Re: [FH] Hello All Blackies Dad here with heart condition.
- I have to apologize for all the spelling errors in my original note below. My computer is dying and the key that I hit isn't always the one that appears on the screen!
I am rewriting this note as general information to post in the Yahoo group as an introduction.
(BTW - it's Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy)
----- Original Message -----
From: Judi Levens
To: susan@... ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; bestprintpricing@...
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 2:24 PM
Subject: RE: [FH] Hello All Blackies Dad here with heart condition.
Thank you Sue for a good synopsis of what should be expected with heart disease...maybe you should publish this elsewhere on the site where they store important info...it would be good to use with any new member who is trying to understand heart disease and what to expect and do for their kitties. Judi and Max
To: email@example.com; bestprintpricing@...
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 11:58:02 -0400
Subject: Re: [FH] Hello All Blackies Dad here with heart condition.
Hi and welcome to the group.
This is how many of us came to know that our cats had heart disease. My
girl actually had asthma so when she went into CHF (Congestive Heart
Failure) everyone thought it was another asthma attack.
It's good that Blackie is under a vet's care. If you can, get a referral to
a veterinary cardiologist. It does make a difference as they are trained to
see the nuances between the three different types of heart disease and know
exactely which meds to prescribe. The most common type is HCM (Hydrotrophic
Cariomyopathy). The other two type of cardiomyopathy are dialated (DCM) and
When anyone has heart disease, it causes an imbalance in fluid pressure
between the right and left sides of the heart. The body compensates by
allowing some fluid to leak out of the vascular (blood) system. That fluid
can leak out into either the lungs or chest cavity. It can build up and
cause pressure on the heart and/or lungs, making it difficult to breathe and
difficult for the heart to function properly. When that happens, it's
called Congestive Heart Failure or CHF. CHF is actually a symptom of heart
Lasix is a diuretic and the action of a diuretic is to help the body remove
that excess fluid. We often see the generic furosemide used also.
In addition to a diuretic, Blackie should be on an ACE-inhibitor (e.g.
enalapril) and/or a Beta-blocker (e.g. atenolol) to help the heart function
better with the uneven fluid pressure. This is where it's good to have a
cardiologist to make those decisions.
Once Blackie is stabilized, he will have to adjust to his medications.
Since they all lower blood pressure, he may appear a bit lethargic or
"woozy" for a couple days. That's normal. It's also normal for him to need
a few adjustments to his dosage over the next few weeks / months.
Once he's stabilized, it will be a good time to study Blackie to learn
what's normal for him so you can recognize the onset of another episode of
CHF before it gets bad. The best way to do that is to learn what is his
normal breathing pattern. There are two aspects to that - how many breaths
per minute and how much his sides move in & out when he breathes. You'll
need to check it when he's sleeping or resting and NOT purring. Normal
count is (I believe) 28-35 breaths per minute. If it gets much over 45,
then you should be concerned and call your vet. If the count doesn't
change, but he seems to be working harder to each breath (sides moving in &
out more than normal) then that is also a sign.
Cats are experts on hiding that they are sick so you have to be very alert.
Also remember that cats are extremely sensitive to your stress level and
that will make them stressed too.
Heart disease is progressive so adjustments will probably be needed
occasionally for the rest of his life. Expect the vet / cardiologist to
have you come back every six months for a recheck echocardiogram.
In addition, it's good to keep him in as good health as possible. For that,
be sure to feed him a species-appropriate diet. Cats are "obligate
carnivores" and have no use for any carbohydrates - whether it's grain,
fruits or vegetables. Cats do not have the digestive enzymes to process
carbohydrates properly so they usually turn into fat, setting the cat up for
diabetes, obesity and organ failure. So you want to feed a good quality
canned, home-cooked or raw diet consisting of meat with a mineral balance
appropriate for a cat. See sites like www.catinfo.org for more information.
There are supplements that can help support a cat with heart disease. The
most important is CoQ10 (coenzyme Q-10). The normal dose for a cat is 30mg
daily although more wouldn't hurt. Other supplements are the amino acids
l-carnitine and l-lysine. My girl had asthma and benefitted from TMG (or
you could use DMG). That helps the body process oxygen more efficiently on
the cellular level. She also benefitted a lot from taking salmon oil. That
contains Omega-3 fatty acids along with other nutrients and helps offset the
effects of cachexia (muscle wasting) which is a side-effect of the disease.
If you give Blackie meds for his asthma, there could be issues. Cats with
heart disease should not get oral steroids. It will make his heart disease
worse quickly. Inhalers won't have much of an affect. There are others on
this list that have more experince. I controlled my girl's asthma through
avoiding her triggers.
There's a lot to learn to help support Blackie and it really makes a big
difference. My girl had a prognosis of 4-6 months for her particular
situation, but survived for 2-1/2 years after diagnosis.
Best to you,
Sue & angels Pepper & Gandy
With Nicholai, Lola-Joy and Isabella
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