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Heart issue (Not HCM, but similar in some ways)

HappyLilSphynx

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I was adopted by my sphynx about a year and a half ago; before deciding on a cattery, I had waited for a sphynx to become available at a shelter (never happened) and had done research about HCM and other things specific to the breed. My breeder's cats all come with a health guarantee against congenital defects, and she has never had an issue with HCM (she scans all of her breeders annually and her retired breeders are placed in homes with an agreement to be scanned at least every other year). My baby was about 4 months old when I picked her up, and had been spayed, micro-chipped, and was UTD on her kitten shots (except rabies - my breeder recommended waiting until a sphynx is at least a year old to give them the rabies shot, if you decide to give it at all ... right now, I'm trying to figure out the best option - I don't want to give it to her, especially with her heart condition, but not being able to board her, bring her places, etc. may cause issues in the future).

Late last year, I brought her to the vet to update her shots and for a physical - and you can imagine how surprised I was when he looked at me and asked if anyone had mentioned her heart murmur to me before! He also said it was at least a 5 on the 1-6 scale with 6 being the worst. I got a 2nd opinion, and then an appointment with the cardiologist. I was asked about symptoms (trouble breathing, excessive sneezing and/or discharge from her nose or eyes), lethargy, etc - and my little girl hadn't shown a single one. Even her breathing rate was normal.

The cardiologist found that she has aortic stenosis ... in short, an valve in her heart did not form properly which is causing resistance from the blood flow (the condition is a progressive one, and could not have been detected when she was a kitten unless she had an echo and they had noticed the faulty valve at the time).

I was curious if any other sphynx parents and/or breeders have had this issue with their cat(s). I can't seem to find a whole lot of information online about it (at least in felines). My little one is on 2 heart medications (and likely will be for the rest of her life) and will be rescanned after taking them for 6 months to see if they are working. In the meantime, I am monitoring her for any changes in behaviour (so far she is just as sweet as ever!) We will not know what her prognosis is until she goes back for the second scan (assuming she makes it that long) because it depends how well she is responding to the medications
 

Emily0404

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Khaleesi has a heart murmur . Our vet said that unless she shows any symptoms she wouldn't recommend a heart scan at this point as no medication is needed unless symptomatic. Hope your baby stays well for a long time :)
 

Yoda mom

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I don't know about stenosis. I would ask the vet though if there is any possibilities with stenosis developing saddle thrombosis embolisms- it was a horrific shocking experience I wish they told me could have been a possibility because I was panicked when it First happened to my ^Yoda Cat^ .

I share this for an awareness , not to be alarming , but because I had no idea what to do. I had never heard of a saddle thrombosis embolism and it was terrifying. It is heart related. Most kitties do not survive the first episode .. We shared 4 together before her name was called to the bridge :( At 2 1/2 years old) .

These were her progressing signs (very consistent) and my immediate first aid:

1. Larthargic morning episodes- she would lay in bed for canals hour past our normal vet up time together. - not like her- all 4 embolisms began between 7- 8 am
2. Shed would walk around the house for about 10 minutes- then come find me as she let out the most guttural howl.
3. Her rear legs went limp paralyzed and she lost her bowls the first two episodes.
4. Her whole body was cold especially her feet I wrapped her in a blanket immediately and held her in my arms and called the vet.
5. She had a thready pulse intermittently with fast then barely palpable heart beat
6. She only howled once and was quiet during the episode. It was terrifying.
7. Within 10 minutes, she got up like nothing happened, jumped out of my arms and went to eat.
8. My vet wanted to monitor her for the day. Later I learned she just sat in a cage to see if she would howl again.argh
9. I took her home and my vet had me put her little 5 lb body on an baby aspirin/low dose regimen 1 every 3rd day for the week.

10. My vet said most do not survive the first episode and are often PTS when it happens. She said it was a matter of time.

^Yoda^ had another episode within 3 months. This time immediately preceeding ,
I saw the lethargy, morning time again , and shaking one rear leg and tail twitching. No howl. Then rear leg paralysis again.

I immediately gave her a low dose Bayer aspirin , wrapped her cold body in a towel and snuggled with her. She lay quiet in my arms for two hours in bed together. Once again, she suddenly got up to go about her business again- eating.

Over several months I watched for the tail twitch and rear leg shake and would give her a low dose aspirin. These tail twitching episodes got closer together over time.

Though research says there is no proof, I am a believer the low dose aspirin dissolved the blood clot and saved her life several times.

A full blown happened again.. Gave the low dose and wrapped her in a blanket and held her. The vet said there was not much more to do than PTS. She bounced back nearly 3 hours later. Again, off to eat like nothing happened.
She had no residual paralysis thru all 3 episodes.. My little miracle.

The 4th and final was on Valentines weekend. It lasted 4 plus hours. Her name was called to the bridge that day.

I share this with a tear stained heart because I think everyone with a HCM cat should be aware of saddle thrombosis. And.. Even though research does not prove it, I am a true believer that the aspirin regimen worked for her and gave us nearly 3 years together. She never had any residual paralysis and ran around like my monkey cat head butting and purring till her name was called to the bridge.

I wanted to share so others may learn in the memory of ^Yoda Cat^
And encourage anyone with an HCM kitty to discuss it with their vet..


I pray for good health with your baby girl and send {Hugs} and encourage you to share what you lean about kitty aortic stenosis
 

Catzzzmeow

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Our Babas has had a stage 2 murmur since he was a kitten (he will be 11 this year)...never progressed. Jouët has a murmur which is barely audible she turned 1. Our vet said unless we see the murmur progress in Jouët he does not feel it is necessary to scan as well.


Patti
 

Yoda mom

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Patti, thank you for bringing some peace of mind..
 

andreanar

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Keeping your girl in my prayers that her next scan shows improvement.
 

HappyLilSphynx

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Thanks for all the information and kind thoughts! With her aortic stenosis, my little one didn't show any symptoms throughout her kittenhood, getting her shots, and her 4-month check-up. It was when I brought her to the vet just over a year later that they heard the murmur. To make a long story short, the murmur developed because the valve is between her left ventricle and aorta. My vet said surgery isn't done (there isn't much online I have found, but what I have seen all agrees that the prognosis after surgery for this issue is not good for felines). Anyway, since the one chamber of her heart has to pump harder to force the blood to flow, the muscle in that area build up (which is why, at least in my eyes, it is similar to HCM). The issue didn't show up when she was a kitten simply because there hadn't been enough heartbeats to force the muscle to build up ... in about a year's time, she went from not showing any signs of a murmur to the vet not knowing how she hadn't already gone into heart failure (she never showed any symptoms). I noticed this evening that her resting respiratory rate has gone up a bit ... I'll check it again tomorrow morning, and if it's still high I'm going to call the vet to see if I should increase any of her meds.

The one bit of good information is that since she hadn't gone into heart failure, we have the ability to try to monitor/quasi-control the aortic stenosis with heart medications. The vet also said that in some cases when the given cat has responded well to the meds, some of the muscle build up has been undone (she compared it to someone who pumps iron and suddenly stops ... it may take time, but the muscle will go down). I have my fingers crossed that this will be the case for my little sweetheart - but I'm monitoring her for any symptoms every day (I can't help it!) and have no problem making a call to the vet as soon as something seems out of place!
 

ZiggyStardust

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I hope her respiratory rate is fine today! So sorry about your baby and praying the meds help her. Ash's certainly have helped his HOCM. Is one Atenolol?
 

HappyLilSphynx

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She's at the upper end of "normal," but we just had visitors for a few days - but at least she's back in the "safe zone!" I'm monitoring her daily ... I try to count her breaths while she's asleep - much easier than when she's bouncing around, and I figure it's also more accurate (since playing, etc., can cause fluctuations).

My little Safari is on atenolol and Benazipril (even if I can't spell it!) ;) I give her the atenolol in the morning (I wrap it in a little bit of wet food, and she takes it with no problem), and the other medication in the evening. My vet has the 2nd one compounded into a liquid that I can put on her food, a little bit of low sodium tuna, or just squirt in her mouth (the pills were so small it was virtually impossible to get them to split evenly, so this should help make sure the gets the right dosage each day).

Since Safari still hasn't shown any symptoms, I'm cautiously optimistic that the meds are working. I figure that each day she doesn't show any symptoms is a victory for her :)
 
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