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My cat was diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi,

  My cat was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  I don't want to go into all of the details, he is being managed on meds now,etc.  The main issue I am having right now is that my anxiety is out of control since this all took place.  He was in ICU for two nights, and I couldn't sleep or eat.  Now that he's home, I spend most waking minutes watching every breath he takes, and watching for changes in his behavior.  I'm obsessed with this and can't seem to distract myself unless I'm away from the house.  I'm scared to death, waiting for the incident to repeat itself again.  In addition to the emotional stress is the financial stress this has imposed.  I know he picks up on my emotions, so I don't want him to feel my anxiety, but don't know how to turn it off.  I've taken sedatives when it's really out of control, but I don't want to do this every day.  I want to let him just "be a cat" for whatever time he has left, but I seem to just spend my days waiting for the inevitable.  How do others cope with this situation?  I've lost pets before, and even had a cat with chronic kidney failure.  I was able to forget about his disease (except on the days he needed fluids at the vet) and he lived happily, well-beyond his time.  However, knowing how dire this heart situation is, I just don't know how to stop thinking about it, and preparing my mind for how I will deal with it when it happens again.  Also, not knowing when it will happen is like a "ticking time bomb."  I'm afraid to go anywhere for fear it will happen while I'm not at home.  My husband deals with this much better than I do, but I can't seem to follow his behavoir.  Please, any suggestions from anyone else who has gone through this?

post #2 of 23

A big gin?  Some friends to talk to on the phone or in person?  It is very stressful haivng an ill cat, but for the cat you need to find a way to deal with the stress.

 

Another thought - can you think of why this time you are finding it so hard, compared to the CRF kittey for example?

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I do have a couple of friends I talk to, but it doesn't seem to help with the anxiety.  I don't know why this feels so different than many years ago when my other cat was diagnosed with CRF.  I don't remember how or why I was able to cope with it differently.  I've suffered a lot of loss, and I think it may simply be the anxiety of knowing it's going to happen again.  I lost a sister, brother and father all in a 5 yr. period.  My sister and brother were in their 30's.  That's a whole other story, but I think it may be related to what I am feeling now.  I just want to give my cat all of the love I can while he's still here, without the fear.  I don't want him to feel different because of me.  I think I am very afraid of how and when it will happen.  I live in a small mountain town, and the nearest emergency clinic is close to an hour away.  It was awful when we had to take him there before, he doesn't travel well at all, and I had to fight to get him in the carrier.  It's VERY stressful to him!  He foams at the mouth, his eyes roll up in his head, he pants.  I was afraid he wouldn't even make it to the vet's office.  I am so afraid that will be his last memory at some point.  Everything is just so unknown.  The other fear is that I won't be here, and he'll suffer alone.  It's all so scary.  I think with my other cat I just blocked out the bad thoughts and was in a state of denial.

post #4 of 23

Hey.  Hope you are doing better.  I'm going on month 4 with my Rocky who is in CHF.  At first, I was like you.  But it got better.  I know it is going to happen eventually and I try not to read the internet too much because it is depressing.  I just follow the vets orders and make sure he has his medicine.  I will be lost when it happens, so I try not to think about it now and enjoy him while I can.  Good luck.  I hope he/she was able to see a cardiologist?  

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your words of encouragement.  I'm so glad you are able to enjoy time with Rocky.  I am doing better.  It's been over a month now, and Tabby is doing very well.  In fact,  he's very playful this week!  I know the stress is hard on his heart, but he is so happy running around and playing, I just want him to enjoy what time he has.  I am like you, I stopped reading the Internet because it was too depressing and it wasn't going to change anything.  I am just giving him extra love and affection, and enjoying every minute I can with him.  And yes, he had an echocardiogram (sp?) done when he was in ICU for two nights.  The medicine seems to be helping him a lot right now.  He is very content, and I am very grateful for every minute I have with him.  Best of luck to you and Rocky! :)

post #6 of 23

Glad to hear he is feeling better.  I let Rocky play as hard as he wants, also.  I'd rather him have fun.  He feels much better than before the whole situation, which kind of makes me feel bad that it didn't get caught before hand.  But I took him to the vet all the time and they didn't catch it either..so....  lol He is going crazy attacking the rug right now.  Love him so much!    I'll be thinking about you and Tabby as we all go through this journey.   Yes, we have to enjoy them while we can.  Last night was the first time I cried since he was diagnosed.  It is so weird sometimes to think about, BUT sort of glad I know so I can love and spoil him and really appreciate every moment instead of it happening out of nowhere and feeling any regret.  

 

(((HUGS)))

post #7 of 23

Here's what I know about our cat and CHF... I am not a doctor...

In April of 2010, our then 9 year old cat Elmo was diagnosed with a grade 1 heart murmur, he went to the cardiologist where we would follow up the next year for another exam. One year later he was having issues with lack of appetite. We took him to vet, who referred us back to cardiologist, who diagnosed CHF. The issues with this are fluid in the cavity, and the possibility of blood clots - obviously both of which can be painful and very problematic. The cardiologist did not give us a prognosis, but another vet did - and he said " 6 months to 24 months at the most..."...

This was devastating to us being a childless couple and our world revolving around out two cats, and this was the younger one. We started medications, which took us on an rough journey of what was the best way to give pills to a cat and not stress the whole house out. What we settled on was clear capsules with all of his medication in it, and put at the back of the mouth with a pill popper. He wasn't crazy about it but it was better than anything else we had tried. (Financially, fortunate to have pet health insurance. Cardiologist bill was was $2200 in 2011, insurance paid 70% of that to us in reimbursement).

I heard a vet on Animal Planet say years ago when dealing with a terminal illness, make a list of the three favorite things your pet likes to do, maybe a certain food treat, a certain game or toy, some special activity - when your pet gets to the point they are no longer interested in doing those things, "It may be time to consider bringing them in..."

We went from April to November with the twice a day medication and he did fairly well. Around Thanksgiving, he lost some weight and had a real active week. He looked the best he had in awhile, cried for meals, and seemed to be doing real good. This was the calm before the storm. Looking back I think that he was showing signs of being uncomfortable by Saturday. By Sunday he was inactive and stopped eating. He seemed bloated also, consistent with the fluid retention.

By Monday morning he wasn't moving or eating, just staring, and we realized were at the end. The medications were not doing the work anymore and he wasn't going to make it out of this. The realization of euthanasia was absolutely horrible. We spent about 2 hours talking to him as a couple and stroking him. My wife took him to be put to sleep, everyone handles things differently and I am not one who would do well being present for that. 

The next morning was one of the worst mornings in my life. Sometime into that Tuesday and continuing into Thursday I had terrible issues with second guessing the euthanasia. By late Thursday, my vet wrote me a heartfelt email that said second guessing was normal, and if we had brought him in for more treatment, her guess was with his condition, they might have been able to keep him alive for 3 days or so in the animal hospital - but our private time with him would have been little. She was convinced this was the end for him and we did the right thing at the right time.  That email, and post on this site (at the Rainbow Bridge area) by Gareth about euthanasia and your cat, both helped me tremendously.

The whole process, is easily one of the worst things that has ever happened in my life.

I wish I could bring you better news, but at some point, please read the post by Gareth...

I hope something here helps...

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks, it's interesting you mentioned how much better Rocky is feeling.  Tabby seems to be feeling much better since he's been on meds.  His activity level has increased, and he is also running around, attacking the rug and even jumping up at me as I walk by and attacking my leg!  I'm just enjoying him as much as I can for as long as I can right now.  I love him so dearly, as you do your Rocky. :)  There's nothing like my fur baby to make me feel better at the end of the day! 

post #9 of 23

I have a Persian male kitty who is the same color as your boy Tabby.....so cute btw! I worship every hair on my boy and have had a similiar anxiety about his failing heart. The medication he takes has helped his energy come back, he seems so happy. There are days when he coughs a lot, at which point I just give all the more kisses. It can be scary and sometimes I cry but I know I need to be strong for him.

 

The fact is this, these boys of ours could literally pass on at any moment OR they could live on for five more years, we just don't know. I stopped getting my boy ultrasounds each year and only give him a pill once a day so I really don't have many expenses when it comes to his condition. Meds only cost about $30 for a six month supply (1800petmeds). My new vet switched him to Benazepril 2.5ml/day and he seems to be doing much better. He was taking Diazepam and Enalapril (Spellings?) but it did not seem to help and my new vet thought those meds were outdated.

 

The only advice I can give is to give Tabby lots of love and kisses every day and enjoy him. He is so happy that you chose him and that you and your family love him. This is all he wants...love. I promise you that he is happy and is not scared to pass when his time comes. Only humans fear death, not animals. I have heard from medians that animals don't really understand the difference between death and life so they are always here with us. :-)

 

Thank you for taking good care of your boy Tabby, you are wonderful people. 

post #10 of 23

Btw, I did have another Persian who passed on from heart failure, only I did not even know she had a failing heart. Bella was fine all day and then laid on my bed and was breathing funny- she was very lethargic. She very peacefully passed on when I was driving to the emergency vet. Same thing happened to my mom's cat. I think that when the time comes for Tabby and my other Persian (Buggy), they will also just become lethargic and go to sleep. Don't worry that Tabby will be in pain. It seems to be a rather mellow way to go. 

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for you kind and encouraging words!  Since I last posted, Tabby has spent another night in ICU and had one more emergency trip to the local vet.  His breathing became rapid and labored again, and it always seems to happen when my regular vet is closed.  It's a 45 min. trip to the ER for him, and he does NOT travel well.  They gave him intraveneous Lasix and kept him overnight.  He was much better and his lungs clearer the next morning, and I brought him home.  They increased his lasix and so far he has been doing much better on the increased dosage.  He is also on benazepril.  The regular vet did send me home with some syringes of liquid lasix in case his breathing becomes labored again.  It works a little faster than the pill form he is on.  I can't keep up the emergency trips.  I have over $2,500 into this so far, it's financially devastating.  The meds are the least of my financial concerns.  However, he has been staying outside most of the day when it's warm out.  We've had unseasonable temps in the 50's to 60's here in Colorado lately.  Today it is finally snowing, so he's inside.  I know he feels good when he goes outside.  When he's not out, he's purring on my shoulder or lap.  He is the love of my life and has been an unbelievable companion to me for 9 yrs. now.  I can't imaging my life without him, so I try now not to think about it.  I know it can happen any time, so I don't want to spend the time we have thinking about it.  I will have to face it when it happens, and not one second before.  I'm glad to hear your kitty is doing so well on the meds.  It's so nice to hear from other people on this site who are faced with the same difficulties.  It's also wonderful to know that so many people care so deeply for their four legged companions.  Best of luck to you and your kitty cat, thank you again for your kind words. :)

post #12 of 23

Having been through this twice before, I know the anxiety.  You are right to cherrish all the time you have with your sweet boy.

 

You will be in my prayers.

 

God bless.

post #13 of 23

hi i have just joined this site, as I m trying to donate all the pills I have got left from TC. TC had acromegaly for 3 years which in time caused him to have kidney failure and CHF, he was on a lot of different medications. I have tried to give them to local shelters but somehow they are not allowed to accept medications from others sources than vet/hospitals. so anyway I know how expensive all those pills are and it will be a shame to see them going to waste. I d like to mention that im in edinburgh,uk if someone wants to pick up locally otherwise I can just send them to you . if anyone is interested , let me know!

post #14 of 23

I'm so sorry you lost your TC. hugs.gif    I know how frustrating it is when you want to help other cats out by donating medication, and no one can take them. sigh.gif  Same with people medication.  It's such a shame to see all that go to waste.  

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tobermory View Post

hi i have just joined this site, as I m trying to donate all the pills I have got left from TC. TC had acromegaly for 3 years which in time caused him to have kidney failure and CHF, he was on a lot of different medications. I have tried to give them to local shelters but somehow they are not allowed to accept medications from others sources than vet/hospitals. so anyway I know how expensive all those pills are and it will be a shame to see them going to waste. I d like to mention that im in edinburgh,uk if someone wants to pick up locally otherwise I can just send them to you . if anyone is interested , let me know!

 

It might help if you list them - what they are, what strength, how many.  Also most people here seem to be from the US and you need a UK group of people to rehome the pills.

post #16 of 23
yes i realised that most people where from the us once i signed up :-) i think the price of shipping would not be worth it but i got mainly some lasix 20mg.prilactone 80mg. Fortekor 5mg.vetmedin
post #17 of 23
tobermory, sorry to hear of your loss. My cat was diagnosed just today with the very same. And i'm working away from home until tomorrow, so my DH (darling husband) is left in charge till i get home. What to do, eh? Are we kinder to see them off to cat heaven or do we persevere? Its s tough one for me right now as it hasnt had time to sink in. Have started medication anyway, wouldn't have it any other way. They are not pets, they are little people in fur coats that take over our hearts and lives! I hope you are doing okay sister xx
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by janicem1 View Post

tobermory, sorry to hear of your loss. My cat was diagnosed just today with the very same. And i'm working away from home until tomorrow, so my DH (darling husband) is left in charge till i get home. What to do, eh? Are we kinder to see them off to cat heaven or do we persevere? Its s tough one for me right now as it hasnt had time to sink in. Have started medication anyway, wouldn't have it any other way. They are not pets, they are little people in fur coats that take over our hearts and lives! I hope you are doing okay sister xx

Hi Janice and welcome to The Cat Site! wavey.gif

My mother's cat went into Congestive heart failure about a year and a half ago and she is still with us. smile.gif There are a fair number of us on here that have dealt with cats with this condition. smile.gif Please do not hesitate to start a thread of your own if you have any questions or just need some support. smile.gif
post #19 of 23

Hello,

 

My kitty recently passed away unexpectedly. She apparently had CHF too. The vet gave her a large Sub-Q shot and she died only 23 hours later. She was not terminal. The vet should not have administered that shot. She should have been treated for CHF instead. The vet insisted not to x-ray her and gave her a blood test and a diabetes test . Well, now my sweet kitty, Domino is gone. I noticed that your cat looks overweight or bloated. So did mine. I can't post a pic but you can e-mail me and I can share some pics with you. I am 1caractere at gmail dot com

post #20 of 23

How is Tabby doing???? I noticed you have not posted in awhile. Is he okay??

post #21 of 23

Dear bgregory, My baby Jake was just diagnosed with CHF late last night at the emergency room. I 100% TOTALLY UNDERSTAND HOW YOU FEEL!!! I Can't have children so my cat is my child and he comes first in my life before EVERYONE!!!!! You and I are very alike if my Jake can be weaned off oxygen and is able to return home I KNOW I'm going to have extreme anxiety worrying that he will go back into CHF and will have to go back to the hospital and like you I'm going to have trouble affording his care so I'm GOING TO DO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TO PREVENT HIM FROM GOING BACK INTO IT!!! I know that you and I SHOULDN'T have so much anxiety but until a pet parent goes through such a difficult and scary event they CAN'T FULLY UNDERSTAND WHERE WE'RE COMING FROM!! I'll keep you and your baby in my prayers.

post #22 of 23

I'm also childless and my baby Jake was just diagnosed late last night with CHF. He was admitted and put on oxygen and Lasix. Today the vet said they're having trouble weaning him from the oxygen. I'M SOOO DEVASTAED BY THIS, HE'S MY WORLD!!! EVEN MY HUSBAND KNOWS THAT JAKE COMES FIRST!!!! I'm just VERY GREATFUL that he came into our lives in 2000  and has a GREAT LIFE and is VERY SPOILED!!!! I'm sooo afraid that he's going to have to be put to sleep today but I CAN'T LET HIM SUFFER AND NOT HAVE A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE!!!!  I honestly THANK GOD FOR BRINGING US TOGETHER!!!!! If he is able to make it home just a bgregory I'll let him be outside a lot where he's happiest and he will be spoiled even more!!!!! I HATE THIS PART OF LIFE!!!!!! But I'm just trying to focus on ALL the FUN the three of us have had and how happy he and I make each other. I'm thankful that I found this site and that EVERYONE IS SOOO SUPPORTIVE AND UNDERSTANDING!!!! MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND ALL YOUR BABIES!!!! 

post #23 of 23

HI, I was just wondering how your cat is doing since you posted here 6 months ago. My 2 year old cat was diagnosed with congestive heart failure last month (he actually would have died the same day had I not taken him to the vet), but now that he's on medication he is doing much better. But I can't help but wonder how much time he will have left, especially since he progressed so quickly at such a young age. His heart is doing better now but his left atria is "near severe" dilation-wise. I'm a nursing student and I'm already up to $5500 in vet bills. I won't be able to afford another hospitalization, I couldn't even afford the last one, and I'm just afraid he will need to go back to the emergency vet before I graduate.

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