- My cat at 8 months old in '09 went into congestive heart failure due to steroids and that's how we found out about her condition. An excellent ER staff, an extraordinatry vet cardiologist, five meds, and 2 1/2 years later finds her doing ver well. She's had one CHF incident in '10 and a slight one caught at the beginning last summer '11 but other than that, is doing well. She takes Plavix a blood thinner-prevents clots and keeps blood thin so that the heart isn't working hard to pump it; spironolactone is a diuretic that rids the body of extra fluid but keeps potassium in the body which the kidneys need; lasix a diuretic that also keeps extra fluid out of the body; atenolol is a beta blocker that keeps the heart rate low so that the heart isn't working so hard; and elanapril-an ACE inhibitor that keeps the blood flowing through the body in the event of a heart attack or other heart issues such as HCM. You should research these and any others
recommended and ask your vet what the cat should be on. You should see an actual vet cardiologist if you haven't as a radiologist or a regular vet (without much experience in heart echos) cannot necessarily tell what is best for the patient. Heart murmurs do not mean anything really. They are symptoms of heart disease or are brought on by stress. We have a cat who has stressed induced heart murmurs and then our HCM cat has a heart murmur. What really matters now is managing the effects and the needs of the cat. Keep the cat warm or cool; active but not overly active; indoors; and away from stress and noise, construction in the house or out of the house-anything it's not already used to; and dogs and kids-again, anything it isn't already used to in the home. Keep a routine. Give the meds at the same time each day-the vet will set the schedule of the amount and how often a med is given daily. Your can't cannot take steroids anylonger as they keep
the fluids in the body and a build-up could occur leading to CHF. Going forward, cbc/chem panels will need to be done once or twice a year to see how the body is reacting to the meds and its general condition. You might want to give supplements of potassium, a vitamin paste, lysine, COQ10, etc. But you must see a vet cardiologist and ask about the various drugs to manage HCM and when your cat might need them. Good luck!
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- Deb:Sorry to hear you and your little boy have to deal with HCM. I know it's a devastating diagnosis, and everyone here has felt that panic of not knowing how long you have. My Tink was diagnosed when he was probably 11 years old, after a heart murmur was found during an exam. He wasn't placed on any medication for it until this year, when his blood pressure elevated and required Atenolol for treatment. The only other related medication he has been on is methimazole for hyperthyroidism. He is also on a tiny dose of prednisone for arthritis issues (it's a terrible drug for a heart kitty, if there was a choice, but in his case it's a matter of quality of life over quantity of life...he's miserable without that medication).Over the years, we've had a couple of echocardiograms done, but it stresses him and I haven't kept repeating it. He has had more EKGs, even as recently as the beginning of this year, and a few years ago he needed a dental done, but the cardiologist read his EKG and said it was not safe to put him under anesthesia. His heart disease is obviously progressing based on the EKGs, but we've been very very VERY lucky overall. Now for the good news. My sweet little snuggle bug celebrated his 21st birthday in April. We know his actual birthday within a 3-day window, as he was "7 to 10 days old" per the vet, when we found him and his sister abandoned and sick in a drainage ditch on the side of the road. I bottle fed him, and he's my baby boy. :) I really don't remember which year he was diagnosed, but it was close to the time his sister died from cancer, and they were just over 11 years old when she passed. Somewhere around 10 years we've been aware of the HCM, and he is still with me. I know we've been incredibly lucky, and I feel so blessed to still have him with me.Try to enjoy every day you have with your boy. None of us know how long we have, but sometimes we get very lucky, and get to spend more time with our babies. Keep an eye out for the warning signs that things are progressing and medical attention is required, but otherwise just enjoy your boy. :) I tend to "lurk" on the list for the most part, but there are SO many helpful people here. If you have questions, just ask. This wonderful group has been GREAT support over the years, and I can't say enough wonderful things about these people.I hope you have many, many more wonderful years with your little boy! :)Dana and Tink (who is napping in the sunshine, stretched out on his giant cushion in the bay window)