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HCM/CHF omg again, do they ever not get it?

Sanctuarie

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Between my parents & I, we have had 5 Sphynx cats in the last 20 years, all from different places.

My first was a sweet baby boy, Yodi. My dad called one day & asked if I wanted to go to the cat show with them. We went, were walking along, and come upon this guy who had a cat with no hair in one of his cages! I had never seen one before. I laid my eyes on this little boy, fell in love and had to get him. On the car ride home, my mother kept just going on and on about "oh my God it's so ugly", "I can't believe you got that thing", on & on. I handed him to her, and said "here just hold him for a minute".
About a 1/2 hr went by, I asked her for him back, and she said "sorry, you're not getting him back, he's mine now". And that was that.
About 4yrs went by, and I got a call from my mom, Yodi was sick, and could I take him to the vet, because she had to go to the Dr.
When I got there, he was howling & couldn't move his back legs. I rushed him to the vet, who said he had hcm, thrombosis, he was in excruciating pain, and should put him down. It was heartbreaking.
Rip Yodi, 4 yrs old.

A few years later I got a sweet baby boy, Barthalamew. I got him from a breeder in up north, who agreed to drive him down here to LA He was about 14 wks. I took him to the vet, he said he had a very faint murmur. He said not to worry right now, that we just need to keep an eye on it and re-check him. He also had eye herpes, which he gave us something for, I don't remember what it was, but it helped. About a month later we took him to get neutered, and again, they heard a faint murmur, but said he was okay, and just re-check him a few months. About 2 months later, he was running around playing, and suddenly his back legs went limp, and he started howling. I knew exactly what it was, and couldn't stop crying. My bf took us to the emergency vet, where they said there was a slight possibility he could get through it, but it wasn't likely, and he was in a lot of pain. So we had to put him down.
Rip Barthalamew, 5 months old.

A few years went by again, there was a breeder here in Bakersfield, who had only one, a beautiful boy Guido, 4 months old. So we went and got him, and I of course fell in love again. My mother tried to pull her "he's mine now" trick again, but I wasn't giving this one up! This breeder had no litters coming, so I found someone in Utah of all places, and we flew a baby girl out here for my mother, "Boo".

My baby Guido. He was very healthy, no murmur, no eye herpes, he was perfect. I would hold my arms out, and he'd jump all the way up into my arms, it was amazing. Almost 5 years later, he was at his food dish, and he kept missing it. He'd go to the right every time. A few minutes later he started walking in circles non-stop. So I took him to the vet, and they said to take him to a specialist. I take him to the specialist, they did an MRI, and said that he had a brain tumor. They said that we could try giving him some medications, steroids, and see if he improved. He drastically improved, in fact he was back to normal within a day. But then a couple days later, he started the circles again, then laid down, urinating & deficating all over himself. I rushed him back to the specialist, where they said that it had gotten worse, and that I should put him down.
Rip Guido, 5 yrs old.

My mom's Boo was also healthy as a horse. By this time my mother had passed away, and I came to the house to take care of my father. I ended up staying, and one night a few years later, I found Boo laying on the couch, and her legs were limp. She wasn't crying or meowing, but her back legs were definitely very cold & limp, and again I knew exactly what it was. I took her to the vet, and had to put her down.
Rip Boo, 7 yrs old

Sometime later, I was wandering around the internet, and I saw a picture of a gorgeous baby boy, and he was in Florida. I spoke to the breeder (Russian), and she said that he was the last one, he was four months old, and said that there was no problem coming to California, she flies them out all the time. I told her make sure & check him for a murmur, and asked her if there were any problems with the parents or any other babies, she said there was no murmur, and no HCM problems with any of them. So I trusted her, had him flown out, and picked him up at the airport. I let him come out of the carrier on the ride home and he was the sweetest boy, and of course again, immediately fell in love. I took him to the vet the next day, there was no murmur, no eye problems, he was perfect. Tommy was fearless. He wasn't afraid of anyone, or anything, ever. Sometimes when you walk up on a cat they might run away or be aloof, but not him. When I introduced him to my father's dog, he ran right up to him and immediately wanted to play. The dog was the scared one, lol. When anybody would come to the house, he would walk right up to them, not a fear in the world. He slept with me under the covers every night, would wake me up with a nice butt in the face, lol, and was all over me all day. 100% a mama's boy.
Many years later, we're laying in bed watching TV, and I hear something odd I look at over at him, his mouth is open, and he's wheezing. rushed him to the vet. because of the whole covid thing, they wouldn't let me come in, and made me wait outside in the car while they came and got him. So there I was, waiting in the car, and about 45 minutes later the Dr called me, I expected her to say he had a cold, or maybe worst case a respiratory infection. Instead she told me he was in end-stage heart failure (CHF) from HCM. I was in shock. I told her it had to be a mistake, that Tommy never had even one symptom. She said many times that's the case, that cats hide it very well.
She said they put him in a little oxygen cage (whatever they call it), and was giving him lasix because there was a lot of fluid around his heart. I begged her to let me come in, but she said the only time they ever let people in is if the animal is dying, or are putting them down, "but we're not there". She said I could wait there in the parking lot, she would give him the lasix, wait an hour and see how he did. So I waited, and an hour later she called me, and said he wasn't doing much better, she had to give him another shot of lasix, and we'd see how he was doing in another hour. She called me an hour later, and said he wasn't better yet, and needed to give him another dose. I begged her again to let me come in to see him, and she said okay. Omg, my heart dropped. I didn't expect her to say okay. So I went in, and he was in this little thing that looks like an incubator. There was a hole in it, and they told me I could stick my hands in and pet him. I could barely even see him through the tears, but what I did see, he looked way better than when I brought him in. He meowed as soon as he saw me, and wanted mommy to hold him. They wouldn't let him out, said he needed to stay in the oxygen, and told me I had to go. I realized later that she wasn't letting me in because she thought he was going die there, she just knew I was beside myself, and just made an exception. A few hours went by, and by around 1 a.m., she called me again, said he was doing better, but wanted to keep him until the morning, and have me come pick him up and bring him straight to the cardiologist. So that's exactly what I did. we got to the cardiologist, and again, they wouldn't let me go inside I had to stay outside in the car. They ended up calling me back a couple hours later, and just confirmed what the vet had said, that he had hcm and was in end-stage heart failure. They said they had no idea how long he would last, they said it could be anywhere from a few days to a year. He gave me a bag full of pills, told me he would be on them for the rest of his life, and sent us on our way. They told me to monitor his breathing, and if his breaths per minute got over 40, to call them. He was tired and kept to himself for the next day or so, but then started perking up, and was back to himself. I was checking his breaths per minute probably every hour for the next week, and it was constantly right around 30-ish, and suddenly about a week later it went up to 45. I didn't even bother calling, I just took him straight to the emergency vet. By the time we got there he was listless. They took him, brought him inside, put him in oxygen, and did the lasix treatment again every hour. After the third treatment, she said he was much better and if I wanted, he could come home, and told me to increase his lasix medication. So I went and got him, and again he had no energy, and just wanted to be on his own. Wouldn't come to me at all, if I picked him up he wanted down immediately and went and laid by himself, I can see he just didn't feel good. I called the vet and asked her if they gave him some kind of sedative, she said no, that he was probably just tired from all the energy it had taken him trying to breathe. But he started to come around the next day, and was soon back to his normal affectionate silly self.

About three days later, his breaths per minute went up again to about 45, so I rushed him down there again. They brought him in, but said he was fine, and we turned right around and went home. He was fine for about 2 weeks, and then he had another episode. His breaths per minute were over 60, so I rushed him in again. They said he was having trouble breathing, put him in oxygen, and started the lasix treatments again. I was afraid it was my fault, because I hadn't checked his bpm since the day before, and I didn't realize how high it had gotten. I asked her if because it took me so long to get him there, if he was going to die because he was not in the oxygen tank. She told me that being in the oxygen basically just makes him more comfortable, and helps him breathe easier, but the lasix and getting rid of the fluid is what makes him better. She said it doesn't matter how much oxygen you give him if he's got too much fluid around his lungs. After about the third lasix shot, they said he was better but that his bpm was still a little high, and that he should stay the night. So the next morning I went to pick him up, brought him home, and the same thing, he was out of it for about a day or two but then got back to himself. About a week and a half later, he had another episode. It was about 3 a.m., the vet closes at midnight, so I would have had to take him to the emergency vet where they don't know him at all. I still have the oxygen machine here from my dad, and I have plenty of lasix, so I decided to try and at least make him a little better, before I was able to go to his doctor at 7 am. I gave 1.5 his dose of lasix, and held the oxygen up to his mouth. An hour later I gave him one, and an hour later another. I'd take him to the cat box about every half hour, to see if he could urinate. As he got more and more lasix in his system, he was urinating more, and was just the craziest thing. He urinated the third time and suddenly he was better, and his BPM was around 25. But this time it didn't take him days to recover. He was his normal self immediately. About two weeks later, he had another episode. So I did the same thing I did the time before, lasix every hour, oxygen, cat box. And by the 3rd lasix, again, he peed and within what seemed like minutes, he was completely better, and his BPM again down to about 25. No recovery time, just back to his old self, happy. I think the stress of the car rides, and being in the oxygen tank, and the doctors, being alone, being cold, having a cat box with newspaper and no cat litter just stressing out so much, that it took him a day or two to recover just from that. Also, it took him much longer to pee when he was at the vets, because he didn't want to go in the box with the newspaper. He likes his cat litter! he would hold it in as long as he could poor guy, in fact the third time I went to pick him up, he just couldn't hold it anymore, and pee'd in my lap in the car. So I'm convinced that all of those things combined, contributed to the fact that it would take him days to recover, instead of right away doing it here.

About a week later, it happened again, and we did the same thing, he recovered, and all was good.

This last time (about 10 days later, 2.5 months from being diagnosed) I did the same thing, and he did urinate, but this time it wasn't making him better, and seemed to be getting worse. So I called the vet, I told her what I had given him & done so far, and asked if I should keep going or bring him in. She said that they would only do the exact same thing, that there was no alternative treatment that would help. She said this was probably it, and rather than be in that cage alone, I should just let him go at home with me. She told me to double the lasix & see if that helped, but it didn't.The next hour was agonizing for both of us. His breathing became much worse very quickly, he started open mouth breathing, and each breath was like a gasp of air. He just kept looking at me with those "please help me mommy" eyes, and there was nothing I could do to make it better! Each breath he took, I found myself praying would be his last to relieve his misery. He was absolutely suffering, so I called the vet & told her I was bringing him in, and wanted to make sure there would be no wait, and they could put him down immediately. She said yes, so we quickly jumpped in the car to rush down there. By this time Tommy was so tired from trying to breathe, he was pretty much limp, but still hanging on. We drove about 2 blocks, when he jumped up, and was trying to fight his way out of my arms. I couldn't even hold him, he was going nuts, trying to get away. He suddenly went limp again and was no longer breathing. He was gone. At first I thought he was upset knowing we were going to the vet again, and trying to get away! But I then came to the realization that it had gotten so bad, that last combative moment he was desperately trying to breath & couldn't. He was flailing around because he was suffocating.
Omg. I have to stop myself every time I start to think about it.
It was a horrible thing I did to him, and I hate myself every day for letting him suffer like that. Have you ever held breath, to where you can't hold it anymore & not immediately take a breath? That's happened to me swimming, Omg It's a terrifying feeling.
He trusted me, and I let him feel that.
I'm gonna stop here and just add that I'm thankful he's finally at peace, his pain & fear gone.
Rip Tommy, 7yrs old.

4 out of 5 lost to hcm, and wondering if Guido would have had it as well, if the cancer hadn't taken him first.

So after pages & pages of the mini novel I just wrote (sorry for my long wind), my question remains... (if anyone has actually made it this far down the page) Do they all eventually end up with hcm? Do any ever make it past 7 or 8 yrs?
Or am I just cat cursed?
 

Sheldon13

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Your description of Tommy’s death was very similar to what I went through with Ellie back in September. She was 11. I’ve seen many Sphynx friends die young, and I’ve seen many live to a decent age. I think anecdotally, I would say many get hcm. I don’t know how many. But I do see many people who have 12, 13, 14 year olds cats.

Even the most careful breeders find it in their lines sometimes.


Love and Sphynx ~ It’s all you need
 

Yoda mom

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@Sanctuarie , hello from Florida. ((((squeeze hugs))) teary eyed reading your experiences and great losses of babies Yodi, Barthalamew, Guido , Boo and Tommy. I am sooo very sorry your babies got their angel wings. HCM ,cancer sucks. My avatar pic is my Yoda who also got her wings from F.A.T.E saddle thrombosis embolism. she survived as many as 8 incidents with aspirin therapy regimen my vet gave me. it is the most horrific experience I know too well . I keep her avatar pic in her honor.
my heart hurts for you for all your losses. heartbreaking.

I was soo afraid to open my heart again. I ended up adopting in her honor.

I have 4 adoptees for many years now. the oldest 2 brothers turning 11, one turning 10, and one to be 8.

3 out of 4 with heart murmurs. (no medications) . I won't lie, I am terrified of F.A.T.E . I am taking every day as a gift. the healthiest no murmur kitty has been the retiree from a FL breeder who regularly HCM scans. even with that there are no guarantees.

sending comforting hugs and deepest condolences. may our babies be running free at the bridge together.

"Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.”
- from poem for cats
hugs to you and my deepest condolences.
a bridge called love.jpg
 
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pussiette

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@Sanctuarie I am so sorry to hear of all your experiences and the heartbreaking heartache of your babies dying.

No you are not cat cursed.

There is a new genetic test for heart issues.


Annual HCM scans with a board certified cardiologist is necessary.

Parents of the kitten should also have HCM scans before breeding.

This won’t stop it from happening but help identify issues.

I’m not sure how many cats are in the community that are living passed 7 years old.

@Sheldon13 may know or maybe start a poll?

Thanks for joining and sharing your experiences.♥️
 

Sheldon13

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Hmmm. I actually think @Catzzzmeow did a poll once upon a time now you mention it. I’ll try to find it but it may be difficult because I don’t remember the key words.


Love and Sphynx ~ It’s all you need
 
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Sheldon13

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I’m curious too.

I’ve never created a poll before...



Love and Sphynx ~ It’s all you need
 

Sanctuarie

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@Sanctuarie I am so sorry to hear of all your experiences and the heartbreaking heartache of your babies dying.

No you are not cat cursed.

There is a new genetic test for heart issues.


Annual HCM scans with a board certified cardiologist is necessary.

Parents of the kitten should also have HCM scans before breeding.

This won’t stop it from happening but help identify issues.

I’m not sure how many cats are in the community that are living passed 7 years old.

@Sheldon13 may know or maybe start a poll?

Thanks for joining and sharing your experiences.♥️
Thank you
 
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