn't have those.

          When you have the right diagnosis, you can treat appropriately. This is
          something that gets repeated with every cat ailment we run across in our
          home.

          Pat and all the boys.
          http://pat-fearlessfosdick.blogspot.com/
        • goldengirlgene
          There s an excellent cardiology practice near Albany, NY. Dr. Joel Edwards and Dr. Aaron Wey (sp.?). I don t know where you re located, but Dr. Edwards also
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 4, 2008
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            There's an excellent cardiology practice near Albany, NY. Dr. Joel
            Edwards and Dr. Aaron Wey (sp.?). I don't know where you're located,
            but Dr. Edwards also visits other vet practices in the area, including
            Western Massachusetts.

            Sorry to hear about your kitten. It's important to get an accurate
            diagnosis. If you want more information, let me know.

            Best wishes, Marcia
          • rainycat@comcast.net
            Did your reg vet at least take xrays? I m not familiar w/kittens with heart issues, but if their was fluid in his lungs this would show on xray & at least you
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 5, 2008
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              Did your reg vet at least take xrays? I'm not familiar w/kittens with heart issues, but if their was fluid in his lungs this would show on xray & at least you could start tx that to stabalize him until you can get an ultrasound done, if his heart was enlarged this may show on the xray too. It doesn't sound like the clavamox is doing anything (this is an antibiotic) perhaps this was prescribed if they think it is pneumonia. Hopefully somone on the board has more experience w/kittens with this. So sorry to hear that you & Barney are experiencing this..

              --

              rainy
              -------------- Original message --------------
              From: "lorieawhite" <lorieawhite@...>
              Hello - New here and glad to have found this group. A lot of scary
              stress with our baby Barney.

              A week after we brought our kitten Barney to the vet for 1st series
              of vaccinations (at 8 weeks old). That week with no warning, his
              breathing became raspy and he was lethargic, wouldn't eat or drink or
              go potty w/o help. He recovered within 24 hours. We brought him to
              vet who diagnosed him with a heart murmer and prescribed Clavamox for
              congestions and crinkly sound we heard as he inhaled (could hear with
              ear up against his body). His breathing also seemed strained-shallow
              and faster than before. After being on Clavomox for a month, his
              breathing didn't improve (still heard crinkly paper and saw it took
              more work for him to breathe). One night after giving Clavomox he
              started open mouthed breathing but it didn't last long. Brought him
              to vet who suggested he might have a cardiac disease and would need
              ultrasounds and x-rays. We brought him home and he started having
              episodes that were awful and three times we thought "this is it". He
              was breathing open mouthed, tongue sticking out, white bluish gums
              and tongue, he would walk and collapse and pant on his side. A few
              time would look like he was hacking up a hairball, foam coming out of
              his mouth. We think the three episodes we saw were each triggered
              by: climbing the stairs, playing with another cat, chasing a toy.
              Between these episodes he eats, drinks water, is alert and appears
              fine.

              Our angst is whether to drive almost 1 1/2 hours away to get an
              ultraound done (no one near us has equipment to fit kitten, except
              Cornell U. which charges $600+. The place further away is 1/2 the
              price. At this point our vet gave us a very poor prognosis. Said he
              had a very small chance of having asthma and more than likely had a
              heart condition. Our hope would be to get the ultrasound and get
              meds for palliative care since it sounds like there is no cure.
              We're afraid the car ride would stress him out too much and he could
              die on the way.

              Should we risk getting him to the ultrasound? Or just try to make him
              comfortable in our own way? When he's had these attacks my husband
              and I have both been talking to him, stroking his head, trying to
              keep him calm which I think helps but I don't know. This is awful.
              We both break down crying thinking he's not going to make it. I hate
              thinking he is scared and in pain. We are having a baby soon and
              can't afford much more than the ultrasound that would at least
              hopefully tell us exactly what he has and hopefully give us meds to
              make him more at ease.

              Thanks.




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • elfinmyst@aol.com
              It sounds as if Barney needs to see an emergency vet today from his condition. I would be very concerned about pneumonia as well. He needs a definite
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 6, 2008
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                It sounds as if Barney needs to see an emergency vet today from his
                condition. I would be very concerned about pneumonia as well. He needs a definite
                diagnosis and definitely that fluid needs to come off his lungs. That could be a
                drain.

                I`m so sorry to hear Barney is worse. Please see a vet today and I`m
                thinking of you. I also had 16 wk heart kittens, but none were in heart failure at
                diagnosis.

                Lyn

                www.furkids-uk.com






                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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