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HCM Diagnosis

Gisele

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Unfortunately our Sasha was diagnosed with early stages of HCM today.

She's 3 years old and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. I'm a veterinary nurse and i've always been concerned that her heart rate has seemed quite fast, a coupe of weeks ago I measured her resting heart rate at 200bpm, which is really high for an otherwise healthy 3 year old. Also at the end of last year we were in the car with her, and we had an episode of mouth breathing. We put that down to stress as she hates the car but it's always been in the back of my mind.
The vet wasn't convinced that she would have heart problems as there is no murmur, and HCM usually presents with a slow heart. But regardless I insisted on doing a heart scan for my piece of mind. Part of me really hoped that I was just being paranoid from working in an ECC vets and knowing that this is common in the breed. Sadly I was right, I don't think I was prepared for the news. We are devastated that our time with her is going to be cut very short, as we are now potentially looking at a 5 year life span for our baby.

So based on her ultrasound she has significantly thickened heart walls but no abnormal function at this time. They have taken bloods to run a pro-BNP on her so we can get a baseline result and an idea of how much time we are looking at. They also want to see her back every 6 months for follow up scans. I've been looking into weather or not medication at this stage would be helpful, but I cant seem to find any definite data on it.

Has anyone else with a HCM kitty had them on meds before they started showing symptoms and if so how did they do on it?

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Yoda mom

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@Gisele ((((Hugs))) it sucks to get an HCM diagnosis ... so sorry to read this .

sending positive vibes for the Pro BNP test ... you did say it was early HCM , I am glad you followed your gut ... early intervention is often key . Sasha not having snormal function is a good . She only knows she is loved beyond measure and has no idea she has HCM.

We have several members kitties on medications and lived into double digits amd surely they will chime in ...
tagging @Catzzzmeow

A lair full of positive vibes and prayers for sweet Sasha

((((Hugs)))) amd Head smooches
Following closely for updates
 

Catzzzmeow

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Only 50% of cats with HCM ever develop a murmur and this is why it is so devastating to people...they think their cat is healthy because no murmur is detected and then tragedy happens with no sign of issue until it is too late. Kudos to you for knowing the only true way to know if they have heart disease is scanning. Our one girl was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a restrictive form of heart disease a bit more rare than HCM. There was a flap that formed not allowing blood to flow away from the heart and it caused regurgitation/swirling of blood pooling and not clearly flowing away.

I know it is so hard to hear those words. Our vet started atenolol ...6 months later an improvement was noted on the next scan...cardiologist then added clopidogrel which is a blood thinner. We had her scanned again this year and we were thrilled to hear that her heart has actually changed and the measurements are now within normal range of thickness and no flap at all. We were lucky to have scanned early and caught it. So YES...go for the meds and do not lose hope. Even the best breeders are no longer safe from this disease...but adopting from breeders who regularly scan helps to know they are investing in their bloodlines.

I am a realist and know with heart disease just like in people it can change rapidly...but for us, I firmly believe we have our girl years beyond what we would had we not scanned and gone to meds. If you need extra support feel free to PM me.

Our other girl who has scanned clear ever year showed an elevated levels after a yearly ProBNP test this year. Her heart has had changes as well due to this they feel and she is on blood pressure meds. In 2 weeks on blood pressure meds her pressure went from extremely high to normal...again the meds have done a wonderful job and we are waiting 3 months until the next scan as the cardiologist said high blood pressure adds stress to the heart and getting the blood pressure under control will help her heart.

Bad news is never easy, but I allowed myself a day to just absorb it and then remembered they know nothing but our love and care and to them it is everything. Best advice I can give you is to watch breathing rate...that is the first tell tale sign of an issue like CHF.

Our very first Sphynx had a murmur as a wee kitten...he passed from HCM as a senior at age 13. We have been blessed.
 
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Gisele

Lairian
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
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Points
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Only 50% of cats with HCM ever develop a murmur and this is why it is so devastating to people...they think their cat is healthy because no murmur is detected and then tragedy happens with no sign of issue until it is too late. Kudos to you for knowing the only true way to know if they have heart disease is scanning. Our one girl was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a restrictive form of heart disease a bit more rare than HCM. There was a flap that formed not allowing blood to flow away from the heart and it caused regurgitation/swirling of blood pooling and not clearly flowing away.

I know it is so hard to hear those words. Our vet started atenolol ...6 months later an improvement was noted on the next scan...cardiologist then added clopidogrel which is a blood thinner. We had her scanned again this year and we were thrilled to hear that her heart has actually changed and the measurements are now within normal range of thickness and no flap at all. We were lucky to have scanned early and caught it. So YES...go for the meds and do not lose hope. Even the best breeders are no longer safe from this disease...but adopting from breeders who regularly scan helps to know they are investing in their bloodlines.

I am a realist and know with heart disease just like in people it can change rapidly...but for us, I firmly believe we have our girl years beyond what we would had we not scanned and gone to meds. If you need extra support feel free to PM me.

Our other girl who has scanned clear ever year showed an elevated levels after a yearly ProBNP test this year. Her heart has had changes as well due to this they feel and she is on blood pressure meds. In 2 weeks on blood pressure meds her pressure went from extremely high to normal...again the meds have done a wonderful job and we are waiting 3 months until the next scan as the cardiologist said high blood pressure adds stress to the heart and getting the blood pressure under control will help her heart.

Bad news is never easy, but I allowed myself a day to just absorb it and then remembered they know nothing but our love and care and to them it is everything. Best advice I can give you is to watch breathing rate...that is the first tell tale sign of an issue like CHF.

Our very first Sphynx had a murmur as a wee kitten...he passed from HCM as a senior at age 13. We have been blessed.


Thankyou so much, this gives me hope for her! The problem is because I work for an emergency night vet, when we do see HCM cats they are usually 5 years old, undiagnosed and at the end, so I just associate HCM with those cases.

The vet is due to call me back next week with the blood test results, I will speak to her about atenalol.
A vet I work with also suggested giving her pimobendan off-license, but I did some research and in 2012 there was a study done with it that found that pimobendan actually caused late stage HCM symptoms in cats with early stage HCM. Which has really put me off the idea of using it. Pimobendan is licensed for the use in dogs with heart disease.
I'm just not sure if they will want to put her on meds yet as she has no symptoms other than an increased heart rate, and her valves are currently working normally, the only concern at this time is the heart wall thickening. She's a small little lady, only weighs 2.5kg/4.4lbs and they said that her heart wall thickness is at 5-6mm. 4-5mm being the upper end of normal but as she is so small they would expect her heart thickness to be considerably less.

The one thing we didn't look at was blood pressure! I will mention that as well.. High blood pressure is definitely something that correlates with a high heart rate and heart thickness.

thank you again for sharing. I really needed to hear from another HCM kitty's parent. Unfortunately we don't know if her parents were HCM tested as we only rescued her last year. But I guess thats the risk I decided to take when getting a cat, our last kitten died at 5 months old because he had a stage 5 heart murmur and he was a domestic shorthair.
 

Catzzzmeow

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Glad I gave you some hope. Just like in humans 2 world class athletes can have a child with cardiac issues etc. it’s just been hard for Sphynx people because it is becoming a real issue. Here is the last post for you on our girl Azura with the blood pressure issue. Fingers are crossed next scan we see a change for the better. POSITIVE UPDATE FOR AZURA
 

Anita Eccleston

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Unfortunately our Sasha was diagnosed with early stages of HCM today.

She's 3 years old and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. I'm a veterinary nurse and i've always been concerned that her heart rate has seemed quite fast, a coupe of weeks ago I measured her resting heart rate at 200bpm, which is really high for an otherwise healthy 3 year old. Also at the end of last year we were in the car with her, and we had an episode of mouth breathing. We put that down to stress as she hates the car but it's always been in the back of my mind.
The vet wasn't convinced that she would have heart problems as there is no murmur, and HCM usually presents with a slow heart. But regardless I insisted on doing a heart scan for my piece of mind. Part of me really hoped that I was just being paranoid from working in an ECC vets and knowing that this is common in the breed. Sadly I was right, I don't think I was prepared for the news. We are devastated that our time with her is going to be cut very short, as we are now potentially looking at a 5 year life span for our baby.

So based on her ultrasound she has significantly thickened heart walls but no abnormal function at this time. They have taken bloods to run a pro-BNP on her so we can get a baseline result and an idea of how much time we are looking at. They also want to see her back every 6 months for follow up scans. I've been looking into weather or not medication at this stage would be helpful, but I cant seem to find any definite data on it.

Has anyone else with a HCM kitty had them on meds before they started showing symptoms and if so how did they do on it?

View attachment 93303
View attachment 93304

Hello !
Oh my dear me love ! I’m so upset for you ! I just don’t know what else to say to be honest !
I’m so glad you went with your gut instinct !
Best wishes and please keep us updated
Xxx❤️❤️❤️❤️Xxxx
 

Uksphynxmum

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Hey there my boy Rizzy was diagnosed with a heart murmur at a few months old. I lost him to HCM nearly 2 months ago aged 12 years! Definitely go for meds. We used clopidrel as a blood thinner, and a drug called Vetmadin. Later we introduced diuretics. Rizzy lived an amazing life and was only limited in the last couple of weeks.
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Gisele

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Apr 17, 2018
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Hey there my boy Rizzy was diagnosed with a heart murmur at a few months old. I lost him to HCM nearly 2 months ago aged 12 years! Definitely go for meds. We used clopidrel as a blood thinner, and a drug called Vetmadin. Later we introduced diuretics. Rizzy lived an amazing life and was only limited in the last couple of weeks. View attachment 93346

Thank you so much for this, you guys are really giving me hope. I literally spent all of Tuesday evening crying.
I’ve decided that I’m going to get Sasha referred to a specialist and we will go from there. She’s insured so I’m just going to do the absolute best that I can for her and hopefully we will be able to give her a long and happy life, like your gorgeous boy. ❤️
 

Gisele

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Apr 17, 2018
Messages
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Hello all,

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted, I've had to take some time to process everything that has happened with COVID and Sasha. This is going to be a long update so bare with me.

So from where I left off:

I took Sasha to see a cardiologist in July 2019, he said based on how mild her HCM was that we could potentially have her for up to 9 years from date of diagnosis, providing that we kept stress to a minimum and had her come in for regular checks. Due to how much she hated going into the vets we decided we would do 12 monthly scans to keep stress to a minimum.
She was happy and bright, eating well and you wouldn't know anything was wrong. Based on our visit with the cardiologist, we were left feeling positive.

In November 2019 I started working in a feline referral veterinary clinic, which was perfect for both Sasha and I.

12 months after the initial diagnosis in July 2020; we noticed that her resting respiratory rate had increased to 40 while she was asleep, So I took her into work and we did another heart scan on her. At this point her left ventricle was now huge in diameter, her walls were so thick that they were unable to close and pump properly, there was so much 'smoking' in her heart and her walls had thickened significantly to 1.8cm. We also saw a very small amount of fluid around her heart, I had caught her early but she was in congestive heart failure... It was the most impressively terrible heart I had seen at the time. I honestly thought with all the smoke in her heart that she was going to throw a blood clot and that would be it.
But we started her on Clopidogrel (to help reduce clot forming) and Furosemide (diuretics), I kept an eye on her breathing and would up the diuretics as needed. I took her in 2 weeks after the clopidogrel starting and the smoking in her heart had significantly improved and it was amazing to see that It had had such a quick result.

We managed to keep her going for another 3 months like this, but in October, we had another episode of her respiratory rate increasing and I rushed her in, put her on oxygen and gave her injectable diuretics (Injectable acts faster than the tablets)... We took her home and I made my partner aware that this was bad and likely the beginning of the end for her.

Then 2 days after this episode, Sasha stopped eating. This cat would eat everything, including lettuce. She would take her tablets like treats, and she just started turning away food. I spent another 3 days on an emotional rollercoaster, where she would eat breakfast and I'd get excited that she was feeling better, and by the evening she didn't want anything again and I'd sob. She also spent more time sleeping on her own away from us, and her temperature had dropped a little (which is a bad sign).

In the end we discussed it and decided that we didn't want her and my last memories being of me forcing medication into her because she wouldn't take them, or injecting her. She didn't want to eat, she wouldn't take her medications unless forced and I knew if we continued we would be doing it for us and not her.

On her final day we gave her some gabapentin (its a pain relief tablet that causes mild sedative effects), This improved her appetite a bit, we gave her as much chocolate as she wanted, cuddled her, sobbed and she was sleeping in our arms, one of my lovely work colleagues then came over to our home and put her to sleep for us.




This was honestly the worst day of my life and the hardest decision i've ever had to make. I still cry talking about it, she has left the biggest hole in our hearts. Which is why I couldn't bring myself to write another update, until now...I'm sorry to anyone else that has gone through this, it's absolutely earth shattering. I've tried to explain the bond we had with her to people and I feel like anyone that doesn't have a Sphynx doesn't really understand.

I know that she will live with us forever; because of her we now know how amazing this magical breed is, and because of her, we will always have Sphynx in our home.
 

Beckinboots

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I'm so sorry for your loss. It's never an easy thing to do but you made the best decision for your girl.
 

Toa and Ross

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So sorry for your loss. You let her go of her because you loved her above all. Hugs for you
 

Catzzzmeow

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So sorry your angel gained her wings. You are correct, she will be in your heart forever.
 

pussiette

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So sorry for your loss, it's awful when we can't save them from leaving us. I'm so sorry for the pain that you both have endured.
 
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