help! Does this sound like HCM to you?
- Hi all,
I have an older kitty (age unknown, she's a stray I found 5 months
ago)...has CRF but it's well controlled. Has been recently diagnosed
with hyperaldosteronism. Has high blood pressure, that was
originally attributed to the CRF. She takes Norvasc 0.625mg daily
for this....BP's are roughly 140/95-100
Over the past week, she's been extremely weak, moreso that I've ever
seen her. She does have a problem with low potassium (is on
supplementation for this) but this to me, doesn't seem like THAT kind
It seems to take a lot of energy for her to get in and out of the
litterbox. Lately, as soon as she pees in there, she'll climb out
and just lie down on the floor...doesn't even seem to have the
strength to get back up on the bed. There have been times I've found
her actually lying in the litterbox.
From the start, she's always had cool ears, and her body temp has
always been on the lowish side (100 F). Ears are only warm when
she's on her heating pad or covered with a comforter..otherwise, her
ears cool off quickly.
Several (useless) Vets have listened to her heart...told me that it
sounds fine...no murmurs..and because there is no murmur, that
automatically means her heart is fine (say what?)
Twice over the past week, while she's been lying on her heating pad
(it's wrapped in two thick towels, and it's on the same setting that
it's always on), I noticed her breathing was rapid...between 80 and
100 respirations/minute (normal in a cat is about 20-45). It wasn't
laboured, I didn't hear any wheezing, or fluid (I'm a nurse). This
past weekend when this first happened, her heart rate was its usual
180 beats/min. I then took her off the heating pad and within about
45 minutes, her breathing returned to about 40/min.
Now this evening, this episode happened again...only this time her
heart rate was down to about 120..which for her, is very low.
(though I guess that's not too low for cats in general?). Her
breathing was about 100 min.....irregular...very shallow....and the
movement when breathing was more around her lower back area as
opposed to her chest/abdomen area. Sometimes her respirations would
be quite pronounced..then 3 breaths later, they'd be so shallow that
it was hard to see them. I didn't hear any wheezes or crackles. Her
heart rate was regular.
Again, I took her off the heating pad and this time it took about 30
minutes for breathing to return to normal.
She was pretty much sleeping through these episodes, except when I'd
wake her up putting the stethoscope underneath her.
I don't know how many times I've voiced concerns about her lethargy
(that comes and goes but this time it's the worst I've seen).....they
brush me right off. I even spoke on the phone yesterday with a Vet
Internal Med Specialist who's the one who did her abdominal
ultrasound a few weeks ago (he's the best in the city).....I asked
him about the possibility of her having Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy,
and that even though she doesn't apparently have a murmur, from what
I've read, not all cats with HCM HAVE one. I explained about her
lethargy, weakness, not wanting to walk more than a foot without
lying down on the floor.....the cold ears, low body temp, etc. He
didn't seem interested...just said that maybe her blood pressure is
low. HELLO? She has routine BP checks...and it's never been low,
never even been CLOSE to being low. And with hyperaldosteronism, if
anything, her BP would likely be high (though for now the Norvasc is
My gut tells me that this is heart related, and my gut has usually
been right on the money. The soonest I could get her scheduled for a
cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) is next Tuesday. Geezus, don't
these people realize that if it IS HCM, it could lead to heart
failure and clots and death? It scares me to wait that long but they
are "all booked up" (and they don't give a rat's patoot)
For all of you who have much experience w/ feline heart problems,
does this not sound like cardiac problems to you? This is a cat who
4 weeks ago, couldn't wait to get back up onto the bed after using
the litterbox...now she'll just lie on the floor beside it after
peeing..and would lie there on the carpet for hours if I didn't pick
her up and put her back on the bed. It's breaking my heart.
Sorry this is so long, I am just very frustrated. We've both been
through a lot over the past 5 months (and $6500 worth of Vet bills,
if you can believe it).....tomorrow she's to start on a
diuretic/aldosterone-inhibitor medication named Spironolactone...for
her hyperaldosteronism......now how that might effect the heart if
she DOES have a heart problem, I'm not sure.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Oh...just one other thing...if she really did have heart problems,
wouldn't you expect that her breathing would be rapid most of the
time?..or could it have been that there are increasing problems with
the heart and the heat from the heating pad is now contributing to
Thanks in advance,
Lisa - Calgary, Alberta, Canada