I've been on this board for years but do not post frequently. I would like some feedback on an incident that happened yesterday with our current cardio cat, Eddie, who has a congenital heart defect since birth and had mild cardiomyopathy at his last echo (he is 7). He is way overdue for another which I am trying to schedule. The vet we currently take our cats to is local and used to have a traveling ultrasound visit periodically but for the past couple of years the cardiac ultrasound is only available at a distant hospital. I am severely mobility challenged and cannot drive long distances or go outside the house without someone to handle my very heavy wheelchair, and often have to depend on a friend who works at the practice to take our cats to the vet. The hospital where the cardiac ultrasound is available is very distant and my friend works 2 jobs, so it's been hard to schedule it for Eddie. We hope to get him there soon, especially after the incident yesterday. However, up to now he has been very stable on Atenolol daily and a quarter of a baby aspirin every 4 days. Over the last few months he has been having urinary problems, and we have had him back and forth to the vet trying to figure out what's going on. The symptoms were frequent urination and straining, but I couldn't see any blood and the litter we use (World's Best) makes it impossible to see blood in the clumps. He was making tiny clumps often, and courses of Baytril only helped temporarily. The vet didn't want to put him on antibiotics too often, which I understand. X-rays didn't show any crystals and his bladder was always small when we took him in so there was no blockage and no urine to check. This weeke when it started again, the vet had a traveling ultrasound at the office (they only do abdominals, not cardiac) so he had him scanned and lo and behold there were crystals, below the size that x-rays could detect. The vet put Eddie on clavamox twice a day until they could culture his urine, which we are still waiting on for results but the clavamox seems to be helping much more than the Baytril did as the clumps are larger and he's peeing much less frequently. He is also now on a special diet, Science S/D (wet). Luckily, he (and his 2 brothers, who all eat together) took to eating it, which was a big worry. However, two days after he started the clavamox and the new diet--that was yesterday--he had temporary collapse. We had just given him his antibiotic and Atenolol pills, wrapped up in a bit of bread to coat it and make it easy for him to swallow. He's great about taking pills, never a problem. But right after taking them, he jumped up onto the dresser in the bedroom where a water dish is, then jumped right down and fell over. He tried to get up once and couldn't, then tried again and succeeded. No cries, and he didn't seem in pain. When he got up, he ran off just like his usual self. In a panic I called my friend who was assisting in surgery at the vet's, and told her what had happened. She said they could do an EKG on him if we wanted and I said yes, so after she finished with the surgery she ran over and picked Eddie up and took him in to be checked. The vet rang with the results a little later--everything was COMPLETELY normal, he said, book normal. His bp was great, and his heart rate was 120, which he said was perfect for a cat on Atenolol. He said the collapse was probably a transient arrythmia and advised we get him in for the cardiac ultrasound as soon as possible, which we are going to. I asked if it would happen again and he said that was possible.
I am not inexperienced with heart disease in cats--we had another cat, my angel Wally, with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy but never experienced anything like this with him. He was pretty much symptom free until the very end of his life, and lived for 10 years with the disease. I know we were very lucky with Wally, and I would like to understand better the incident with Eddie. I am also wondering if either the clavamox or the new food could have precipitated an arrhythmia, since from my limited understanding I think that it has something to do with the balance of electrolytes??? This is the first time it's happened (and we do not leave the house often). My friend who works for the vet is bringing me some cans of the Royal Canin urinary food, which they sell at the other hospital she works for, to try with Eddie and his brothers, too. But I would appreciate feedback from anyone with relevant experience. Please cc to my private email (karenstimson @ yahoo.com--remove the spaces)as I don't see all the posts on this group.
Karen Stimson in Connecticut, with all 10 kitties