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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My cat (13 years) has severe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and was diagnosed to have another year to live last May. His condition is worsening though he is still roaming around and somewhat playful.
I am nervous as to what to do when he may have congestive heart failure or simply pass out.
Can anybody make some recommendations what I can do when the inevitable happens?
post #2 of 13
Has he been to a vet recently? Is he on medication to treat the HCM?
post #3 of 13
Welcome to TheCatSite Christa.
I am so sorry to learn about your kitty's diagnosis of CM.
We have several members who have experience with this disease so keep checking back.

Would you tell us a little bit about your kitty?
post #4 of 13
Hi Christa,
I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty's HCM diagnosis. Has he had an cardiac ultrasound to determine the severity of the disease or is he taking any meds?

I have a 4 year old male cat, Peter, who was diagnosed with mild HCM 2 1/2 years ago, after our vet detected a grade 2 heart murmur on two occasions and xrays showed his heart is slightly enlarged. Since then he's been on a low dosage of atenolol daily to regulate his blood pressure and prevent blood clots, along with taking 1/2 baby aspirin twice a week to keep his blood thin. For now, he's going back for annual ultrasounds. The meds seem to being doing the trick because his last ultrasound showed no further progression of the disease. He's due for another ultrasound next month.

Of course our situation's different since Pete's a young guy and the disease was caught early. My advice would be to consult with your vet and feline cardiologist if you haven't already on what you can expect. You may also want to check out this online support group for folks whose cats have heart disease. I've found it to be very helpful:

Good luck with your sweet boy. Feel free to PM me if you need anything at all.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Springer is partially Maine Coon, who are prone to this disease. He is 13 years old and has been in good shape throughout his life until his disease kicked in. Since May this year, I have been giving him furosemide (Lasix) twice a day and some meds for hypothyrodism also twice a day.
The furosemide is to help with fluids in his lungs though the gaging attacks seem to be getting more frequent as time passes.
He is finicky with food now and has lost quite a bit of weight. For the first 2-3 months of taking meds he was losing a full handful of hair daily.

I figure as long as I can engage him in play we are good.
I will not prolong his life with meds; I don't support this neither for humans nor animals. So, I do expect that the time to put him down could very well be within the prognosed next 7 months. I just don't want him to be in pain until that point.
post #6 of 13
I contacted eilcon and asked her to share her experience with her kitty Peter.
As she mentioned, Pete's HCM seems to be under control at this time.

It sounds like you have a good understanding of Springer's needs.
He is a lucky kitty that you care so deeply.
We are here for you and Springer.
post #7 of 13
I'm so sorry about your kitty. It sounds like you are doing everything possible for him to enjoy whatever time he has left - it really is about quality of life and you sound like you have a positive understanding of that. I would just keep up with regular vet visits and discuss any changes or concerns with the vet as they come up. I had never heard of HCM until I had a 4 year old cat who died suddenly from it many years ago. We found him on his cat tree in our big window where he liked to hang out - the vet thought he had passed a blood clot and probably never even knew what happened. It was really like he had died in his sleep - so there was no suffering that we could determine. We had an autopsy done since we had no idea what had happened to him and that's when we got the news about the HCM. The vet said that many times it goes undiagnosed, and a young, otherwise healthy cat will just die for no apparent reason when it is really HCM. You sound like a compassionate person - you will know when it is time to let him go if it doesn't just happen on its own like it did with my Barney. I'm sure Springer knows how much he is loved - bless you both.
post #8 of 13
Where do you live? There are animal cardiologists that could potentially help you. I know a good animal cardiologist in the Bay Area.
post #9 of 13
My cat has HCM, but it's been under control due to atenolol.

I second the advice to consult with your veterinary cardiologist, or get the cat to one if he hasn't been recently. The cardiologist is the only one who can really discuss the disease's progression, tell you what to expect, and help you decide on course of action. There may be medications that would make him more comfortable... it could be that the lasix isn't the right medication for him anymore, and a different one is in order.
post #10 of 13
I am sorry about Springer's condition. It sounds as if you are doing a great job of making him comfortable. I would agree with the others, just continue to speak with the vet about changes in his condition and I think that everyone here will agree that you can see it in their eyes when they are too tired to carry on.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your kind words.
I do wish that he just passes away without pain.
My cardiologist did not even suggest any further treatment; she described the severety as a 9 out of 10, so truly all we can do is make life as pleasant as can be for the remaining time he has.
He was teased by 2 squirrels this morning that danced 7 to 15 feet right in front of him; that still got him excited.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by christac View Post
He was teased by 2 squirrels this morning that danced 7 to 15 feet right in front of him; that still got him excited.
Every moment with Springer is so precious.
You are well loved sweet Springer.
post #13 of 13
Thinking of you and Springer.
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