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heart murmur in maine coon

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Last checkup my cat had, the vet said she heard a slight heart murmur. I dont remember exactly what she said, but i think she described it as a slight extra sound. Is there anything I should look for to indicate if anything bad is happening? He's about 3.5-4.5 years old (got him from a shelter, dont know), very active and happy. Ive heard that this can be a breed problem with the maine coons. With this sort of thing, is there going to be any early indication that its bothering him or getting worse, or will he just die suddenly one day?
post #2 of 5
Did your vet tell you what grade heart murmur it was? They are normally graded from 1 - 6. One is the lowest and 6 is the WORST. Mainecoons are prone to getting Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Here are some sites that will give you some info as to what to look for:
post #3 of 5
Did your vet say what grade it was?

My RB cat had a grade 3 heart murmur (He since passed from something unrelated to his heart) and he did well without any medication. We just had to be careful when he played and we kept tabs on him for anything unusual.

The best thing to do is ask your vet (she may suggest having a specialtist evaluate him more) and see what she says.

MCC are (unfortunately as Shorty said) are prone to Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. That doesn't mean they can't live a good life though.
post #4 of 5
I've had two cats with heart murmurs. One we had since kittenhood, and he had the murmur most (if not all) of his life. He died very suddenly at the age of 12 years old--he was perfectly fine when my parents went downstairs, and five minutes later he was gone. He was never on medication nor did he have an echocardiogram to further diagnosis the cause of the murmur (he was my childhood cat, so I didn't have the ability to have the tests done myself).

The other kitty was a stray who I found as a senior. I don't know how old he was or how long he had the murmur. We figure he was at least 13 years old if not older. He was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy after an echocardiogram was done several months prior to his passing, but he was not on any medication either. He had other medical problems affecting his health (like hyperthyroidism) that may have also had a negative impact on his heart. He showed no signs of the problem other than the murmur until 24 hours prior to his passing when he became very weak and was unable to stand.

Murmurs can have different causes, which may be diagnosed with an echocardiogram--an ultrasound of the heart. There are several medications available that may help reduce the strain on the heart.
post #5 of 5
I'd definitely ask your vet what grade the heart murmur is and see if he/she feels additional testing (xray and echocardiogram) are necessary. If it's a low-grade murmur, and your cat has no other symptoms of an underlying heart condition (lethargy, shortness of breath) your vet may just recommend monitor the murmur.

My vet detected a grade 2 in my male cat, Peter, when he was 9 months old. We monitored Peter for about a year and after hearing the murmur on two more occasions, my vet recommended xrays, which showed Peter has a slightly enlarged heart, which was a cause for concern. After a echocardiogram, Peter was diagnosed with mild HCM and is now on daily medication. Because he's young (now 2 1/2) and we caught the HCM early, his prognosis is excellent.

Many cats can live completely normal lives with mild heart murmurs, but because a murmur can be indicative of an underlying heart condition, I'd discuss this more with your vet and try to pin him/her down on whether additional testing/treament is necessary.

Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions/concerns.
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