Re: New here-hope my story will help those w/cats with heart failure
- Hi Buddy's mom!
Our story is very similar in that our Mellie had a stroke last year which was first dx as seizure, but the vet did hear a heart murmur and recommended we take her to another local vet for an echo which we did. The dx following the echo was that she had advanced HCM and with that problem, plus the seizure dx, we were told to put her down. I called her regular vet (who had not been in the office the day of her seizure/stroke) and he also advised putting her down. I started joining the various yahoo groups and learned of this group plus one for feline epilepsy and someone then told me of specialists within a 3hr drive from us. Mellie saw a cardiologist there 3 wks later. The cardio dx was totally different! Mellie had had a stroke (not a seizure at all) caused by too fast a heart rate (so fast she was getting inadequate blood flow to her organs, thus the stroke and also crf). Almost 18 months later and she's doing well.
Mellie's sister, Tootsie, now sees the cardiologist also as we learned she has extremely high blood pressure at 240/182. The vet they'd seen all their lives had never checked her blood pressure. We recently started seeing a cats only group following Mellie's stroke, but they'd not checked Tootsie's bp either. Toots was punk so I asked for bloodwork but it was fine (her creatinine was high normal which is unusual for a cat dx with crf in 2002), her urinalysis showed no sign of infection and her usg was good, so I then asked for bp check as that was the only thing I could think of and vets had no suggestions. We were floored to find her bp so high. Toots was seen by the cardiologist within 2 days - her bp was indeed that high and she also has a severe arrhythmia and now takes meds for both.
I have learned that if I suspect one has a real problem then we get them to a specialist. I don't know if the vet schools are not as good as they used to be, or if we as pet owners are becoming more demanding of quality care and better advocates for our pets... I know I no longer take their word for something and do my own research and ask questions.
Yes, we live and learn.
carol and the girls
--- In email@example.com, "mykaelie" <mykaelie@...> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I am here to share my story, in hopes of helping others. If I had listened to my regular vet, my 17 year old cat would be dead. Luckily she referred me to a specialist because we refused to heed her bad advice. We paid $600 for her "referral." I was angry that she charged us at all, since she was giving him IV fluids. That is the WORST thing you can do for a cat with heart failure. But her referral saved his life, so I am trying to look at it in a more positive way. Anyway, I have found that many "regular" vets don't have the knowledge or experience to deal with such serious issues.
> Buddy began acting like he was freezing all of the time. I thought it was because he had just had a haircut. He would stay under the covers all day and all night. Then he suddenly developed some sort of "cold" or something. He stopped eating. He had a runny nose and sneezed blood. We took him to our regular vet and she put him on IV fluids and antibiotics, convinced he had something wrong with his nose. He didn't improve. My husband took him back to the vet and they gave him more fluids. Then he called me and said they wanted to keep him all weekend. Only, I KNEW no one would be around to monitor him (the office is closed on weekends) so I refused to keep him there. The vet then gave us the number of a cardiologist for pets. And thank god she did. Apparently our regular vet's actions were dangerously harmful for a cat with Buddy's condition.
> Our cardiologist "tapped" his chest over the course of two visits, pulling out the unbelievable amount of fluid that he had retained, which was crushing his lungs and other organs and making it difficult for him to breathe. She put him on a temporarily high dose of diuretic (furosemide) and an ACE inhibitor (benazepril 2.5 mg). Then we tapered his diuretic dose down to 6.25 mg per day. Her actions saved his life. I thought it was my last weekend with him and I was sobbing uncontrollably. The top two chambers of his heart were enlarged. At his last visit, two months ago, one chamber had actually gone back down to normal. He has energy and acts as he did several years ago. The am SO grateful to this specialist.
> Since Buddy made a miracle recovery, the specialist was ready to do anything to keep him going on this path. Once he was stabilized she instructed us to give him a baby aspirin every three days to prevent a stroke (no sign of clots on the ultrasound) just to be safe. She was super diligent and really cared. Yes, it was expensive (over $2000) but I would do anything for him. We had to apply for Care Credit to pay the vet bills, which will take us a while to pay off. He's a part of my family. I am forever grateful for the extra time we have been given with Buddy. It's been four months since we almost lost him. I don't know how much longer he will be with us but so far, so good!