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Systolic heart murmur I/II

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
During an exam for other ailments, my cat was discovered to have a heart murmur. I had my regular Vet check it today and she confirmed it. She wants me to schedule an ultrasound with a cardiologist but the soonest appointment is in October!

We are now trying to have this done somewhere else, sooner. Does anyone's cat have the same thing, and do you have any advice? Do you do anything differently for your pet now? I am nervous about this and want to do everything I can. Thank you.
post #2 of 10
I have no advice, but you and your baby are in my thoughts and prayers.
post #3 of 10
While my current cats don't have murmurs, I have had two in the past that did. Alex had a murmur his entire life. It was never suggested that we do anything for it. He had a heart attack or stroke and died within minutes a few months after his 12th birthday. My other cat with a murmur (Spot) also had hyperthyroidism along with it. We did an echocardiogram, and the cardiologist listed that the cause of his murmur was unknown (idiopathic) and that he should be rechecked in a few months. Unfortunately, I got distracted by some of Spot's other problems, and we didn't recheck his heart. He ended up going into congestive heart failure. His murmur was due to cardiomyopathy. While I don't know how old Spot really was, he was definitely an old kitty boy--at least 13 but possibly a lot older. We don't know what caused Alex's murmur.

Some murmurs are pretty benign. A murmur is the noise the heart makes. Sometimes it indicates problems with the heart but other times it does not. An echocardiogram is basically an ultrasound of the heart which can show what is causing the murmur. Some cats with murmurs need medication to help their heart while others do not.

Here are some links which may help you:

How old is your kitty?
post #4 of 10
Based on the experience I've had with my cat, Peter, age 2, I think it's a wise that you're going ahead with the cardiac ultrasound. A heart murmur can also be one of the symptoms of hyperthrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes the gradual thickening of the muscle wall of the heart. If caught early, this disease is very managable with daily medication. My vet first detected Peter's heart murmur (grade II) when he was 9-months-old. He showed no other symptoms of HCM (lack of appetite, difficulty breathing, lethargy) and was (is) an otherwise healthy and active young cat, so we decided to just monitor his condition. After detecting the murmur on a second occasion and xrays revealed that Peter has a slightly enlarged heart, my vet strong recommended a cardiac ultrasound, which confirmed that Peter has mild HCM.

While it's true that cats can live for years with heart murmurs, I think it's important to know what you're dealing with and the ultrasound will help with that. I had to wait a couple of months to get Peter in and my vet didn't feel it would a problem. I wouldn't worry as long as your cat isn't showing any other symptoms. Although having a cardiologist or internist who specializes in feline cardiology is the ideal, another option would be to have a vet with an ultrasound machine perform the test, then have the cardiologist read the results.

I can understand how you feel. I was very nervous when I learned about Peter's heart murmur, but now that we know what's wrong and are dealing with it, I'm much more at ease with things.

Sending lots of vibes for you and your kitty. Feel free to PM me if you have questions or want to talk.
post #5 of 10
My little Missy has a Grade III/IV murmur.

I was referred to an internist (internists can also read echos) and was told she had ventral septicular disorder (a hole in the heart). I was able to get the echo done quickly - BUT I wish I had waited for the cardiologist. The internist was very compassionate, but I was not satisfied with some of her answers.

If you want to know something right away and money is not a concern, you could take your cat to the internist now and the cardiologist in October. The cardiologist is likely booked so far in advance because it is an uncommon specialty. We only have one in all of Austin.

As far as if I do anything differently now, yes. I have switched her to a very high quality diet (Innova Evo), and I have her on a bunch of supplements to maintain heart health - CoQ10, L-Lysine, L-Carnitine, and a cat multivitamin.

We are both really lucky that there is a murmur, thus alerting us that there may be a problem. It is a chance to get the problem addressed. I know several people whose kitties have died suddenly of cardiac problems. They found this out as the result of a necropsy, which is not a good way to find out.

There is an excellent Yahoo Group just for feline cardiac issues. The people there are very knowledgeable and compassionate. They have helped me a lot.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
When I got online I was hoping for responses to my question and I was amazed at the great level of help and personal advice you have all given me, based on your own kitty's experiences. I have always tried to choose the healthiest natural remedies for my cat and at times Vets have prescribed medications that in hindsight, may have contributed to this problem now. Who knows, maybe she is just getting up in age and this is what happens...I am so thankful to have found this forum, you have all helped me greatly!

I will look into all the websites you suggested and see what others have posted. Thank you so much. I really appreciate everyone's personal stories. I wish you and your pets all the best!!!
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I called the other Animal Clinic that the Vet told me about...and they got me an appointment for this afternoon at 4:00. I was surprised to get in so quickly and she mentioned by name, the other Cardiologist I must've called, that didn't have an opening until October. She said there are only 3 cardiologists in the area.

They charge more than the other, but at this point I really need the piece of mind of trying to figure this out soon...medication if needed, etc. Thanks again. I feel bad for my cat, she absolutely hates going into that carrier, but it must be done...and hopefully after this she won't have to see it for a long time.
post #8 of 10
I can understand your anxiety. When my vet diagnosed my Redford with a heart murmur and referred me to a cardiologist. I called my sister in tears convinced of the worst. After calming me down she told me to wait and see what the cardiologist said.

Redford turn out to have Hyperthrophic cardiomyopathy. Severe enough my cardiologist was concerned with the thickness of his heart. Not bad enough that it is life threatening at that point. I was trying not to hyperventilate while he was getting his echiogram. The cardiologist let me hold Redford though the procedure and explained everything on the screen. Thank goodness for yearly vet visits and my vet catching it. The thickness of the heart is caused by the heart having to work harder to push the blood through. I wouldn't have known. Redford had no outside symptoms.

Redford is now on atenolol which he has to take everyday. Atenolol is a beta blocker that works on the cardiac muscle. Slowing down his heart rate so that his heart muscle would stop building up. A year later on his follow up visit he showed a market decrease in heart wall thickness and my cardiologist was very pleased. As am I.

Do I still worry. Yes. But I have done all I can and I worry no more than I do with my other three. I switched the kids food to Inova Evo and make sure they get plenty of excercise. And I love them.

post #9 of 10
I wish I had some advice. I lost my Quizno due to a heart murmur when she was 3 months old. I woke up to find her panting and hardly breathing. I gave her a little kitty recue breathing (thank god cpr classes.) And rushed her to the vet. The vet put her on oxygen, and listend to her heart and she had a VERY BAD heart murmur. She has had heart diease. She was very very bad off, and the vet decided that it would be best to put her down. So we ended up doing that. I cried for a month straight due to losing her. But heart murmur was so bad that you could put your ear up to her chest and hear the whosing of the blood when her heart beated. There were no signs of anything wrong with her that could be seen from the outside.

I really hope things turn out better than it did for me. My prayers are for your cat and you.
post #10 of 10

I'm so sorry for your loss.
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