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The wonderful life and heartbreaking death of my Frankenstein HCM CHF info and records

AThirdCat

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3 years ago is when my cat Frankenstein was diagnosed with HOCM (later progressed to HCM) and I began visiting this site looking for all the information I could. It was so helpful in my times of need these past 3 years that I made myself a promise that I would provide all the information I had on his case, to help any future owner looking for guidance.
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I apologize for formatting issues as this is my first post!

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for building this community. He was my entire world. Words can’t describe how broken my heart is, but I know if anyone understands, it would be you guys.



I will attach all medical records and number them accordingly. {#} will correspond with each medical page. I think I will add a comment with them after I post this.

!!! will indicate advice that I think is important, and would recommend.



•October 27, 2016: Frankie is born to a reputable breeder that scans for HCM. He is healthy at all his checkups and vets don’t detect anything.

•!!! Frank is enrolled in Healthy Paws Pet Insurance the day after he came home. This is a LIFESAVER. Money was never an issue with this insurance, and I was able to ensure Frank received the best treatment possible !!!

•Yearly check up, 2018: Vet detects a heart murmur, I believe grade 4/5 possibly 5/6. She recommended I see a cardiologist at the local university for an echocardiogram. I cry for months.

•Cardio visit 4/19/18: {#1} HOCM is detected, .2ml of atenolol is prescribed as well as daily fish oil. Recheck in 1 month. Monitor his breathing rate. I start a log in my phone and check his resting breathing rate everyday. (It always was between 18-28 breaths per minute, never lower or higher, even towards the end)

•Soon after his diagnosis Frank makes this weird noise, which turns out to be a cough. Frank will cough randomly on and off for the rest of his life, I don’t believe it had anything to do with his heart, just either allergies or asthma. I never wanted to treat him with an inhaler due to risk of steroids.

•Cardio visit 5/15/18: {#2} The atenolol is working! HOCM has gone down considerably. Recheck in 6 months.

*I believe a visit is missing, can’t find medical records for it*

•Cardio visit 5/6/19: {#3} HOCM is undetectable, I feel so relieved. At this point I have been in contact with the breeders, and they have offered to give me a kitten that needed to be rehomed. I am so grateful to have his brother right now.(Sidenote: I do not blame them at all for Frank’s HCM, I believe this disease can unfortunately happen to any cat. My best friend has 3 cats with HCM and they are all almost 10 years old, no symptoms)

!!! At this point, vet says we can do checkups every year, but I insist every 6ish months. I am glad I did !!!

•Cardio visit 2/11/20: {#4} Mild thickening of the walls is detected, Frank officially has HCM. Continue regiment and recheck in 6 months.

**COVID Happens, and Frank’s cardiologist is closed for all non emergency appointments. I call almost every week to see if they are taking appointments cause it was a confusing time and then decide to ask them if they recommend I find a different cardiologist for his checkup, they refer me to a traveling cardiologist.**

•Cardio check up with new cardiologist 7/22/20: {#5} She notes that Frank’s HCM is very severe, and detects an arrhythmia. She recommends putting him in a holter for 24 hours to monitor this. She also adds clopidogrel, a blood thinner (Note, this was all VERY expensive, I was so thankful for insurance)

•New cardiologist calls with holter results: She says she detects more arrhythmias but is sort of confusing on if it’s good or bad, recommends weaning Frank off the atenolol and then rechecking to see if the atenolol is causing the arrhythmias as it’s possible. I agree.

•!!! I call my original cardiologist at the University to get a second opinion, as I trust him the most. He loved Frank so much and was the best in his field. He was honest and disagreed with the new cardiologist, so I decided to keep giving Frank the atenolol. I don’t regret this decision, even after his passing. !!!

•FIRST and ONLY symptom before Frank’s death, 8/30/20 {#6}: While I was cleaning I heard Frank knock over something the basement. I passed him on the way downstairs, he was sitting seeming normal, I told him he was naughty and asked what he knocked over. At the bottom of the stairs I saw the toys he knocked over, and suddenly he fell down all the stairs and lay tense on his side, letting out a low yowl every so often. This episode was very quick and he seemed normal very soon after, possibly less than a minute. I rushed him to the emergency vet at the University, where they really weren’t that helpful and just treated him for the fall. Now that I had an emergency though, I was able to schedule an echo with his original cardiologist.

•!!! I know now that I should have asked for them to call an on-call cardiologist to check out Frank’s heart on the day of his episode !!!

•Frank at this point was acting like his normal self, always playing, always eating, always napping.

•Luckily they were able to get us in quickly, 9/2/20 {#7} his cardiologist agreed that his heart was very large, and that his episode was most likely syncope from his heart arrhythmia. He asked if we wanted to do a Zio patch heart monitor to check the arrhythmias. This patch was SO much better than the holter. We kept it on for 2 weeks with no problem, not bulky at all. He advised us to monitor his breathing and for any more syncope episodes. If there was anything concerning we should contact him.

•!!! At this point I knew his heart was getting worse, and based on my research, Frank would most likely pass from either CHF congestive heart failure or some form of thrombosis / embolism / blood clot. I decided to contact a local traveling vet who specialized in home euthanasia and hospice care. NOTE: I was hopeful at this point that I would have years left with Frank, but I wanted to be realistic and start planning worst case scenario while I had a clear mind and an almost completely asymptomatic cat. I wanted this vet to become his primary vet and form a bond with Frank so that when his time came I would have her number. She came and met him and was SUCH a blessing. She told me that if Frank was to need it, they would be able to order and help me set up an in home oxygen tent, which sounds like a great resource if anyone wants to look into that route for their cat. !!!

•From this point on, Frank was totally fine. A few weeks him and his brother suffered from the seasonal URIs they would often get, sneezing, coughing, congestion, but those were normal. We celebrated his birthday with tons of new toys, and he was constantly super playful and happy, always eating his food and drinking his water.

•November 9, 2020: Frank was normal all day, and at some point at night, he coughed a little. Since his syncope episode I ALWAYS made sure to check on any little noise he made, which I highly recommend. He seemed fine, just watching our little bird in the next room from on top of our bathroom counter. I walked away. A few minutes later I heard a thud and immediately go back to check on him. He was laying flat on the bathroom floor, sort of breathing funny, gasping a little, his tongue out. I yelled to my boyfriend to come help, and we sat there and tried to gently pet him out of it, like his previous syncope episode, which is what I thought it was. I tried very hard to stay calm cause I didn’t want to scare him. It all happened VERY fast. Less than a minute. We realized quickly he was dead. After years of dreading this moment, and reading some heartbreaking stories, I honestly consider myself lucky. It was very quick, we were home with him, he didn’t seem like he was in pain, just a little uncomfortable for a few moments. I was also grateful we were able to show him to his brother.



I have included Frank’s brothers medical results for number comparison as he has a healthy heart.



All in all I got to share 4 years with the best cat I have ever known. I would choose him time and time again even knowing the short time we would have together.



And if you’ve found this post because, like me, you have a cat diagnosed with HCM or CHF, just know I am so sorry, and I hope one day we find a cure for our babies. Do not let my post scare you, let it empower you with knowledge like I believe so many posts on here did for me. Cherish every moment with your sphynx. I am glad I had his diagnosis so early on because I look back and can confidently say I gave him the best life I possibly could have. He was happy.
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Yoda mom

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@AThirdCat ((((squeeze hugs)))) I am so very sorry your sweet Frankenstein got his angel wings.( I lost my girl at age 2 to embolism from heart related issues.).

Frank only knew your love beyond measure, Remember the Love, soo much Love. May my Yoda girl meet Frank at the bridge, run free together sharing stories of all the love known in this world.


"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

rainbow candle bridge lit.jpg
 

AThirdCat

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Here are his medical records for anyone who might be going through something similar! I’m sorry they might not in the correct order!
 

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AThirdCat

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A few more medical records!
@AThirdCat ((((squeeze hugs)))) I am so very sorry your sweet Frankenstein got his angel wings.( I lost my girl at age 2 to embolism from heart related issues.).

Frank only knew your love beyond measure, Remember the Love, soo much Love. May my Yoda girl meet Frank at the bridge, run free together sharing stories of all the love known in this world.


"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

View attachment 101569
Thank you so much @Yoda mom for your beautiful words! They have brought me peace in the middle of my heartbreak!
 

Yoda mom

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@AThirdCat big hugs your way... the bottom signature of mine is a quote I always remember when I miss my baby. I know shw is with Frankie.. I got the chills when I saw your pic of the gold blankie on brown couch,, that was my yoda's favorite and on a brown couch too. she is similar color too!



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I hope you share a separate introduction post of Frank's brother, name? (((Hugs n head smooches)))))) hope you are an active member with this fun friendly bunch
 

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admin

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So sorry to hear of your loss, it's not easy, I know. Thanks for sharing this useful information and his pictures, he looks ike a handsome fellow with a great personality i'll bet. RIP Frankenstein.
 

Sheldon13

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I lost my girl 2 months ago to a blood clot and heart failure as well. It is still very raw for me so I’m sure it is for you too. It’s never enough time with them. 2 years or 20 it’s never enough. I know you gave him his best life and he was cherished, and that is everything.


Love and Sphynx ~ It’s all you need
 

Catzzzmeow

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What a powerful/heart filled post. I am sorry your angel gained their wings. Every day is a blessing and you reminded all of us they are a gift. Your baby knew nothing but your love and that is everything. Fly high sweet baby.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Beckinboots

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope your heartache eases soon and you find comfort in Frank's brother. Thank you for sharing the information on Frank's illness. I'm sure it will be useful to anyone else going through something similar.
 

Tamson

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I cried through all of this and I am so sorry for yur loss. Sounds like he had the best 4 years of his life. I worry everyday about my 5 month old sphynx just because I feel like this is looming in the back of my head. I lost a 6 month old kitten ( not a sphynx) to FIP and it was devastating for me and for his bonded companion. You are in my thoughts and thank you for sharing his story and all of the helpful information.
 

JessicaRosexo

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I am so sorry for your loss, I got emotional reading this just like many others will.
I lost my best friend(my sphynx) a few months ago and it seems like only yesterday as the pain still hurts my heart so much he passed away also to heart failure and I completely agree on how fast this can happen!
Ozzie passed away at home aswell but just 5 hours prior to his death he was absolutely acting himself and sadly over the last few hours of his life deteriorated. Luckily was very fast, not much suffering and he gained his wings with me around him!
I am so very sorry, I hope you find comfort in knowing he is with all our other babies, pain free!❤️
 

Toa and Ross

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So sorry for the loss of your beloved Frank. The way you talk about Frank makes me smile and cry at the same time. Hugs
 
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