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Rapid Heartbeat - Advice Please?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys, maybe someone could shed some light on a problem I'm encountering?

You should all know by now from my previous posts that K & M had 8 kittens between them (4 each) that they co raised, 5 and a half months ago.

7 of those kittens are doing well. They are thriving. Large, Active, Affectionate, Happy 5 and a half month old kitties. They are good weights for their age, bright eyes, bright coats, and after recovering from some cat flu fairly healthy.

However, one of the 8 has me constantly on edge and concerned. I don't know why, maybe I am over reacting. She has seen a vet on numerous occasions. The Vet has vaccinated her, and has said she shows no signs of dehydration, nor anemia, that she looks bright and alert.

She has no problems with her stools, all but a little dry, she is active, eating on her own, drinking on her own... affectionate... but my instincts are screaming at me...

See, despite all this, the vet weighed her and she weighs at 5 and a half months 1kg which is 2.2lb. you run your hands down her sides and although you can't see it, as she is a tiny cat (she looks like a 3 month old!) you can feel her bones. Her heart rate is rapid, it is really fast.

When she breathes, although she doesn't seem to be having breathing problems (her mouth is closed, her eyes have no mucus, neither does her nose and her airways are clear...) it looks like a huge effort... like a big sigh, is her normal breathing...

She sometimes just sits on the floor hunched up, as if exhausted, but then the next minute she is bounding off to get some food. She does eat but this cat does not eat as much as my other little monsters who seem to gobble anything in sight... she eats only about 30-50grams even if I put down a bowel full, she wont eat it all. I know she is eating small amounts, I have caught her doing so... I have also seen her drinking, and she wouldn't be regularly if she wasn't eating.

I have tried optimum dry, adult and kitten, I have tried whiskers wet, I have tried dice raw and cooked beef, chicken, kangaroo, premium pet minces, hills science diet, snappy tom, and a few others - she still only eats a small amount and doesn't seem to gain much.

She is being kept from the others with me, sleeping in my bed etc because of her small stature, and I think the others would dominate her. She has thrived more being taken away from them. She was NOT the run of the litter, yes she was her mothers youngest kitten, but the runt at the time is now 2 - 3x her size now...

She does not have diarrhea, she isn't vomiting, nor convulsing. She doesn't seem to be loosing weight, and is highly active. No Obvious pain when touching her. No excessive crying... a bit quiet.

I need to know whether I should listen to my local vet, or whether I should take her to sash & their feline specialist ( sash is a small animal specialist hospital, it is a NSW referral clinic that has a doctor that specializes almost primarily in feline medicine.)

I just don't know... maybe I am overeating because of the sudden shock of loosing Shy'el all those months ago... yes she was young, a baby (7 weeks) so much younger, but she was OK one day and then gone the next and no amount of care or money or love could keep her safe or keep her with me, and it haunts me every day of my life, as usually you have warning and can do something about it... but I had none. sigh.

So, does anybody have any suggestions with these symptoms?

1. Rapid Breathing (but not fighting for air, more like big sighs & small heaving of her sides)

2. Rapid Heartbeat (kittens have high heart rates, and maybe its her size, I can feel it more, but its slightly faster than her siblings, even when resting.)

3. Failure to grow at a normal rate / stunted growth (nearly more than half the size of her siblings & cousins)

4. Hunches over occasionally as if exhausted. Although active, gets tired a tad too easy if you know what I mean, compared to the other 7.

5. Sometimes caught with the tip of her tongue sticking out of her mouth.
post #2 of 6
Have you had her thyroid checked? Those were the symptoms, along with blood results near the edges of normal limits, that convinced my vet that Much had hyperthyroidism. Except in Much's case, she had weight loss, instead of a lack of kitten weight gain, as she was an older cat.
post #3 of 6
Or it could be some type of heart problem your local vet is missing. Kittens, like humans, can be born with some heart issues - with things like murmurs, if not too bad the kittens can get better as they get older.

I suggest you trust your instincts, call up that specialist and if they'll listen to you tell them what you've posted here and ask if they want you to come in.

That it's nothing major or that it's at least something that can get better with time.
post #4 of 6
I have a 6 year old cat with the same breathing problem. Her weight is fine. She breathes a breath a minute and its all heaving. She's had every test available and everything comes up clean. The vet has finally said its hereditary. After spending thousands of $ on tests, when she was put under for a teeth cleaning, her breathing went completely normal. Somehow that told the vet it was hereditary I can understand your concern. It can be a very long expensive process finding out what is wrong. Yes I would definately recommend a specialist. My vets referred me to the U of MN right away. I think if i had to start all over again, I would start with the live image. Its expensive but the cost of all the small tests leading up to the live image is just as expensive and you'll most likely have to do the image anyway. You don't mention what you are feeding her. I would probably choose a good quality kitten canned food. The less fillers the better. Not that that is going to help with the breathing but maybe with the weight. Good luck!
post #5 of 6
As a nurse, the symptoms you described SCREAM congenital heart condition to me. Did the vet hear a heart murmur? I'd be willing to bet money that if an Xray was obtained, that her heart would be larger than normal and perhaps has some pulmonary edema too. And the lack of weight gain? Keep her on the kitten food (or switch her to a calorie dense food), she's burning a lot of calories with the rapid breathing.
post #6 of 6
I would take her to the SASH - it sounds as though your vet is missing something that a specialist would probably recognise. There has to be something that's causing it, and I'm sure you'll be much happier once you have a diagnosis
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