7 yo cat diagnosed with heart disease (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy)

(20 Posts)
MissFoodie Wed 23-Nov-16 14:48:24

My cat was admitted to hospital with respiratory problems 2 days ago and has just been diagnosed with grade 4 hypertrophic cardiomyopathy sad

The prognosis is up to 1 year with medication (diuretic for fluid in chest and an ACE inhibitor)

Has anyone had any similar experience?
I have to consider whether to bring him home and try the treatment, but I don't want him to suffer, as he eventually will have the same problem (breathing isues) or potentially a heart attack.....

It's so awful..... I just can't believe it.....

I don't know whether to consider putting him to sleep even though he is a lot better than he was 2 days ago.....

Littlemissindependent Wed 23-Nov-16 15:10:36

My 3 year old cat was diagnosed with this 2 weeks ago tomorrow. The day after I found out, I had to have her pts. Absolutely broke me. She threw a clot due to the hcm which paralysed her back legs. Letting her go has broken my heart but it was best for her. It's a difficult one, has your vet recommended trying the medication? I think it's worth giving it a go, to see if it makes a difference. You're aware that the long term diagnosis isn't the best, but if your vet has recommended trying meds then see how it goes flowers

MsMims Wed 23-Nov-16 16:01:53

My cat was diagnosed with this in July of last year. Sadly by the time it was diagnosed he was already in heart failure. His case was severe.

That being said, he began medication the same day as diagnosis and is still here today with an amazing quality of life. He runs and plays, and is as happy and purry as he ever was before getting diagnosed. He did need some adjustment with his meds (hypercard didn't suit him, atenolol does). I recently had an ultrasound check on his heart and by some miracle the thickening in his heart has reduced. My vet said this is highly unusual but early diagnosis and treatment was key.

The fluid in my cat was cleared with the diuretic (frusemide) and touch wood hasn't come back since.

I know many cats with this condition are not so lucky, but based on my experience I can only recommend starting treatment asap.

MsMims Wed 23-Nov-16 16:14:42

Also just to say at the time my vets told me of the risk of a sudden heart attack but advised that even though this would be a shock for me, it would be a 'lovely' way to die for the cat. They said he wouldn't know anything about it.

Cassimin Wed 23-Nov-16 16:31:23

Our St. Bernard was diagnosed with this. We gave him medication and we got another year with him.
Just wanted to post to advise that if you are thinking of medication you can get it online with a prescription from the vet. Our insurance would only pay £1000 per condition and it saved us a fortune. If we used the vet it would have eaten up the £1000 very quickly.

MissFoodie Wed 23-Nov-16 16:46:22

thank you all for your responses smile

he has to have another blood test tomorrow to check his kidneys before they start the ACE inhibitor, he is on the diuretic 3 times a day, but this would be reduced to twice a day.

the other issue is he has IBD, he was on steroids (prednisone) 3 years ago, then was off it for almost 3 years, and it flared up again 3 months ago so he has been on it since. I keep thinking this may have contributed to the disease, but I know I can't and it's just one of those things...

the vet has indicated that if he is more settled the way forward would be:
ace inhibitor and diuretic twice a day
minimal amount of prednisone once a day eg 2,5 mg instead of 5

she said realistically he would have to be on the diuretic as he will always have some fluid leaking into his chest - msmims, is yours only on the ace inhibitor then? what grade did they give you? they have given me a 4 which is severe....

Regarding insurance, I need to check, he is covered up to £7,500 for treatment per incident per year, so not sure if medication would come out of this?

he is a tabby, but thank god I got him insured, when his IBD was bad 3 years ago the bills came to £3K and they paid for it all.....now my excess is 20% which still seems good considering what's happened this week....

Secretspillernamechange Wed 23-Nov-16 16:52:26

Sorry to hear about your boy sad fingers crossed that he stabilises well and you have a good amount of happy time left.

Do you mind me asking how you noticed his symptoms? I'm taking my cat to the vet in a couple of hours because I've noticed him getting very puffed out after playing. I'm hoping he's just unfit or slightly asthmatic but I'm freaking out a bit that it's heart disease.

MissFoodie Wed 23-Nov-16 16:52:31

here he is smile

poisonedbypen Wed 23-Nov-16 16:53:01

Poor kitty, I hope he improves. I wonder why it wasn't picked up at previous visits to the vet? Maybe they don't always have symptoms? Ours was diagnosed at about a year, they heard a heart murmur. He has been on medication all his life & is a healthy 8 year old now. Although I do understand that he could suddenly go. Thinking of you.

MissFoodie Wed 23-Nov-16 16:56:50

Hi secret
there were no symptoms at all until it was severe, apparently cats do this: they hide it until it gets bad.....
monday morning he was on top of kitchen surfaces, I gave him some food and went back to bed, he seemed fine, a couple of hours later he came upstairs and was wheezing, breathing heavily with his mouth open. His sides were moving rapidly, bit like when you take a fish out of water?
He sounded chesty, a bit like we do when we have a chest infection.
The sound is from fluid in the chest.
I think the only way to know is to have regular heart scans.... which the vet wont do unless they have to....
I think they're about £400 a go and maybe the insurance would not cover it if it was preventative?

He has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, there are 3 types of cardiomyopathy. I think it was congenital as he has had a good diet since he was a kitten (it can be caused by taurine defficiency) and the other potential cause is thyroid problems, but as he has had lots of tests over the years for his IBD this has never come up.

MissFoodie Wed 23-Nov-16 16:59:09

poisoned - due to his IBD he has been to the vet a lot and they have always checked his heart, they have never said there was any irregularity..... I think he was fine until now and it has maybe gotten worse (the enlargement of the heart) over the last year.

I don't know....I want to blame the steroids but there's no point, it's just one of those things...

what medication is your cat on?

MissFoodie Wed 23-Nov-16 17:02:09

LittleMiss - so sorry to hear about your experience...

they gave him a blood thinner when he was admitted, they said this was specifically to prevent a clot, I had to sign a disclaimer as the medication is human, there's no animal equivalent.

can't imagine how awful this must have been for you.... sad

Secretspillernamechange Wed 23-Nov-16 17:03:57

He's gorgeous MissFoodie.

Thank you so much for answering my question, I really appreciate it. It must have been horrible to suddenly see him in so much distress.

MissFoodie Wed 23-Nov-16 17:14:57

it was... thank god I was at home... imagine if I had been at work? god know's what state he would have been in when I got back.....

they can refer me to the cardiology unit at the RVC hospital in Potters Bar, but I'm hesitant as he hates travelling and I think it would put him under too much stress to drive there and back.... it's an hour each way from here...

PurpleCrazyHorse Wed 23-Nov-16 17:20:42

Regarding travelling, we put our cat in a small dog cage for longer journeys. We even taped down a small litter tray and popped some carpet in the bottom. Our cat (who hates the carrier), happily sat in the cage for a 3hr drive when we moved house. Just a thought.

Sorry to hear about your cat. Sadly we'd have to have ours PTS as she won't tolerate medicine of any kind without lots of stress. It was bad enough when she had an infected claw.

Best of luck.

MsMims Wed 23-Nov-16 17:23:09

Oh he's so handsome Miss

Funnily enough my cat was also diagnosed with IBD in the February/ March of last year. He was on pred as well but once the HCM was diagnosed my vet took him off that very quickly. My vet said the steroid did cause his heart to flare up, but try not to agonise over this, we take the advice of experts don't we?

I didn't have a grade off the vet but they did warn me it was very severe and his heart was very malformed. The vet did (kindly) warn we could lose him at any moment.

Sorry, didn't explain the diuretic situation very well. He is still on frusemide but a tiny quarter of a tablet, twice a day. Was trying to say once the frusemide got rid of the fluid his dose was reduced right down to a maintenance dose and hasn't needed to be increased since. He's also on atenolol and clopidogrel, the latter is a recent addition since a tiny blood clot was found in his heart but vet has reassured the drug will deal with it and not to worry.

Your insurance should cover everything but now my cat is stable his meds are very cheap.

Hope your lovely boy continues to improve flowers

TroysMammy Wed 23-Nov-16 17:29:20

It happened to Troy. He was also in heart failure when diagnosed in January aged 5. He was diagnosed at Langfords in Bristol and I had to leave him there for 4 days. The journey for him and me, I live in Swansea, was stressful especially as I had never driven further than Cardiff, and that was just the once. He was on beneforte, vetmedin, furosemide, clopidogrel and had to have potassium supplement. My pet insurance, Petplan also paid for the medication.

He had to have his chest drained 3 times at our vets. He just sat there whilst the vet carried out the procedure. They said he was the best patient they had.

Sadly Troy died suddenly on 10 May, 10 mins from him crying out to me to passing away in the car as I drove him to the emergency vets. At least I was with him when he went.

I'm sorry it's happening to you and your lovely cat.flowers

chemenger Wed 23-Nov-16 17:31:52

My little boy was given a maximum of four months to live just before Christmas last year. He was four years old and had not shown any hint of a problem before. He had no symptoms at all, it was picked up on a regular check up, but scans showed that it was progressing rapidly. We finally lost him in July, due to massive clots so he outlived his prognosis by a long way. Up until the last few days he lived life to the full on his medication.

poisonedbypen Wed 23-Nov-16 23:02:23

To the person who asked, my cat is on Benazacare and aspirin and has been for about 7.5 years. They did tell me the grade of murmur but I've forgotten & I think he had a baseline x ray. He has stayed well, but I dread the day when it starts to affect him, we will all be devastated as he is the loveliest cat. He purrs do loud when the vet checks him (every 6 months) that it's sometimes hard to hear the murmur!

MissFoodie Thu 24-Nov-16 13:36:28

update: he should be able to come home tomorrow, they have said they want to try just the diuretic with a blood thinner, no ACE inhibitor/beta blocker...... am not sure if this is a good thing or not?

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