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Heart Disease Diagnosis-what went wrong...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Greetings all. I want to share my story because I've learned something and maybe can share it so this can possibly be avoided, or at least watched for with others...and take great care in making sure any sick kitties adopted are completely well before interacting with the already existing kitties of the home.

I have posted recently about concerns my five year old cat, Max, was not recovering quickly enough from what my vet diagnosed as fever and baceterial infection - from what and how, not sure. He has always been healthy, until recently. Actually, until I adopted Odell.

Max was treated with antibiotics over Christmas, but just wasn't himself. He was very sick, and didn't show much improvement, though his fever went away. I took him to the vet last week to make sure the fever was gone, and he heard a heart murmur, and suggested that Max see a cardiologist to check that out. I had to arrange my finances, and was hoping Max would continue to perk up without having to go see the cardiologist and do the ultrasound, but last night he jumped up to his food bowl and basically fainted, then was very stumbly for a while, but recovered. I called the specialist first thing this morning and he could see him this afternoon.

Long story short, after careful review of Max's records, a thorough exam and an ultra sound of his heart, the diagnosis is Heart Disease with features of HCM and Endomyocarditis. His theory is that when I got my new kitten from the humane society in early October and that kitten came with a URI, even though kitten was treated, and kept separate from max for three weeks, Max contracted a severe URI from Odell the kitten in early November--( and was treated). The specialist thinks this viral infection, combined with the stress of the new kitten and an update on his shots right before kitten came home basically damaged his heart.

OMG. I got the kitten FOR Max, and instead, it has ended up damaging Max.
We lost our fourteen year old kitty buddy, Ike, in Sept, and I was worried about Max being lonely.

The humane society knew Odell was sick when I picked him up, but I had NO idea of the potential disaster it would turn into.

Ok, so - Max is being treated with Atenolol twice a day, and a half baby aspirin every 48 hours. I gave him his meds this afternoon and he fainted again - and the pill giving is NOT a big deal for him (i don't have to force him or anything). He seems better now. I am going to call the doc tomorrow just double check on the possible arrthymia and if that should improve as he gets meds in his system.

The vet said that it is ok for Max and Odell to be together now that "the damage is done". I am going to wait a bit longer and till I feel better about Max.

I will continue to love and care for both Max and Odell, but I cannot stress how disappointed I am that this has happened. Max deserves better.

Please be careful when adopting a cat with any symptoms of URI. I know most people on this board probably know this, but I had NO idea. And i was CAREFUL with introducting them, waiting three full weeks before letting them be together....even for just a little while.

whew. that's my story. I hope that Max responds to the meds. I realize, and the doctor did say, this is a gray area, his situation is a little unusual from what he usually sees, and that may have to make adjustments. He did not give me an idea on how long a life I can expect with Max, and at this point, each additional day is a blessing.
(Any info anybody with a kitty with heart issues can share would be welcoem also...)

Melissa, Max and Odell
post #2 of 11
It is very difficult to adopt a cat from a shelter, or rescue group, because there is no security that they are 100% well. The first cat I adopted had UTI, but got better. The second one seemed really well, but after 3 days we discovered she had cocidia, and had to be at the vet for the weekend , she reocvered also. I was really upset for a while, but I got over it. I know my cats didn't have what max has, and I have no answer how to help him, but I do think we should never stop adopting animals from shelters because we had bad experiences. I hope Max feels better and the meds. help. Good luck Cat.!
post #3 of 11
Melissa, I'm so sorry this happened. I was unaware that it was possible for HCM to result from a bacterial infection. Is it possible that Max had this condition BEFORE you adopted Odell, and it was only discovered because he became ill?

I've had my youngest cat checked by several different vets who never heard a heart murmur, with the exception of one. It nagged at me that no one but this particular vet heard the murmur, so I decided to take my little guy to a board-certified cardiologist for an exam and ultrasound. In just a few seconds he heard a slight heart murmur, and the ultrasound diagnosed a mild case of HCM. I was stunned since he seemed perfectly healthy. He happens to be close in age to Max. Certain breeds of cats are genetically prone to this condition, and it most often shows up in young males.

I'll ask my cardiologist about the possibility of this kind of heart damage from an infection since he never mentioned that.

I'm glad you're still going to love and care for little Odell - after all, it wasn't his fault that he was ill and things turned out this way. You're a kind, loving person to understand that (too many people wouldn't and would bring him back to the shelter).
I hope Max will continue to improve and that he and Odell will be brothers for many years.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
catlover, i would never EVER recommend that people stop adopting from shelters! I hope that did not come across. I just would recommend taking major precautions if adopted kitty has any sickly symptoms!

KTLynn - actually, the cardiologists theory is that Max did NOT have a bacterial infection - that the fever and lethargy were caused by inflammation! BUT, the inflammation was caused possibly be stress/the virus he got from Odell/Again, the cardiologist is having to theorize from pulling together info and the ultra sound results.

I love lil Odell, and of course i would NEVER EVER return him! perish the thought.

Thanks for yalls good thoughts. This is a learning process, for sure. Cats are the most magical creatures and I realize now that I have been fortunate to have had kitties with wonderful health in the past...
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
unfortunately, Max died from heart failure this past Monday. Actually, he was suffering from heart failure, and my vet put him to sleep. I am completely heartbroken. Everything went downhill very fast starting Friday - back legs went out, then came back, then lungs started filling with fluid. The cardio specialist was awesome, working with me over the weekend, but it was not to be.

From the reading I have done - I have come to think it's possible that Max had this underlying condition...and it was exacerbated by the virus and stress.

He was a fabulous kitty. He will be missed like crazy. I still can't believe he is gone.

hug your kitties, everybody...

melissa and odell
post #6 of 11
I am so very sorry ((((((((Melissa))))))),

It is so sad when something that should have been so right went so wrong. Take care of yourself and Odell during this time of Grief. My prayers are with you both and with Max over the Rainbow Bridge where his 'heart' is now strong and whole.

post #7 of 11
I am so sorry for you over the loss of Max. You must be asking yourself what you could have done to prevent it, but it is obvious from your posts that this was an act of fate, and you did all the right things. Some things are just not meant to turn out right. May you find comfort soon.
post #8 of 11
Oh Melissa! I just read this thread, and I am so, so sorry for your loss of Max. What a heartbreaking story! Hugs to you and your little Odell!
post #9 of 11
Melissa, I'm so sorry to hear about Max.
post #10 of 11
Oh, Melissa, this is so tragic! I'm so very sorry you lost your precious Max to this horrible illness. You were so wonderful to come share his story with us in order to help us prevent the tragedy from ever occurring with our babies. You must be absolutely heartbroken. If only there were words to say. I'm just so sorry.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
thank you so much, everyone, for your kind words and thoughts. I had no idea about the possibility of heart disease in cats, and I was forced to learn too much, too quickly in a very rough way. If I can ever share any knowledge with anyone i wil lbe happy to. Many kitties are able to live good lives with heart disease. Max just had a variation and combination of things that could not be helped or fixed.

I am indeed heartbroken over the loss of Max. However, I would not have traded the time I had with him for anything. I know that he was destined to be my kitty and I his person. sounds hokey, but it's completely the case. i'm feeling more peace as the days pass...but i still find myself in disbelief...whew.

thanks again for the sweet words and thoughts,
melissa and odell
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