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Possible Heart Disease?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
When I got home this evening, I noticed that Whiskers, my 5 year old orange tabby, was breathing kind of funny. I had a bad feeling about it so I call the emergency vet clinic and they said to bring her in...now I wish I never did. They took a chest xray and it showed fluid around her lungs (not in her lungs.) The fluid was causing pressure on the lungs and she's having to try harder to breathe. From the different scenarios the doctor explained, heart disease stuck out. I forget most of the other scenarios but most were like infections or stuff that commonly occurs to outdoor cats, which Whiskers is not.

They wanted to draw a sample of the fluid to have the cells analyzed. She has to stay there overnight so they can monitor her. I am waiting for the emergency vet to call me back after the procedure is done. She said they might have a better idea based on the type of fluid that comes out. If it is heart disease, she said that the prognosis is poor but the disease is manageable with drugs and the condition is closely monitored.

I don't even know what to think at this point. I'm just freaked out that I might lose her...I would appreciate any comments or suggestions or insight.

Just to give a little more history, Whiskers goes to the vet every year and is up to date on all her vaccines. The vet has never mentioned that she had a heart murmur or anything. She was actually just at the vet's office to get her teeth cleaned on Friday. They did pre-anesthetic bloodwork and did not mention anything weird. She was fine all weekend.

I don't post much but often lurk on the site when I have free time. Typing this message has actually helped calm me down alittle. If anyone has gone through something similar, I would love to hear your story.

The ER vet just called and said that they withdrew a cloudy, yellow, straw colored fluid from Whiskers' chest. She now suspects FIP...which is no better than heart disease. She's also going to send it for an FIP ELISA test.
post #2 of 10
I know how you're feeling. Last month by cat started having problems using his back legs. When I called the vet, he didn't seem too optimistic about the outcome. I had to bring him in for ex-rays and a dopler test. It was horrible having to sit there for hours and wait, especially when the vet had made it very clear that it didn't look good.
It turned out that he had back disease which the vet said didn't look good. He said that we could try some medication, but if that didn't work, then it would be best to put him down. Anyways, the medication worked somewhat and at least he's able to move and walk around again. I'll probably only have him for another year or so, which is very sad, but you just have to tell yourself that you did everything that you could, and that at least they had a good life with a family that loved them.
Keep your chin up. Hopefully its something thats treatable, and even if it is heart disease, I believe they do have some medications out there that will lengthen the life span.
I'm sending good vibes your way. Please keep us updated.
post #3 of 10
I do have a story but it is to long for me to type. I can say that I did have a cat that was diagnosed at 1 year of age with heart disease. He lived to be 10 years old. The last 18 months of his life he was in heart failure. He just died this past March.
post #4 of 10
to you and kitty... FIP I think is usually a "young cat diesease " but either diagnoisis is not good
post #5 of 10
There is no test for FIP accept to prove thru a necropsy. The test will only show what you already know and that your cat has been exposed to a corona virus. While you still can't rule FIP out and I hope it is, maybe you should ask her about chylothorax. It has been sometimes thought cats might have FIP and it really isn't. Also you usually see FIP in kittens and adults. That doesn't mean a 5 year old can't get it though.


Good luck.
post #6 of 10
Holy crap. I am RIGHT where you are right now..only...ours has been ongoing symptoms for the past two months (withdrawn, weight loss, etc). Our vet had no clue what the deal was, but in the last two days, she has even stopped eating.

We took her to MSU (Michigan State) last night and they flound fluid in her abdomen and in her chest (just a streak of it on an Xray). I was originally told last night they didn't think it was FIP, but just a bit ago, they called and said it was either that or cancer (and they found an inch mass near her kidney). Progonosis is POOR. REALLY POOR...so I am guessing that as of this time tomorrow, Ashie won't be with us.

I am LIVID my vet couldn't get a clue by all of these symptoms (and the hard belly).....but I guess it doesn't matter now.
post #7 of 10
I'm so sorry for your little kitty.

. . . maybe you should ask her about chylothorax.
I thought the same thing. I have a cat who recovered from chylothorax, also an indoor cat and younger than your kitty. I think, however, that the fluid is the wrong color for that. If I recall, chyle is generally white or pink-ish white? I would ask the vet why she's ruled out chylothorax or similar diseases.

Regardless, with fluid building in her chest cavity, you really saved her life by taking her to the clinic. Be glad that you caught it in time! You may have to make repeated trips to get that fluid drained, so pay careful attention to how your kitty is breathing. We made many, many trips with our kitty to drain around her lungs. No fun.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement.

The test results on the fluid came back and there was a high presence of lymphocytes. These results are not consistent with FIP, instead now the diagnosis is leaning towards lymphoma. They wanted to do an ultrasound of the chest and abdomen areas to see if there are any masses present. The upper throacic area is not clear on the xrays that were done. The heart is not visible and the lungs are not clear in the upper areas. I initially consented to the ultrasounds but after consultation with my regular vet, he brought up a very good point. I realized that no matter how many more tests that are done, any of the results would be bad news. It was confirmed by the ER vet. I felt like I was going on a wild goose chase looking for a diagnosis that may or may not be obtainable. So I decided that I would rather take Whiskers home and make her comfortable, rather than subject her to more tests, jabs and possibly exploratory surgery.

Whiskers has been doing well at home so far and I am less stressed having her here than in the ER. The ER vet prescribed prednisone as that is a drug that they would use to treat lymphoma and hopefully that may slow down the fluid accumulation in her chest. I will probably take her in to my regular vet in the next couple of days for a follow up.

I will ask my vet about chylothorax tomorrow when I drop off copies of the xrays for him to review. I can't remember if the ER vets considered this at one point because they were throwing out so many diseases, I couldn't remember them all. The clinical sign that does not fit is the color of the fluid; Whiskers' was yellow/straw color vs. chyle which is usually white or light pink. However, the cell type (lymphocyte) is consistent with her test results.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Whiskers went to the rainbow bridge this morning. She had 3 seizures since last night and I knew it was time. My vet thinks she might have had FIP since that affects neurological function. Before he took her, he mentioned that she was probably blind because she had no reflex reaction when he put a finger up to her eye. I know I did the right thing for her but it still doesn't help. I am soo sad. She was my first cat and I already miss her so much.

RIP my precious baby...

post #10 of 10
I'm sorry to hear this sad news. You've been very brave for Whiskers. I'm sure that she knows how much she is loved and missed.
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