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HCM - "pep talk" needed

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi All!

Out of the depths I appear again We have a bunch of changes coming up (including a move to Germany) but after that, I plan to stick around!

Well, I was hoping to get a pep-talk from any others out there that have had furbabies diagnosed with HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) Maddie was diagnosed in November and was put on Atenolol. He had a follow up ultrasound today...and there was no change. I am being positive about this, though...as,there was no further deterioration of the heart that the Vet could see. I do know that his left ventricle is pretty thick (when it contacts it closes off almost completely) BUT his atrium seems unaffected at this time. This is good news.
I guess I am just down today...we have a big move coming up in 8 weeks, and I am so worried about my little man getting stressed out by all of this. I am also discouraged by the information I am gathering from the web...it seems that the life expectancy for HCM cats is not very good. Is there anyone out there that can give me any hope? Does you kitty have HCM, and has done well for some time? Can I even hope that my little man will be around 5 years from now? I just don't even want to think about losing him. He is so full of life and is as bright as can be.
Anyone want to give me a pep-talk? I think I really need it right about now!
post #2 of 15
How about this ... ///

None of us know how long our babies will be with us so treasure everyday..
post #3 of 15
First off, sending lots of hugs and vibes to you and Maddie.

I can relate to your experience with Maddie because my sweet boy, Peter, was diagnosed with HCM just over a year ago. He's been on antenolol daily since then and is doing well. The results of Maddie's latest ultrasound sound very encouraging. At Peter's last ultrasound in Oct. (he's due for another in June), the vet said there's been no progression of the disease and his heart is actually functioning normally. That's the best news we could have received.

It seems like the big thing with HCM is catching it early, starting treatment and having regular ultrasounds to chart the progression of the disease. It sounds like you've got a good handle on things with Maddie, so just think positive. He sounds a lot like my Peter in the sense that he's full of life. I know it can be discouraging to read that the life expectancy of HCM kitties can be short, but I've also heard of cats with this disease that have lived normal, healthy lives.

Honestly, even though Peter is fine for now, I'm aware of the fact that his life might be shortened by the HCM. The important thing for us to remember, though, is that there are no health guarantees with any kitty. We need to just treasure the time we have with them, enjoy the present, care for them the best we can and not worry about the future. That helps me deal with Peter's HCM and I hope it helps you and Maddie too. He's lucky to have such a caring person in his life!

Feel free to PM if you ever want to talk.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
How about this ... ///

None of us know how long our babies will be with us so treasure everyday..
Thanks, sweetheart! I know we never know how much time we or our kiddos have here on earth...I guess I just wanted to hear from some folks who have had HCM kitties and that they did/are doing good since their diagnosis. Sometimes we need to hear the "otherside" when all we have been given is grave news...
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilcon View Post
First off, sending lots of hugs and vibes to you and Maddie.

I can relate to your experience with Maddie because my sweet boy, Peter, was diagnosed with HCM just over a year ago. He's been on antenolol daily since then and is doing well. The results of Maddie's latest ultrasound sound very encouraging. At Peter's last ultrasound in Oct. (he's due for another in June), the vet said there's no been no progression of the disease and his heart is actually functioning normally. That's the best news we could have received.

It seems like the big thing with HCM is catching it early, starting treatment and having regularly ultrasounds to chart the progression of the disease. It sounds like you've got a good handle on things with Maddie, so just think positive. He sounds a lot like my Peter in the sense that he's full of life. I know it can be discouraging to read that the life expectancy of HCM kitties can be short, but I've also heard of cats with this disease that have lived normal, healthy lives.

Honestly, even though Peter is fine for now, I'm aware of the fact that his life might be shortened by the HCM. The important thing for us to remember, though, is that there are no healthy guarantees with any kitty. We need just treasure the time we have with them, enjoy the present, care for them the best we can and not worry about the future. That helps me deal with Peter's HCM and I hope it helps you and Maddie too. He's lucky to have such a caring person in his life!

Feel free to PM if you ever want to talk.
Thank you so much for your kind words! It really means a lot to me to hear that Peter is doing well with his treatment. I don't know anyone else out here who has a kitty with HCM...so meeting other "moms and dads" going through the same thing makes me feel less alone. Thank you!
post #6 of 15
oh heck, I am sadden to read about your sweet boy I dont know a jot about the condition, the advice/comments from Eilcon seem very encouraging

I just wanted to send some positive (((((( vibes )))))) for you and Maddie, give him some extra special tummy rubs from all of us

keep is posted
post #7 of 15
Katy as diagnosed with HCM 2 years ago. She was also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism right after that and I was hoping and praying that once that was treated, her HCM would improve. Sadly, it didn't. The vets tell me that Katy's HCM isn't very severe. She's had several repeat echocardiograms, and it hasn't progressed so that's good news. She's also on atenolol and Norvasc for high blood pressure. She was originally put on aspirin, but just a couple of months ago was taken off that because she's got IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and chronic pancreatitis, and the thought the aspirin might be exacerbating her pancreatitis.

Katy keeps having health problems pop up, but the good news is that it seems her HCM isn't progressing.

HCM is a scary disease, but if your Maddie seems happy and full of life, I'd just try to enjoy each day. You know, there's a chance that his HCM won't progress . . . that's what I keep praying for with Katy. I actually have another kitty, Chloe, who's had a murmur for years and was finally diagnosed with HCM around the same time as Katy. Sometimes I nearly forget that she even has it because hers is very mild, she's never had any symptoms, and isn't even on any medications for it.

I wish you and Maddie the best of luck. Just love that boy as much as you can!
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclesarah View Post
Thank you so much for your kind words! It really means a lot to me to hear that Peter is doing well with his treatment. I don't know anyone else out here who has a kitty with HCM...so meeting other "moms and dads" going through the same thing makes me feel less alone. Thank you!
You're more than welcome. It always helps to have someone to talk to who knows what you're going through. I've found there's so much info out there about HCM, it's nice to hear how other peoples' kitties are doing.

You may have already run across this in your research, but there is an excellent online support group for folks who have kitties with heart conditions. Here's the link if you're interested:
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/feline-heart/
post #9 of 15
My cat was diagnosed with obstructive HCM a few months ago. I don't know if this is like your cat's case, because mine isn't symptomatic and his condition is classified as mild to moderate. But the news for him has been good -- after one month on atenolol, his heart is now almost identical to a normal cat's. I didn't expect that much of a change and it's good news. (Of course, he has an unrelated health issue.)

Did your cat have a follow-up EKG? Mine did at the one month follow-up. I wonder if that might be indicated. Also, if the dose you're giving didn't effect a change, is the vet considering increasing the dose? It might be that the right dosage just hasn't been reached, or that another medication will help.

If your cat is lively and active, that's probably a good sign. I couldn't tell from your post whether your cat is symptomatic, but it sounds like she may not be.

My cat will have another follow-up at three months and then one a year to make sure things are progressing well. My vet said that, while prognoses vary, she has seen many cats with HCM live six or seven years *after* they reach heart failure.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooficat View Post
oh heck, I am sadden to read about your sweet boy I dont know a jot about the condition, the advice/comments from Cyclesarah seem very encouraging

I just wanted to send some positive (((((( vibes )))))) for you and Maddie, give him some extra special tummy rubs from all of us

keep is posted
Thank you, Ann!
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebsKats View Post
Katy as diagnosed with HCM 2 years ago. She was also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism right after that and I was hoping and praying that once that was treated, her HCM would improve. Sadly, it didn't. The vets tell me that Katy's HCM isn't very severe. She's had several repeat echocardiograms, and it hasn't progressed so that's good news. She's also on atenolol and Norvasc for high blood pressure. She was originally put on aspirin, but just a couple of months ago was taken off that because she's got IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and chronic pancreatitis, and the thought the aspirin might be exacerbating her pancreatitis.

Katy keeps having health problems pop up, but the good news is that it seems her HCM isn't progressing.

HCM is a scary disease, but if your Maddie seems happy and full of life, I'd just try to enjoy each day. You know, there's a chance that his HCM won't progress . . . that's what I keep praying for with Katy. I actually have another kitty, Chloe, who's had a murmur for years and was finally diagnosed with HCM around the same time as Katy. Sometimes I nearly forget that she even has it because hers is very mild, she's never had any symptoms, and isn't even on any medications for it.

I wish you and Maddie the best of luck. Just love that boy as much as you can!
Thanks for shraing your experience. You are right...HCM is a scary disease, but all we can do is love our little ones and take as good of care of them as we can. And pray! I am glad to hear that Katy's HCM does not appear to be progressing at this time. Let's keep those fingers crossed!! I hope she is doing well with her other conditions as well.
I am sending my best to you and your little ones
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilcon View Post
You're more than welcome. It always helps to have someone to talk to who knows what you're going through. I've found there's so much info out there about HCM, it's nice to hear how other peoples' kitties are doing.

You may have already run across this in your research, but there is an excellent online support group for folks who have kitties with heart conditions. Here's the link if you're interested:
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/feline-heart/
Eileen,
Thanks for that site...I had not seen that yet! It is now bookmarked and I plan to delve into it throughly today
Thanks so much!
Sarah
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
My cat was diagnosed with obstructive HCM a few months ago. I don't know if this is like your cat's case, because mine isn't symptomatic and his condition is classified as mild to moderate. But the news for him has been good -- after one month on atenolol, his heart is now almost identical to a normal cat's. I didn't expect that much of a change and it's good news. (Of course, he has an unrelated health issue.)

Did your cat have a follow-up EKG? Mine did at the one month follow-up. I wonder if that might be indicated. Also, if the dose you're giving didn't effect a change, is the vet considering increasing the dose? It might be that the right dosage just hasn't been reached, or that another medication will help.

If your cat is lively and active, that's probably a good sign. I couldn't tell from your post whether your cat is symptomatic, but it sounds like she may not be.

My cat will have another follow-up at three months and then one a year to make sure things are progressing well. My vet said that, while prognoses vary, she has seen many cats with HCM live six or seven years *after* they reach heart failure.
I will be thinking only the best thoughts for your kitty for her follow up appt. Your vet has given you some optimistic news as far as lifespan.
You are right, Maddie is un-symptomatic, which is great news. You would never know anything was wrong with him. People are often shocked when we tell them his condition, as he is so bouncy, playful and overall so full of life! I will pray that he stays this way as long as possible.
He had a follow up EKG yesterday as well. Nothing really has changed. While I am sad that we did not see any improvements, as I mentioned I am very happy that nothing has deteriorated. We have to celebrate the small victories, I think.
As for now his meds are staying the same. When we get to where we are moving (Germany) and get settled I am going to find a new Vet and go from there...prayers that we find a great vet would be most appreciated!
post #14 of 15
Oh, that is a pain to have to find a new cardiology specialist.

If it helps, my vet seemed surprised that my cat reacted so quickly and completely to the atenolol -- so I gathered that it often takes longer to see that kind of progress.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
Oh, that is a pain to have to find a new cardiology specialist.

If it helps, my vet seemed surprised that my cat reacted so quickly and completely to the atenolol -- so I gathered that it often takes longer to see that kind of progress.
I know it! I am disheartned by the fact that we have to "start over" as it were with finding the right vet, but I know with persistance we will. Luckily I have all his records and I know what I am looking for in a specialist. Now, let's hope they speak good English, because my German is sub par!

You know, my vet also said that it can take time to get results...so let's hope that with our next scan we get some great news!

Thanks for checking up on us!
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