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New here - introduction and questions (long)

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  • Astrid Smits
    Hello everybody, I m Astrid and live in the Netherlands. I live w/my SO, our 14 cats and 4 cockatiels. We used to breed Scottish Folds and British Shorthairs.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2008
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      Hello everybody,

      I'm Astrid and live in the Netherlands. I live w/my SO, our 14 cats and 4 cockatiels. We used to breed Scottish Folds and British Shorthairs. Our group of cats exists of a large number of family members, only two cats are not directly related to each other.

      A week ago, we went to the vet because our Scottish Fold Cléo (9.5 years of age) had been losing weight earlier this year. She has been losing weight over the years, but would always gain it back. Not this time. And when we came back from vacation, I had a gut feeling and wanted her checked out, have bloodwork done since her mom, grandmom and brother died of kidney failure. She also seemed to be dehydrated.

      I told the vet about the weight loss, the runny and sometimes plugged up nose (watery though, no green mucus), and I told her I wanted bloodwork done and a check up. Cléo was indeed a little dehydrated, and it was hard to pull some blood. The vet wanted to sedate her, but when listening to her heart, she found a significant murmur.

      Fortunately a radiologist was present, and there was an opening three hours later for an ultrasound. Cléo was put on a low iv drip, and I went back later for the ultrasound and the results. Cléo has HCM. Not related to thyroid problems, since all bloodwork came out w/great results.

      She was put on three types of meds: atenolol, lasix, and fortekor. That Sunday, now a week ago, Cléo didn't feel that great and didn't really want to eat. We went to the vet (#2), and a chest x-ray was made. He expected some amount of fluids in her lungs (since Cléo got lasix), but it didn't show on the x-ray though. We had a bad experience w/fortekor 4 years ago when trying to treat Cléo's mom w/it when she had kidney failure. The vet thought that all the meds Cléo had at that point, might be a little too much, and pulled the fortekor. Cléo started to show some interest in food on Sunday night, but on Monday I didn't see her eat all that much and I started to notice she wasn't feeling well at all.

      Another call to the vet on Monday and I spoke to vet #3 (lucky us w/a multi-vet clinic :o( ). I told him I demanded some answers on the nose issue too. Since there wasn't an infection to be seen, he said to give tolfedine (pain killer, anti-inflammatory).

      Tuesday I started force feeding her. The vet (#2 again) told me to take her off all meds for now, to try to get her stabilized again. That didn't seem to do anything. We got food in her, but that was about it. Cléo seemed to be sliding away from us, and I just knew that it wasn't her heart causing problems. Since vet #1 (Friday) and vet #2 (Sunday) both didn't mention anything about her not eating enough and the plugged up/runny nose, I confronted #2 w/that too on Wednesday (he's the cat specialist), and told him I had a feeling this had something to do w/it. He started talking about a polyp in Cléo's nose, which I told him was BS.

      Like most of you probably know, a watery eye now and then and a runny nose is, a lot of times, something that can start after a vaccination (herpes related). A lot of times the cats just get over it, sometimes it'll grow out in more cold-like symptoms that need abx. If this was a polyp, Cléo's nose and that polyp must be - by now, 9 years after the first time she got it - as big as her tiny cute li'l hind. ;o) I told him that, since the tolfedine wasn't doing much, I'd like abx to be tried because we were running out of options. He didn't want to give any.

      Thursday it just didn't go any better and I called the vet early afternoon. I got a hold of one of the vet-techs, and told her about my frustrations, that nobody was seeming to take me serious and vets were not taking the time to hear me out. By 5 pm I got a call back from vet #3, taking the time, talking things through, and telling me that he'd start abx now that the tolfedine wasn't doing enough. We went to pick up the abx 30 minutes later, and A/D to start force feeding with. We had to give a double dose of the abx on Thursday night, started normal dosing on Friday morning and lo and behold, Friday later in the morning I saw Cléo was feeling a little better and perking up again. She even licked up some A/D from a plate. When Frank, my SO, got home after his work, he didn't believe his eyes.

      Saturday morning we saw her eating kibble while waiting for her food to be served. She ate kibble during the day, we kept serving A/D too, and Saturday night Cléo was interested again in playing w/her laser light.

      It's a long story, I know, but I wanted to share it so y'all know last week was a bad one. Not only due to the dx, but also the aftermath. You go into the clinic w/an eating cat, and walk out w/a non-eating cat dx'd w/HCM, get six nights w/out sleep, and the thoughts spooking you that 10 of our 14 cats might have HCM too (they all have the same father - he died of bronchitis 3.5 years ago - who's dad died this year due to a heart problem).

      We're gonna try to get Cléo up there again, let her gain some weight again, if possible. But then... what to do about the meds? My feeling tells me to take it slowly. Build up the dosage instead of giving the dosages the vet prescribed in the first place. Has anybody else experienced problems when getting your cat on the meds needed? And what was done about that? Any thoughts on it will be very much appreciated.

      Astrid

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