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heart murmer

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My sister could no longer care for her long-haired Calico named Casey and she asked us, my husband 2 children and Golden Retriever, if we would take her in. We never owned a cat before and quickly we fell in love with Casey. She has no known medical conditions, she is an indoor cat only and is spayed.
The other night, she jumped off the couch and started walking and fell onto her side. I took her to the vet and he said he heard a "soft murmer". He recommended EKG, echocardiogram, and Xrays. I wanted to know if anyone knows anything about heart murmers and their causes and treatments, so that I can educate myself and know what to expect. I love my cat and I am very concerned. Thank You in advance for your help.
post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 
I forgot to add that she fell to her side and immediately got back up and continued to run, but she seemed a bit disoriented. The vet said that an irregular rhythm could have made her pass out. Thanks
post #3 of 18
What I know about heart murmurs is they are usually common in older cats and if kittens do have a murmur, sometimes they do outgrow it. I also know that the vets rate them from #1-6 in intensity after the tests are finished. I am going to move this to the Health forum so others more knowledgeable can answer your concerns. Wishing you the best for your cat.
post #4 of 18
I just wanted to welcome you to the site, and although I can't offer any medical advice to help Casey, I'd just like to wish you every luck with her, and hope the vet finds her heart murmur will not affect her quality of life too much.
post #5 of 18
Heart murmurs are not that uncommon in older cats. It is important to explore them with ultrasound exam whenever possible because of the possibility of cardiomyopathy.

I think it is a good idea to ask for referral to a
veterinary cardiologist, or at least a veterinarian who can do a good job of cardiac ultrasound exam, to discover the significance of a murmur in a cat. This is the best way to determine how important a murmur is in a cat. Most vets use a scale of 1 to 6 to describe the intensity of a murmur. A murmur rated a "1" is usually difficult to detect but the vet is pretty sure it is present. A murmur rated at "6" can be felt by placing a hand on the ribcage over the heart and can be heard without the aid of a
stethoscope by placing the ear on or near the chest wall.

Ask your vet if there is a veterinary cardiologist or veterinary internal medicine specialist in your area who can do a good ultrasound exam of your
cat's heart. It really is the best, and sometimes the only, way to tell what is happening in your cat's heart and how significant the problem is.

Good luck and please give plenty of XOXOXOXO to your furbaby!
post #6 of 18
Here is a link for you to read up on. Good luck with your calico!

Heart Murmurs
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I want to thank you so much for your kind words and the information. I found out that Casey is about 6 years old and that she never had a heart murmer before, so it is not one that she was born with. I am just saying my prayers that it is not something serious. I love her.
post #8 of 18
Prayer coming your way for your baby girl - let us know how things are progressing!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
I will be dropping Casey off at the vets on Tuesday and they will be doing echocardiogram, EKG and Xrays. The vet told me that they are all necessary for an accurate diagnosis. The more I read, though, I am under the impression that the best test would be an ultrasound. Should I question my vet and request an ultrasound instead. Money is an issue for us at this time, but I do want the best care for my Casey-girl. I know that just like in humans, you really must be persistant when it comes to getting good healthcare from a doctor and I have had to be a bit pushy with the doctor when he kept telling me nothing was wrong with my dog, but he kept getting a stiff neck. I kept asking for Xrays. (throws my hands up) What are ya gonna do? Any insight would be appreciated.
post #10 of 18
You do not sound like you have a lot of confidence that the Vet would do all he can for Casey. Personally, I would ask for a referal to a veterinary cardiologist or someone who can do a good ultra sound.
post #11 of 18
Incidentally, an echocardiogram is the same thing as an ultrasound. Just like a baby sonogram and a human echocardiogram are basically the same thing, just on different parts.

I work in human cardiology, but I don't know a whole lot about pet cardio, only assuming it's similar enough. The echo should reveal the structural source ('hole' in heart wall or valve problem possibly) causing the murmur. It's a good idea to get the EKG done as well. I can't say for sure how important the X ray is for diagnosing the murmur, but it will show if the heart is in the proper position, and that there is no faults in the basic cardiac structure, also no fluid buildup in the pericardium (sac surrounding the heart), or any lung-related abnormalities.

Good luck with your furbaby!

Warm fuzzies,
Spring and Orion
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the information. I feel just a bit better now that I am a bit more educated. I will keep you posted. I am so glad I found this website.
post #13 of 18
I haven't dealt with this in a cat, but my parent's 10 year old Beagle did that same thing. She would come running around to greet us and one day she flopped onto her side and couldn't get up for a few minutes. We took her to the vet where he heard a soft murmur and did tests. She had a partial blockage in her artery and was put on all kinds of heart meds to prevent another heart attack. She lived for another year and a half before having another heart attack that led my parents to having her put down.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
That is exactly as my doctor described Casey's as a "soft murmer". Tomorrow is the big day. I will let you know what they find. Thanks.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi to all! Casey is back home with us and the vet said that he did not find anything. $300 later. He said he could find no reason for her "passing out" last week. He is sending out the results to a specialist to double check, but as of now he said she looks very healthy. Thank God!!! I really appreciate your kind words and thoughts, for a bit I was really worried. Thanks again.
post #16 of 18
That's great - but it is too bad that they couldn't find a firm answer too. Could it have been the heat? I don't know where you are located, but I know here in VT last week it was unbearable and my two cats and kitten would not move from under the ceiling fans except to get water or food.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
We live in New Jersey. I felt the same way about not having a definate answer to her falling. The air conditioner has been on almost constantly since we have been stuck in the upper 90's for the past couple of months. I don't think the heat caused it. It may have been a cold or something causing her equalibrium to be off. He said that the results would be in today and I am going to talk to him. My husband is the one that picked Casey up yesterday, and I don't think he asked any questions, so I will call today and ask some. I will keep you posted.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I talked to the vet and he said that in the Xray he thought that her heart may have been slightly enlarged. He didn't see anything in the echocardiogram, but he sent the results to a cardiologist to review and he should get the results tomorrow and he will call. I feel better knowing that the results will be evaluated by a cardiologist. Will keep you posted. Thanks.
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