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My Patch has an enlarged heart

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi This is about my little boy Patch. He started out with a murmur. They said it was a 2-3 grade. When I took him to the Vet for a UTI, they found that his murur got worse, it definitely went to a 3. I had an echocardiagram done and it turns out he has a moderate to severe enlargement of the heart. She gave me a prescription of 1/4 tablet every 12 hours of Atenolol, plus 1/4 baby aspirin every 3 days, how do you cut a tieeny tiny pill into 1/4's They took xrays found it to be enlarged but no signs of congestive heart failure and is not hypertensive. Does any one have experience with this? He's 5 years old. The Vet said that he wouldn't be one of those cats that live to be 20 and wouldn't commit (which I understand completely) to how long. I don't know exactly what I'm trying to ask here except probably encouragement that he could still live a long life. He's my sweet little boy. Thank you.
post #2 of 17
Hi again, aswient! Seems like we only "meet up" over chronic health issues!

You already know that I'm a strong advocate for online groups that specialize in specific chronic health conditions....these are groups of kitty-parents who have been educating themselves about these conditions, sharing their experiences and managing their own cats' health condition for years. Members of these groups have come to realize that their collective experiences and knowledge often far outweigh that of anyone's individual Vet. Many cats' lives have been saved through the sugestions made by the group - when those suggestions are then shared with the cat's own Veterinarian.

There is one such group dealing with heart conditions at this link. I'm sure you and Patch will be warmly welcomed there and that you will find others who have gone through - and are going through - the enlarged heart/murmur issue. I'm confident that Patch will benefit.

(These groups will not take you away from here...and I, for one, would like to hear back from you about what those people have to say.)

(On a personal note, four years ago, I lost the little love of my life shortly after his diagnosis with FeLV. I lost him far too soon due to the incompetence of a Veterinarian and my ignorance of both the disease and of the online resources, like these groups. If only I would have known....)

Almost forgot...cutting up the baby aspirin...there are pill cutters/splitters (like these) available. Your pharmacy may sell them - or, you might consider asking a favour of your pharmacist and have them do it as a courtesy to you.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your response, This has not been a very good month for my furry guys. I am going to go into your link now. Also, very good idea to ask the pharmacy if they would cut them for me, because when I do it some of the pieces are bigger or smaller then others, so its kind of hard.

Thank you so much again.
post #4 of 17
Sorry to hear about you kitty. I don't have experience with an enlarged heart, but I do with other heart conditions. My best advice would be to take him to and build a relationship with a veterinary cardiologist. They have a wealth of knowledge far greater than any "general" vet. Also, your vet or a pharmacist should be able to quarter the aspirin for you if you ask.
post #5 of 17
for Patch.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
whiteforest

Thank you, I will see about bringing him to a cardiologist, your right, that is their specialty

Kittieshasme

Thank you for your good wishes for him.
post #7 of 17
I lost my Sugar Ray almost a year ago from DCM--Dilated Cardiomyopathy. I was an idiot--totally unprepared--didn't recognize any of the symptoms. I would guess he was about 8 to 9 years old. A male cat and just the right age from what I later found out. I have also read that if you catch these things early before too much damage is done they will live for years and years.

Yes, the aspirin are a pain to split. I used one of those pill cutters--never thought to ask a pharmacist to do it for me--that's a great idea! By the time we caught it Sugar had almost died and I began giving him medication 6 times a day. He ran when he saw me coming. My heart broke. But it sounds like you have caught it early and I have read of many cats that live many, many years after the diagnosis. Did the vet say DCM or HCM or put a name to it?
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kody's Mom View Post
I lost my Sugar Ray almost a year ago from DCM--Dilated Cardiomyopathy. I was an idiot--totally unprepared--didn't recognize any of the symptoms. I would guess he was about 8 to 9 years old. A male cat and just the right age from what I later found out. I have also read that if you catch these things early before too much damage is done they will live for years and years.

Yes, the aspirin are a pain to split. I used one of those pill cutters--never thought to ask a pharmacist to do it for me--that's a great idea! By the time we caught it Sugar had almost died and I began giving him medication 6 times a day. He ran when he saw me coming. My heart broke. But it sounds like you have caught it early and I have read of many cats that live many, many years after the diagnosis. Did the vet say DCM or HCM or put a name to it?

He has HCM, thank you so much for the encouraging words, I hope he will live for years and years. my heart is breaking also, he's such a sweet little guy. I'm so sorry about your little guy.
post #9 of 17
Know that I will be thinking of you and Patch. Sugar Ray was our first cat and I had read that cats lived longer than dogs (big dogs at least, and that is what I had always had), and I had told myself we would grow old together.

You are very lucky to have caught it early, before too much damage was done. Sugar was already in congestive heart failure when we rushed him in. His heart was so damaged, but we did everything we could as long as there was some chance he would be happy.

Anyway, I really do think that since you got help before there was too much damage to Patch's heart, he will be one of the lucky ones.

Now I worry, because we adopted Kody last year and after I got him home and started doing research into Bengals, I have read that HCM is more prevalent in the Bengal breed than in other cats. The Yahoo group another poster mentioned above does have alot of information in it.

Every day we have our angels is a gift.

Anne
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
You're right every day is a gift with them. It might not ever happen to Kody but now that you are more knowledgeable because of your other little one you can better be prepared to catch something early on.
post #11 of 17
I can't believe that one year later I did a search for an enlarged heart and found this again.......
I took Kody in for a cough on Friday. He didn't have a temperature, and is eating like a horse, but the vet did a chest Xray and found an enlarged heart. As he had to be given an anesthetic for the chest Xray, the vet recommended that he do an ultrasound. The ultrasound and Xrays were sent on to a cardiologist and both the vet and cardiologist told me that the measurements do not show an indication of cardiomyopathy.

Yet he still has an enlarged heart (and no reason for a cough). They recommended that Kody come back in 6 months for another chest XRay to check heart size again. The vet told me that sometimes a cat can just have fat around the heart that makes it appear enlarged..Has anyone heard of this? Kody is a 4 1/2 year old male Bengal, weighs 13.1 lbs. and is not at all overweight.
post #12 of 17
Has he been tested for heartworms?
post #13 of 17
The vet did not mention that, but Kody has always been on heartworm preventative. Wouldn't the X rays or something have shown that?
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kody's Mom View Post
I can't believe that one year later I did a search for an enlarged heart and found this again.......
I took Kody in for a cough on Friday. He didn't have a temperature, and is eating like a horse, but the vet did a chest Xray and found an enlarged heart. As he had to be given an anesthetic for the chest Xray, the vet recommended that he do an ultrasound. The ultrasound and Xrays were sent on to a cardiologist and both the vet and cardiologist told me that the measurements do not show an indication of cardiomyopathy.

Yet he still has an enlarged heart (and no reason for a cough). They recommended that Kody come back in 6 months for another chest XRay to check heart size again. The vet told me that sometimes a cat can just have fat around the heart that makes it appear enlarged..Has anyone heard of this? Kody is a 4 1/2 year old male Bengal, weighs 13.1 lbs. and is not at all overweight.
Hi Kody's Mom,
I'm so sorry to read this post. I lost my beloved Sphynx boy, Harold, to HCM last year. Like you mentioned earlier in the thread, it was diagnosed after he was in CHF and much too late to reverse the damage to his poor heart, though trust me when I tell you I tried everything I could to save him! (As with Bengals, HCM is very prevalent among the Sphynx breed, too). Reading through your old posts from last year, my story sounds a lot like yours...

Skip ahead to this year - I have 4 more Sphynx and being an overprotective cat-mom, have had all of them scanned for HCM to ease my mind. One of them (Nelson) has to go back in 6 months because he has enlarged papillary muscles. The cardiologist says, it's not HCM, but it's equivocal...we can't rule it out yet so rescan in 6 months to see if his values have changed. (i.e. if his heart is getting any bigger). If they are the same in 6 months, we can rule out HCM for now.

This brings me to my question for you... Did you have an echocardiogram done on Kody or just an ultrasound? Meaning, does the cardiologist have a set of values or measurements to use as a comparison for the next scan in 6 months? If not, I highly recommend having an echo done. That way you'll have baseline measurements to compare and you'll know if his heart is increasing in size. Though x-rays and ultrasounds can give a good indication, an echo is the only TRUE way to diagnose or rule out cardiomyopathy.

To give you an example, my friend's cat, Timmy, was born with a serious heart defect, not expected to live past kittenhood. Amazingly, he's 9 years old now, but was recently sick. My friend took him to the vet, they did x-rays and saw his enormous heart and fluid in his lungs. Immediately assumed cardiomyopathy (which would be the obvious diagnosis) and put him on a series of heart meds (lasix, atenolol, you know these names...) Anyhow, he didn't improve until my friend insisted that wasn't what was wrong with him, found a vet that gave her the benefit of the doubt and treated him for his actual problem - pneumonia! My point, it's very easy to misdiagnose without the benefit of the most accurate test.

I truly do hope your vet is right about Kody just having fat around his heart - that's not anything I'm familiar with. Is that what your vet is attributing to his cough? Has he offered up any plan to lose the fat around the heart or does he think it's okay?

I think I would be heading to a cardiologist for a second opinion.
Best of luck to you and Kody! Please keep us updated. Fingers are crossed!!
post #15 of 17
Hi aswient. My cat too has an enlarged heart. He was diagnosed about 3 years ago, at age 16, prior to having radioactive iodine therapy for his hyperthyroidism. A year later they did a repeat echocardiogram due to a grade 4/5 heart murmur that subsequently disappeared. He's also on 1/4 tablet of Atenolol and 1/2 tablet of Enalapril. They did not put him on aspirin and I'm not sure why. He has also been obese, except for when he had hyperthyroidism. I try to control his food intake but just cannot seem to get his weight down. The vet and cardiologist said that decreasing his was the most important thing I could do as it stresses the heart. He doesn't get much of any exercise because of bad arthritis. My other cat is on Enalapril and aspirin for her heart murmur. We did not do an echo on her. The vet said that the grade of the heart murmur does not really correspond to the severity of the disease. At age 19, he's still holding on with just the typical problems of aging. So an enlarged heart is not a death sentence and hopefully, since you caught it early and and treating it, your cat can live a long and healthy life. Good luck!
post #16 of 17

I'm glad I found this site.  I've been crying all day since I was told one of my fur babies showed an enlarged heart on the x-ray.  I feel more encouraged now.

 

We are going to run a Cardiopet proBNP test which is supposed to detect cardiomyopathy. It's a fairly new test. I am going to request an echo as well.

post #17 of 17
TwoBlackCats.gif to TCS!

Jamie's HCM was first discovered using the Cardiopet proBNP test. He was diagnosed a little over two years ago and put on an ACE inhibitor. He had no trouble till this past Halloween, when he went into congestive heart failure, and a beta blocker, diuretic and aspirin had to be added to the mix. There's no cure, but the condition can be managed for a while.

You should check out the Yahoo group linked in post #2 - the people there are very helpful.
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