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O'Malley's story

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I grew up with cats and always had pretty bad allergies. When I got married my husband was immediatley assigned to spend 3 years in England (USAF). We went the first couple years with no pets except a guinea pig. I really wanted a cat again but was hesitant with my allergies. Some cats bother me a lot and others not at all. (finally on the right medicine and ok with about all of them now though) I had always thought the sphynx's were really neat so I started looking into them and checking the internet for local breeders. I stumbled accross O'Malley's pic on the internet and he was only 3 hours away. My husband was at this time TOTALLY CREEPED OUT by his picture! He was 6 mos old and the last of his litter due to his heart murmur. We took him home and immediately fell in love! He loved every person and animal he ever met. He even stayed with my parents for a few months when we were moving back to the states. They called him "rubber dude", lol!!! His heart murmur never seemed to change and no vet ever suggested that I medicate him or do anything special. Last march his appetite went to nothing over a couple of days but he looked otherwise fine. I had switched cat foods that week so I assumed that was the cause. I decided to pick up some of his old food again on my way to work (I work nights) that night. The next morning he seemed fine but when I woke up around noon (nighshift sleep during day) he was breathing very hard. I called the vet and said I was on my way in. When I got there he was breathing even harder but still purring and loving on the vet. He had a pleural effusion and they did everything they could but he died within 30 minutes. Very unexpected and still unsure of the exact cause of the whole thing. He was very healthy up until those few days. My husband didn't even believe me when I called to tell him that he died. We had him 6 great years. I hope to find another sphynx for our home...
 

susi794

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Poor baby...but he sounds like he brought a lot of joy while he was here. RIP, Rubber Dude, O'Malley. Your story touched my heart.
 

Mews2much

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What a nice story.
So sorry you lost him.
Do you think he could have had HCM also?
Was he ever scanned for it?
 
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What does that stand for? The only info I got was that he had the murmur. The grade didn't change over time. I have been finding things on the internet now about the cats getting ultrasounded for heart problems routinely. I never knew anyone else who had one when I had him and I feel so lucky to have found this site now!

Ok, I figued it out. Yes I would say for sure with the murmur all that time there is no doubt about him having it. He was not ultrasounded. I assume his death was related to that. It just seemed strange how rapidly he went downhill. And of course that food change made me nervous even though I could not see how it could be related.
 
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Mews2much

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Here is a link to what HCM is.
http://dsl.org/hcm/
Make sure that breeder or who ever you get another sphynx from scans for HCM.
There are so many sphynx that get HCM and die.
It is in my Wrinkles lines on teh dams side.
Her parents have tested neg so far.




 
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I just added to my last post, not sure if you saw it or not... Thanks for the link. First round I didn't have any idea about this but honestly I probably would have taken him anyway...
 

Mews2much

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Hcm can be a silent killer.
I know so many breeders and I have friends that lost cats to it.
I have a cat with a grade 2/3 heart murmur that is now 9.5 years old .
I found out she had it before I got her.
She almost died at 3 months of age and fine now except for herpes and the murmur.
I also have another cat that I took because she had problems and no one would want her.
 
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I am so glad you took them! I saw on that link how sudden it said the onset can be so I suppose that would fit perfectly... I opted not to have the autopsy so I could cremate him instead.
 

Nofuratu

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I am so sorry to hear that you lost your sphynx, but am glad you got to enjoy some time with him. It may sound corny but I think Sphynx cats are little gifts from god, they cheer everyone up around them and bring so much joy. I hope you get to give a loving home to another one when the time is right.
 

Mews2much

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Brooke from this site lost Harold to HCM.
I am glad you gave O'malley a good life.
 

admin

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Hello and welcome to Sphynxlair Barrelstar! Sorry to hear the sad story about your kitty. Here is some info on what it sounds like it could have been:
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart disease of cats, whether they are random bred or pedigreed. It is a heart muscle disease in which the papillary muscles (the muscles in the left ventricle that anchor the mitral valve) and the walls of the left ventricle become abnormally thickened. HCM is often a progressive disease, and a proportion of affected cats develop heart failure if the muscle hypertrophy and subsequent scarring of the heart muscle significantly affects heart function. Cats with the disease may die suddenly and may develop a blood clot in the chamber above the left ventricle (i.e., the left atrium) that often then gets carried into the systemic arterial system, most commonly lodging in the terminal aorta, stopping blood flow to the rear legs.
This is currently unknown in most cats although familial (hereditary) HCM has been observed in several breeds, such as the Maine Coon and American Shorthair. Anecdotal information suggests there is familial HCM in many other breeds. Heart muscle hypertrophy in cats can be caused by other diseases, such as systemic hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperthyroidism. HCM is a primary disease of the heart muscle. Hypertension and hyperthyroidism cause secondary thickening of the left ventricle and so are not causes of HCM (although it is possible that they may exacerbate the disease if they become present in a cat with mild to moderate HCM). HCM is diagnosed when these other causes are ruled out.
In Maine Coons and American Shorthairs, HCM has been confirmed as an autosomal dominant inherited trait, as it is in humans where over 200 gene mutations in 10 genes have been found to cause the disease. The disease has variable expression; meaning some cats are severely affected, others are only mildly to moderately affected, and some cats may not have evidence of the disease yet produce affected offspring.
Recently, a mutation in the cardiac myosin binding protein C (cMyBP-C) gene causing HCM in the Maine Coon cat has been identified. Undoubtedly, other mutations responsible for HCM in cats remain to be discovered. However, since few veterinary cardiologists and geneticists have the expertise to study genes, it may be some time before the responsible gene or genes for each affected breed will be found. The mutation identified as a cause of HCM in Maine Coon cats may not be the same mutation or even on the same gene in other breeds. The genetics of HCM in each breed will require investigation of each individual breed.
There is no evidence in cats, humans or other species of animals that HCM can have a nutritional cause.
HCM is diagnosed using ultrasound of the heart – an echocardiogram. Echocardiography is a good way to detect moderate to severely affected cats. However, it may not always detect mildly affected cats where changes in the heart can be minimal. Ideally, an echocardiogram to test cats for HCM should be performed by a board-certified cardiologist or radiologist.
In addition to an echocardiogram, other tests may also be useful in assessing cats with HCM. For example, a chest x-ray is necessary to detect heart failure in cats with severe HCM. An electrocardiogram is useful in cats that have abnormal heart rhythms. Blood pressure measurement and blood testing for hyperthyroidism are indicated to rule out other diseases that mimic HCM, especially mild to moderate HCM.
A genetic test is now available for the known cMyBP-C mutation causing HCM in Maine Coon cats. The test is available from the Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Lab of Dr. Kathryn Meurs at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University (http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/deptsvcgl/). The test can identify which cats have the mutation. If a cat is identified as having the mutation, the test can also determine whether the cat carries one copy of the gene (a heterozygote) or two copies of the gene (a homozygote).
In clinical practice, the most common patients tested for HCM with echocardiography are cats with suggestive clinical signs of heart disease, such as a heart murmur. Testing cats used in a pedigreed breeding program is a more difficult endeavor. Echocardiography is not a perfect tool for diagnosis of HCM – some affected individuals will escape detection and access to good quality ultrasound services may be difficult and expensive for some breeders. At the very least, breeding cats should be ausculted (examined by a vet with a stethoscope) for heart murmurs or arrhythmias once yearly. Any cat with an abnormality should have an echocardiogram. A significant percentage of cats with HCM will not have a heart murmur, however.
Since HCM can occur at any age, a single normal echocardiogram does not guarantee a cat is free of disease. Breeding cats should probably have an echocardiogram yearly during their breeding years. Examining retired cats periodically is also advantageous as this may allow the identification of affected cats that have offspring in a breeding program.
A Maine Coon cat that tests negative for the cMyBP-C mutation is not guaranteed to be free of HCM, for it is not known if other mutations causing HCM are present in this breed. Ideally, cats that test negative for the cMyBP-C mutation should still undergo echocardiogram screening. Cats that test positive for the disease should not be bred. They will most likely develop the disease at some time during their life although it may be too mild to detect even on an echocardiogram.
HCM can affect cats at any age. It has been seen in kittens only a few months of age and in cats over the age of 10. In Maine Coons, most affected male cats have evidence of disease by 2 years of age, and most affected females have evidence of disease by 3 years of age although instances have been documented where the disease has not shown up until much later. Ragdolls with severe disease seem to develop it earlier in life, often at under 1 year of age. Guidelines for other breeds have not yet been developed. It is therefore hard to recommend a specific age to start testing. It may make sense to screen most breeding cats with an echocardiogram for the first time around the age of 2 years. Maine Coons may be tested for the cMyBP-C mutation as kittens.
The cat should be removed from the breeding program and all offspring should be watched closely for the development of HCM. Statistically, 50% of the cat's offspring would be expected to have the genetic mutation that causes HCM if one parent was a heterozygote. However, the most prudent approach may be not to use any of the offspring in a breeding program. The offspring of Maine Coon cats with the cMyBP-C mutation should be individually tested to determine their status.
The parents of an affected cat should also be examined with echocardiography (and tested for the cMyBP-C if a Maine Coon), as one of them likely carries a gene mutation for HCM. In some cases, identification of the affected parent may be difficult, especially if the disease is mild. In these cases, the most prudent approach may be to remove both parents from the breeding program. It is possible for a cat to develop a spontaneous mutation that causes HCM during embryonic development but this is an unlikely cause in a breed known to have the problem.
All breeders that are using cats related to an affected cat should be notified that a cat has been diagnosed with HCM. Similarly, pet owners should be notified that a relative has been diagnosed with the disease. Echocardiographic examination (and genetic testing if a Maine Coon) of cats related to the affected cat should be performed.
Will we ever eliminate HCM from my breed?
The tools we currently have to diagnose HCM (i.e., echocardiography and necropsy) are not perfect and will not allow us to totally eliminate this disease. However, echocardiographic screening will be able to reduce the incidence of HCM within a breed if enough breeders are involved.
The identification of the cMyBP-C mutation in the Maine Coon and the development of a genetic test provide breeders with a new tool to reduce the prevalence of or theoretically eliminate the mutation within this breed by not breeding affected cats. Breeders should use all the information they can gather about HCM in family lines, including pedigree analysis based on accurate identification of affected cats.
Any cat that dies suddenly or dies from HCM should have a necropsy (i.e., post mortem examination). Most cats with HCM will have a heart that weighs more than 20 grams and most cats with severe HCM will have a heart that weighs more than 30 grams. Myocardial fiber disarray, the hallmark microscopic heart muscle abnormality seen in humans with familial HCM is seen in all Maine Coon cats with HCM. Unfortunately, most veterinary pathologists are not trained to recognize this lesion.
In the long term, we will need a genetic test for HCM in each breed. A genetic test allows us to identify affected cats before they were bred and do so accurately. Since the disease is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, once a mutation is identified, if all breeders cooperated by testing their breeding cats for the mutation the disease could be eliminated from the breed within several generations. However, the money and resources necessary to identify the gene or genes and to develop a genetic test for each breed are scarce in veterinary medicine.
Since HCM is known to be an autosomal dominant trait in the breeds where the inheritance is known, each affected cat must have one affected parent. However, there are possible situations in which an affected cat may come from two apparently normal parents.
The first possibility is that one of the parents has been misdiagnosed. This can happen due to inexperience of the ultrasonographer or poor quality equipment. It can also happen if a cat's status is decided on the basis of only one or two ultrasounds early in life. Since HCM can develop at any age, a cat that is normal on ultrasound one year could still have HCM and show signs later in life.
Since the trait has variable expression, not every affected cat will have echocardiographic evidence of HCM. It is therefore possible for a cat to test negative for HCM on ultrasound, and yet still carry a genetic mutation and pass it to offspring.
Finally, it is possible for spontaneous mutations to occur in cats from normal parents. These cats may then pass on their mutation to offspring. We do not know how often spontaneous mutations causing HCM occur in cats. Statistically, spontaneous mutations are more likely to occur in random bred cats than in pedigreed cats.
__________________
 
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Barrelstar, I have tears streaming down my face as I type this message. I lost my boy Harold to HCM in March also. Every time I hear about another cat that is diagnosed or lost to the disease, it brings back a flood of emotion and the pain that clearly hasn't gone away... Harold was also 6 years old, though I'd just adopted him 8 months earlier, it was instant love and in an instant he was gone.

I was vaguely aware of HCM when I adopted Harold, but oh, how I can tell you almost anything you need to know about it now! Since he passed, I've adopted 4 more sphynx and have had all of them scanned for HCM (and will continue to have them scanned yearly). I'm so excited for you, with the prospect of bringing a new naked baby into your home - and cannot stress enough how important it will be to make yourself more aware of just how common this disease is among our beloved sphynx. If you look for a kitten from a breeder, make sure that breeder scans ALL of their breeding cats yearly for HCM and that they PROVE IT! Since more people are becoming aware of HCM, I'm starting to see breeders advertise "We scan our cats for HCM" but when you dig deeper, you find that they scanned one or two cats one time. That's not good enough.

I recall from another post that you might be looking into rescue? That's great - all four of my cats are either rescued or rehomed, and I didn't have the liberty of asking for HCM reports from a breeder, so I went a step further and had them scanned for HCM myself. I recommend that every owner have their cat scanned. It's expensive, yes, but imagine the heartache you and I would have saved ourselves if we'd had that recommendation given to us?

My heart goes out to you. I know the pain you're in. I hope O'Malley and Harold have become fast friends, running around wherever they are, pain-free and with healthy hearts. ((hugs))
 

Marnasobsession

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It is so difficult to lose them but what a joy to have them. Thank you for sharing your story.
 

sydkat7

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Welcome! So sorry to hear about your kitty...HCM is a silent killer most times. Not that any cat can be a replacement for the one you lost, but I hope you find the right rescue sphynx soon to bring a little joy in your life. My cat Piglet is a rescue and thankfully so far, she seems to be healthy and HCM-free. I agree with Nofaratu that sphynx cats are little gifts from God.
 

Mug-ys mumma

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So sorry to hear you lost your baby :Cry: but it sounds like you gave him a great life and I hope you find a baby/rescue that you can love again.

X
 

heather

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Welcome! I'm sorry to hear about your dear O'Malley. I hope you find another sphynx when the time is right.
 
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Thanks so much! I really want one again. Catman misses his buddy. I have healed.. The 1 year aniversary of o'malley passing is just a couple weeks away. I want the love and laughter again that a sphynx would bring me. Our home isn't the same since he is gonellll
 
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