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Stewiecat has a heart problem

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
If it's not one thing, it's another. We took our Stewiecat (2 yo longhair orange kitty) to the dermatologist a few weeks ago to have his pads looked at (they have crusty sores). During the checkup the vet couldn't find out what was wrong (he has to do a biopsy), but he discovered a type 3 heart murmur. This progressed in only 2 months as Stew did not have any signs of it when he got his teeth cleaned.

Soooo, off to the cardiologist we went. He was a great vet and the equipment that he used to do the eccocardiogram was amazing. Within minutes he diagnosed what was causing the murmur.

Unfortunately, Stew has an uncurable condition (cardiomyopathy?) where the wall of his left aorta has thickened. This causes the heart to beat faster and some of the blood to rush backwards into his ventricle. It's genetic and there was nothing we could do to prevent it.

Has anyone else here run into this?

The cardiologist said it's really good we caught it early. Humans and cats can have this condition without any symptoms (including murmurs) until it's too late, and they go into heart and respiratory failure. It is very treatable with inexpensive drugs that have practically no side efffects. The vet said he will probably have a long life as long as he stays on these drugs.

We won't know for sure if the drugs work though until Stew goes back to the cardiologist in six months. Then he has to have a yearly eccocardiogram.

I'm really happy the little guy is probably going to be okay and I'm glad his condition is at least treatable, but I feel like a crummy mom. Almost every one of our crew has some kind of chronic problem--we have 2 (now 3) cats and 3 dogs. I expected to run into this sort of thing with some of of our kids (one pup is an amputee and came from an abusive home) or all of them when they became seniors. However, everyone is under 5, they all live indoors, get lots of TLC, vet care and eat good food (Solid Gold).

It really drives me crazy, because everyone else I know rarely has so many problems with their pets--even in a multipet household. I feel like we are doing something wrong. I guess I shouldn't complain and be thankful for what we have, but it's frusterating sometimes.
post #2 of 12
Please don't feel bad. You aren't the only one with bad luck. I was just talking to my vet about this today and we are not alone.

I have a crf cat, a megacolon cat, an asthmatic, two with arthritis and one with a painful oral granuloma. I also lost a cat suddenly due to an undetected cardiomyaphy. Granted some of my kitties are getting old but some aren't. You are very lucky you caught your kitties heart ailment so early

My vet knows other multi-cat families that also have many issues. I know...not really reassuring . But hey, misery loves company LOL
post #3 of 12
It is possible that only the true cat lovers keep cats with chronic problems.

I have a cat with a cardiomyopathy. Taurine supplements and dandelion help tremendously.
post #4 of 12
Please dont feel bad, this is a genetic prob, there was nothing you could have changed. I feel like that at times, cos in 3 years i have had 6 cats, and currently only have 2. My neighbour told me i should expect to have health problems with mine, as they are all seniors, yet he has two senior cats and no probs (well, actually they both have health issues but dont get taken to the vets). I have been to my vets so much that they know my voice when i ring up!! The good thing is that you do care so much for these animals, and didnt abandon them when they got ill.
post #5 of 12
Stewiecat is lucky to have you - imagine if he didnt have anyone that would care for him as well as you did

I hope that the drugs work for him and that he lives a long and happy life - keep us updated on his progress
post #6 of 12
My folks had a cat with a heart murmur. Sometimes the vets had trouble hearing it because he would purr so loudly in their exam rooms. We were not (as far as I remember) offered any treatment options. He lived to be 12 years old without medication. He too was an orange tabby though he had short hair.

As for feeling overwhelmed by cats with medical problems, I can relate completely. I brought home an old stray cat last year, who was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism immediately. He has developed abscesses a few times while living with me (indoors only), one of which lasted two months. He's been through a couple of surgeries. He developed diarrhea that last several weeks that started as a reaction to the antibiotics given for the abscess. Last month I had the I-131 treatment performed for his thyroid problem. When he came home, he stopped eating. I think I've been to the vet at least 20 times since January 1st (and I'm not exaggerating). My other kitty developed cystitis (bladder inflammation), so she has been on medication as well. Half of my medicine cabinet is filled with medication for my two cats.

I agree with shengmei. Only true cat lovers are willing to help their cats through all their problems, so we are just among the dedicated ones who aren't willing to give up on cats who can lead happy (and hopefully eventually healthy) lives.
post #7 of 12
This has scared me. Are abscesses a symptom of hyperthyroidism? Persil has now had two in four months, under her left front leg. The vet did not mention any possible underlying cause.
post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by cloud_shade
I agree with shengmei. Only true cat lovers are willing to help their cats through all their problems, so we are just among the dedicated ones who aren't willing to give up on cats who can lead happy (and hopefully eventually healthy) lives.
I agree with both of you. Most of my life, my cats were fine, no issues what so ever, but old age has been something else. Patrick my 18+ y.o., has had chronic renal failure for 3 years now (and has hypert), and my second oldest, Tyler, in the past year, has had surgery for calcium oxalate stones, has a murmur, is just recently diagnosed with hypert, early crf, high bp, and uveitis plus an eye ulcer (!) - though to just look at him, he is simply one handsome dude. Things happen, you deal with it as best you can, come here for support, to let off steam, to be comforted if it gets to be too much.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your support. I don't feel so bad now, but it's still crazy here.

Gold (3 yo pom): Hypothyroidism, luxating patella (probably will be getting corrected this winter depending on what the vet says)
Ace (3 yo pom): Skin infection, possible hypothyroidism
Kira (4 yo American Eskimo): Ulcers, hot spot, hip displacia (not good - she only has 1 back leg to support herself), and artheritis in one of her front feet (the rescue she came from found a severe case of Lyme's disease before they amputated her leg).
Stewie (2 yo cat): Cardiomyopathy
Stella (5 yo cat): Goopy eyes - needs a daily does of Lysine to prevent them, she also has a severe anxiety disorder (very intense--but sweet--kitty)
Mew (9 weeks old): Nothing, and we hope it stays that way for a very long, looooong time

Kira gets 4 pills twice a day. 2 before meals, 2 after. She also gets salve for her hot spot twice a day. Gold gets a pill in the morning and a half in the evening. Ace gets 1/2 pill, and Stew also gets 1/2 pill. I feel like we're a zoo pharmacy!

I think I should go to vet school so we can save on all the medical expenses.

The beauty of all this is hopefully most of the medicating will be finished by the 15th (when I'm supposed to start a new job - YAY MONEY). Then we just have to pill Gold and Stew on a daily basis.
post #10 of 12
My kitt Redford has the exact same heart defect. His also was caught early and my cardiologist has put him on a beta blocker which I have to give to him everyday to slow down his heart. Once I figured out how to give him his pill everyday with the minumum of fuss it is okay. We still watch him and worry about him but it is genetic and the best we can do is the best we can. I am spoiling him a little bit more if that is possible. I have taken him in for a checkup after he had been on the medication for a little while and his heart has slowed and things look good. About the worst I can say right now is that about half an hour after I give him his pill he looks a little nauseous and wants to hide somewhere. I got him a little hidey hole contraption so he can go have some peace until the nausea passing. And in about a half hour he is out and want a really long cuddle. Which I happily give him.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
OMG - Redford, and your other two kitties are beautiful. I'm a sucker for tabbies. Wow...up to this point I was beginning to think only orange cats had genetic heart problems (my mom's two orange cats have murmurs). I see you are in Maryland, too. Did you also end up going to Chesapeake Referral for Redford's ecco?

We're giving Stewiecat betablockers, too. He also seemed to get a little spooked when I pilled him, but I'm hoping it can be remedied by hiding his pill in cheese.

Stewie (named after Baby Stewie from the family guy - though there's no resemblance in personality) is a gentle soul. Our pomeranian, Goldie, picked him out when we were looking at the cats for adoption from Pampered Paws through Ellicott City's Petco.

When we asked a volunteer about his temperment with other animals, she told us he was probably onen of the best male cats she'd seen. He was 1-year and just neutered, but he was friendly towards the kittens (unusual for a sexually mature tom). But I can believe it because he's very gentle with our other animals--including the poms and Mini Mew (our recent addition who decided to live here).


Stew & the Mew

post #12 of 12
Yes, my cardiologist was at Chesapeake. It was real convenient. I live in Rockville so I went to the one on Nebel Street which was right down the road from me. They were really great. Although I did have to look up the beta blocker on the web to see what was going on and what I had to do. Can't miss a day!!

I had a little difficulty with the pill thing in the beginning but my regular vet gave me something called a pill pocket. You put the pill in in a little hole and then pinch it shut and they are supposed to eat it as a treat. It is supposed to mask the smell of the pill. Now being the picky eater that Redford is he turned his nose up at it. I was crawling on the floor begging him to eat it. It was just getting so traumatic trying to get him to take the pill. What ended up happening is that I cut one of the treats he will eat in half, used a little of the moist pill pocket to cover the pill and bind it to the treat. Sandwiched the pill in the treat and Redford eats in as if it were nothing. Whew!! A little extra work but no one gets upset. So worth it.

Where in Maryland are you?
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