Re: [FH] Grief struck and left with questions about HCM
- I am so sorry to hear about Checkers. Let me say first that you are a
wonderful person for taking in Checkers, caring for him and making him
an indoor cat! That is something not many people will do.
My Kearra was dx'd with a heart murmur at 3 1/2 yrs old. When a new vet
came into our practice about a year later, I remember her saying "good
catch" about the previous vet, as the murmur was very faint. Maybe I am
blessed with vets with good ears? She had regular checkups and a
spaying with no reports of problems. Murmurs can develop at any time.
In any case, she was on heart meds from then till the day she died. And
up until the day she died (which was 6+ years later), she never showed
any sign of illness either. She ran and played like the others and even
instigated a lot of trouble. My SO's cat (also with a murmur) used to
chase her every morning like clockwork, and I'd yell to Tim
(jokingly) "Your cat better leave mine alone, she has a heart condition
you know!" I honestly think the 2 cats enjoyed their morning romps, it
was a ritual with them. But she never ever panted or had a shortness of
breath either. If it hadn't been for our vet and the subsequent
ultrasounds, we'd never have known.
My vet has told me that many people find out their cats have heart
problems when they die. That a cat can have a murmur and if left
untreated, the cat can actually just keel over without warning. That
Short story: Kearra threw a blood clot one afternoon. I was home and
rushed her right to the vet. We expored our options - which became
fewer as the afternoon wore on. Her lungs were filling up with fluid
and an xray showed she was in early stages of heart failure. I let her
go, as the chances of blood clots were increased and I was lucky to
have been home that day to get her help. I can't imagine the horror of
coming home from work and finding she had been partially paralized for
hours and in incredible pain.
FWIW I am an incredible paranoid cat mom, seems all the bad stuff
happens to our kids. If one of ours skipped supper I would watch them
more closely but would probably not rush them to the emergency vet
right away. They do get colds, sniffles, allergies - even being indoor
cats. And sometimes they have a down day (maybe they stayed up too late
eating catnip the night before!. We've all had those days ourselves,
sometimes you just don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning.
So please don't be too harsh on yourself for not rushing him in. You
noticed he wasn't 100% (and it sounds like he was about 90% that
night), you watched him, you made plans to have him checked the next
day if he wasn't better. Really, you couldn't have done any more, I'm
sure most of us on this list would have done the same, and I'll bet the
general population of cat owners in the world (think of pet owners you
may work with) would never even have noticed or worried about it unless
their cat had not eaten for days.
I understand your feeling, as almost 2 years later I still feel like I
let Kearra down. She was my favorite, she slept on my pillow almost
every night. I had spent thousands on Frisky in the previous 5 years
between cancer and CRF and I wish I could have done the same for her. I
wanted to but we decided it was too risky and her chances of long term
survival weren't good either.
Kearra panted her last day also, while we were at the vets. Between the
pain of the blood clot, the stress of the car ride and the vet, the
confusion she was in about what was happening to her, and her lungs
filling up with fluid... The vet told me she was very smart, as she was
actually breathing through her mouth as opposed to trying to breath
normally and failing. <sigh> I still miss that girl!
So, I do believe it's possible he had no signs of heart problems during
his nuetering. As I've seen with my own cats, it's very possible for
them to have no outward signs of heart problems until the end!
I'll also bet that despite Checkers distress, he knew you were there
I know this is tough for you, I beat myself up too thinking I could
have done more. Sometimes we really can't, much as we want to.
Hope you are doing a little better in the last few days.
All my best,
From: "peteycat9" <Maxicat92@...>
Mailing-List: list email@example.com; contact feline-heart-
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Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 03:43:30 -0000
Subject: [FH] Grief struck and left with questions about HCM
Hello group. I'm new to the board and was hoping I could understand
more about Hypertrophic Cardiomypathy and what happened to my cat.Ê
My cat Checkers was less than 2 years old when he suddenly became ill
and died, of what was later proven to be of Hypertrophic
Cardiomyopathy. I am still stunned and heartbroken. I've read all
that I can on this disease but what happened to Checkers still
doesn't seem to fit in with what I have read about this heart
I found Checkers as an 8 month old stray last summer. He was weakÊ
when I found him but after feeding him, he perked right up. He never
acted unhealthy in any way. He had a beautiful, shiney coat and
eyes. He never was short of breath and never panted. He didn't seem
any more tired than usual or weak. I had him vaccinated and
neutered. He now was a strickly indoor cat.
Then one afternoon (last month), he seemed under the weather and I
noticed a third eyelid on him. He skipped supper, something he NEVER
did before. I was concerned but I didn't think it was an emergency.Ê
I went to bed with the thought I would get him examined the next day
at the vets. I never got that chance. He woke us up 4:00 in the
morning in a howl. He was panting franticly with his eye pupils
completely dialated. I found him cornered in a cabinet (I later on
found out that he also lost all control of his bladder and bowels at
that very spot). He was rushed to the vet hospital and placed in an
oxygen cage. He was given Lasix and other drugs to ease his
breathing. The vet on staff believed his problem to be a cardiac
event. Later that day (when his breathing was stabilized), he was
examined by another vet that listened to his heart and thought his
heart sounded "normal". But much to my horror, I found out my cat
was now blind and "circling" in his cage (a specific neurological
symptom). Then, Checkers had a seizure(that was controlled) that
night. By the next morning, I was called by the hospital and told he
had another seizure and that he wasn't waking up from it. I was
advised to let him go. It was the most horrible experience. Even
during the euthanisia, he was seizing and making a horrible "honking"
noise. I couldn't believe as I watched all this happen to this cat
seemed so normal and healthy just 48 hour ago. My beautiful black and
white cat was now gone.
The necropsy showed significant Hypertrophic Cardiomypathy. His
blood work was supposedly "normal". The vets could not prove a blood
clot did this to his brain but theorize his sick heart put one out
that caused all the damage. Here is where the questions lay. Can
this disease present it's self with these terrible neurological
symptoms and yet the vet listening to his heart picked up nothing
unusual? He was neutered months earlier and again, no unusual heart
sounds were reported. Even with a necropsy, I just don't believe I
wouldn't have seen something in this cat's behavior before all this
happened. I don't recall any "stressor" that happened before he went
into distress. It seems most people with these cats with HCM at
least had warning before the end came. What if his panting was not
from a failing heart but because he was frightened by his loss of
vision or because he was in pain? He never had any respitory
distress before. I feel so cheated, guilty, and depressed. He died
blind and semi comatose, not even knowing we were there holding him.Ê
Please help me understand what happened. I feel like I let him
down. I loved him so much and cannot believe I couldn't have
prevented this tragedy.
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> My vet has told me that many people find out their cats have heart
> problems when they die. That a cat can have a murmur and if left
> untreated, the cat can actually just keel over without warning.
> scares me!My cat had severely advanced HCM.. the first time we found out was
when she threw a clot to her forepaw.
But even under anesthesia, the doctors couldn't hear any murmur and
they were looking for it (at 4am in the morning.. so it was very
quiet). blood work was normal, lungs clear, so the only indication
was the enlarged heart and thickened heart wall (and her paralyzed
paw that was icy cold) to confirm HCM.
so.. some cats never develop the heart murmur even if they have heart