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HCM, heart failure, and thromboembolus

sjdavenport

Lairian
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
26
Points
34
Hi all. I am posting about my 8 year old girl, Juno. Last summer, she had a tooth with resorptive lesions that needed to be extracted, and because of her breed, we had an echo done prior to anesthesia. The result came back as extremely mild/early HCM, and a follow up echo was recommended in 9 months. She underwent her dental uneventfully. Then three weeks ago (before we had a chance to even think about getting her recheck echo scheduled), I went to feed her breakfast, and she was behaving strangely. She was limping on her left front leg, almost knuckling, and would sit with it held up and out in front of her. I saw her shake it multiple times, and try to lick it, but miss her target. She was breathing a bit fast, but I attributed that to discomfort at first. When I palpated her joints trying to figure out where she was painful, I noticed her left leg felt cooler than her right. That's when alarm bells started to go off in the back of my mind. At that point, I counted her respiratory rate and it was 50 breaths per minute. So I loaded her up and headed to our emergency clinic (45 minutes from my house). About halfway there, she went into full respiratory distress. Once there, they determined she had gone into heart failure and had a thromboembolism in her front left leg. She had an enlarged heart and pulmonary edema on xrays, and an elevated proBNP. She was started on furosemide, enalapril, and clopidogrel and stayed overnight in oxygen. She got to come home with me the next day (a Sunday) and I got her in to see a cardiologist on that Thursday. They did an echo, where they found end stage "burnout" HCM. She also has blood stasis in her atrium (predisposing her to more thromboemboli). They added pimobendan to her medications and recommended continuing all the others as well. I tried to get an estimated survival time from them, but they were reluctant to commit to a timeline. She has seemed to respond extremely well to her meds. Her lameness has completely resolved, and her resting respiratory rate has stayed 28-35bpm. She's 100% her normal self. I spend the first week and a half crying, but now I'm trying to enjoy every day we have left together. Feeding her lots of snacks and extra meals (she lives to eat), taking her outside to spend time in the sunshine (a previously rarely allowed treat), and enjoying endless cuddles. I'm not sure what I'm looking for here. Comfort from the experience of others, I suppose. I never expected to have what feels like so little time with Juno. Cats are not supposed to die at 8 years old. She is from a breeder who is very proactive against the disease in her breeding cats, but in the end, it didn't matter. And it progressed so quickly - from "extremely early" to "burnout" in less than 8 months. Honestly, my biggest anxiety is for her to experience a saddle thrombus while I'm at work. I'm haunted by the thought of her alone and in extreme pain until I get home.

Here is my wonderful girl. I took these photos this weekend - I've been trying to take more photos and videos of her.

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Sheldon13

V.I.P Lairian
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Sep 2, 2014
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Near tears here for you. I know what it’s like to feel like the clock is counting down. It’s crazy that her HCM progressed so fast! Sounds like you have her on all the right meds. If you want, you can get a wireless camera for about $50 on Amazon. I’m guessing she spends most of her time in one room while you are gone. You can keep an eye on her so you can leave work if you suspect something is off.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

NinaGato

Gold Lairian
Notable Member
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Dec 19, 2010
Messages
6,048
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643
I can only tell you to enjoy each day. My Merlin was 8 when he passed and he also had HCM. We had quite a few very quality months before the lasiks were not enough and he was collecting fluid in the lining of his heart. I too feel that time was robbed from him but I lived the time we had together. Hugs
 

Cinafina

Senior Lairian
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Jul 25, 2018
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@sjdavenport So sorry to hear that you and Juno are going through this, and I can only imagine your heartache. Great suggestion by @Sheldon13 about the cam, so you can keep an eye on her while you are at work. She's such a gorgeous girl and she's clearly very loved and cared for!
 

Catzzzmeow

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Jan 16, 2011
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Bless that beautiful baby. No matter how long we have them with us it is never long enough. All they know is the present...they know the comfort of rituals, warm blankets, food, treats, clean litter boxes, high pitched baby talk and what it feels like to be loved. I focus on the great now moments as it is their everything. Don’t rob yourself of their joy of living in the moment. It is a gift they bless us with...it’s called love...so keep on living. @sjdavenport
 

Yoda mom

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Apr 23, 2012
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@sjdavenport (((((Hugs))))) and Head smooches to gorgeous Juno

I personally have experienced HCM /F.A.T.E with my first sphynx
My vet added an aspirin therapy protocol when she had an episode.
She had numerous embolisms over a couple of years In her rear legs .

I learned to recognize some early warnings she would present - she would act a bit off then shake her leg like she had litter on it - much like you describe (((Hugs))’

I immediately followed my vets instructions -an immediate strict aspirin therapy upon onset - I swear for her it worked for quite some time - longer than I ever expected. She would present signs , get her aspirin therapy and jump back up and go eat and play like nothing happened. It was the strangest to experience.
You can ask if this can be an emergency plan with your Juno )

I was terrified in the beginning .. I came to realize each moment is gift amd she truly only knew my love . She didn’t know she had f.a.t.e /HCM . She had such sever HCM at 8 mos old they vet didn’t even want to spay her .

We had a chat how much I loved her (she didn’t know I was crying earlier on the first episode diagnosis ). we would love amd enjoy every moment blessed with -
we were not going to let worrying about tomorrow ruin our precious todays.
I refused to let her diagnosis take our precious todays away from us .
I promised to love her always selflessly and to always be her best friend .

Live and love

And please share more pics of gorgeous Juno!
She truly only knows your love
(((Hugs ))) here for you PM me anytime
 
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Condo commando

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Apr 7, 2014
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Juno is beautiful and I'm happy to hear that you are giving her extra treats, walks outside and cuddles. It must be really hard not knowing what to expect. However, you're making her happy and I'm sure she's loving every minute of it. This is a perfect example of the little things making all the difference.

Just keep on doing what you're doing. Best wishes to you and Juno!
 

Toa and Ross

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Jan 23, 2015
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Hugs for you and cuddles for Juno. I'm so sorry you and Juno have to deal with these health issues. Hope you will have lots of more days together and that you can enjoy these days. Make lots of good memories and cherrish every cuddle.

Juno is an adorable beauty!
 

Jocy24

Senior Lairian
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Aug 6, 2009
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A little over a year ago my Oz went into heart failure and I ended up putting him to sleep. I was so scared he would have a saddle embolism and suffer when I was not at home. But it was way way WAY harder to do than I thought before I had pets. I always said “of course I would do the humane thing.” But he was my sweet boy and I almost couldn’t do it. I took him in for a swollen stomach and it was all fluid build up from heart failure at age 6. Even on his last day the vet didn't hear a murmur. It was diagnosed with xrays. I held him a lot and cuddled him in my shirt...his favorite place...he was a true boy lol. Spoil her! I didn’t have a lot of time to spoil Oz after I found out.
 

denise irwin

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Feb 13, 2018
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I wish I could say I understand how you feel but I do not. I can only imagine the heart ache you are going through and I'm so sorry. Be happy in the time you've had with her and enjoy each new day as a gift. She knows she is loved to the moon and back and she will cherish that forever. Good luck on the journey and I hope the meds work for a long time. Please take more photos of your beautiful girl and keep us posted.

Sent from my EML-L09 using Tapatalk
 

sjdavenport

Lairian
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
26
Points
34
Thank you so much everyone for the suggestions and kind thoughts. Juno continues to do well, and I've been sure to spoil her extra. In fact, I think she may have gained a pound, lol. We're in the process of getting a camera set up to keep an eye on her when we're not home. I think that will give me some peace of mind. Her sleeping respiratory rate has stayed right around 32, which is good. Here she is enjoying some sunshine.

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Toa and Ross

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Jan 23, 2015
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Juno looks so happy outdoors. What a beautiful girl. Happy she's doing well
 

Shmeeps

Lairian
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
Messages
180
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71
I LOVE LOVE LOVE ! that second pic you posted of Juno. All the pics are amazing but I keep going back to have another peek at that one. I'm glad she is stable and enjoying all the spoiling. She is absolutely beautiful{}
 

Uksphynxmum

Lairian
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
32
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Such a beautiful cat... I wanted to just say a little bit as I lost my 12 year old sphynx Rizzy to HCM in April. He was on the same anti clotting drug and diuretic. He also took a drug called Vetmadin which I believe is American but we are in the UK. They also introduced a stronger diuretic as his condition deteriorated. Like you I was very worried but I would count breaths per min and listen to breathing and learnt if he needed vet visit. He had some oxygen therapy sessions and when the time come I took him in for a session and he began to deteriorate during the night so vet suggested I let them give him something to pass peacefully and he did. He lived life to the full and was in no pain when he passed. Like you vet didnt give a time as each cat reacts different. Enjoy your time together, every moment
 
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