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Old 07-16-2008, 06:31 PM   #31
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I used to get one of mine to take his pills by pressing it into a piece of Chicken, and squshing it all together. It worked until he discovered my trickery, and started refusing anything I hand fed.

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Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew as steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:28 PM   #32
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Hi Krystal,

I saw this thread yesterday and I have been struggling with whether or not to post. I don't want to butt in, but I am worried about you. I keep thinking about you and this thread, so here goes...

Krystal, did your vet give you an idea of the prognosis for Rebel, as in how much time she has? It sounds like from your description of the visit that perhaps she/he did not.

Now I am just sitting here thousands of miles away and haven't seen Rebel, so I can't say for sure what is going on. It's possible she doesn't have heart disease which caused a clot at all. But from your description, that is what it sounds like, and it sounds like that's what your vet thinks, too. If indeed she has heart disease which caused her to throw a clot to a hindleg, that is very serious.

Cats with heart disease often do not show any outward signs until they are very sick. Even on a physical exam, they may or may not have an abnormal heart sound or rhythm that can be detected. Usually the reason a clot is formed in the heart is that one or more of the chambers is enlarged, and the blood, instead of shooting straight through, swirls around in there and hangs out longer than it should. Once a clot is formed, it may sit in the heart for a long time before being shot out to, usually, a leg. Many cats have a clot that completely occludes both femoral arteries, and they become paralyzed in the hindlegs. Usually those cats are so severely affected (painful, and often have congestive heart failure as well)that euthanasia is chosen when that happens. Less often, only one leg is affected, like with Rebel. With time, collateral circulation can take over, and the symptoms of the damage done by the clot can improve or even go away.

But the underlying heart disease is still there. Aspirin is an excellent therapy to try and decrease the likelihood of another clot. But I doubt from your post that a firm diagnosis of the type of heart disease has been made (ie is the heart dilated, thickened, etc). The best test to do would be a cardiac ultrasound (aka an echocardiogram), to see the thickness of the heart walls, if any chambers are dilated, if a big old clot is sitting in the heart now (that would be bad), if any of the valves are leaking, etc. This test is usually done by a specialist, and could cost around $300 to $500. It would give you more information like prognosis (time) and possibly an indication of other medications that could prolong Rebel's life. (But which medications depend on what is really wrong with the heart, so you can't just choose them randomly without having the echo results). Other tests that could be helpful would be a set of chest xrays to see if the heart is overall enlarged (although in a lot of cats with heart disease it isn't) or if there is fluid building up in the lungs (congestive heart failure). An ECG (aka EKG) could tell you if there is an abnormal heart rhythm that could be treated with medications. The xrays would be $150-200 and the ECG $100 or so (well here they would be, stuff may be cheaper in Canada). But if you could only do one thing, I would do the ultrasound.

It is possible that your vet already recommended the cardiac ultrasound, or maybe if you told them finances were an issue, she/he didn't even bring up the test for that reason. But I didn't write just to tell you about that test.

The main reason I wrote is that once a cat has heart disease severe enough to form a clot, their life expectancy is short, under 1 year and most likely under 6 months. Most of them will either have another clot, go into congestive heart failure (trouble breathing), or even die suddenly. I have seen an occasional cat live longer than that, but the majority do not. Based on what you said in your update post, I am not sure that you are aware of that. And reading everyone's replies that said "Yay, Rebel has something treatable," really made me uncomfortable. I mean, yes, you are treating her with the aspirin, but I think there is a misconception about how likely that is to be successful in the long term. And as terrible as that information is, I think you should know, so you can cherish every moment that you and Rebel have left together.

Now, none of what I have said applies if the reason for her lameness isn't heart disease.

I hope you are not angry about me putting in my 2c. I thought long and hard about whether to say anything at all. I even thought about how I would feel if one of my clients was given info by someone else on the internet. But I know that for my clients, I try to make sure that they have all the information available. I think they should know if a pet has a poor prognosis, so they can be prepared, even if the news is hard to hear. I wish you and Rebel luck.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:48 PM   #33
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Laikabear, from what I have read a heart murmur and hear disease are not the same thing... I don't know if you misread, or if I am mis reading you?

He gave her a very thorough exam, the lameness only lasted the day, and she is now back to being exactly the same.

He concluded she is very healthy, and it great shape for 14, but that she does have a heart murmur, and the lameness was due to a small clot that broke up on it's own. Which he gave her an injection to break up further clots, and of course prescribed the aspirin.

Thank you for your concern for Rebel. It's nice to know people care all over the world.
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:18 PM   #34
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Krystal, you are absolutely right. Heart disease can be anything: a leaky valve, an enlarged heart, a heart that can't relax and fill properly, a heart with muscle weakness, or a heart with an arrhythmia. A heart murmur is just an abnormal sound. It doesn't necessarily mean there is heart disease. Sometimes even anemia can cause a murmur. In Rebel's case, I believe she truly has heart disease because of the clot. Cats with normal hearts do not throw clots.

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound when listening to the heart. It should sound very crisp, like lub-dub, lub-dub, as the valves close. A murmur sounds like shhhh-dub, shhhh-dub. They are graded on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being the worst. But in cats, the number, or even the presence of a murmur, does not correlate well with severity of disease.

I would say that it is good that the lameness resolved so quickly, but what I would worry about is the underlying problem. If she truly did throw a clot, then that means that severe heart disease is present, and I would expect more things to happen. If on the other hand, she has arthritis in her knee and she took a jump and landed poorly, and her knee or hip was bothering her, and now it's better, and she just happens to have a heart murmur also, then that is a different story. Some cats with murmurs have normal looking hearts on echocardiogram, and live a normal life.
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:43 AM   #35
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thats absolutly brilliant thats she's on the mend. i was worried as well about her/you. i know how im feeling right now with a poorly horse and i know whats wrong with her and am dealing with treatment!!

you can get herbal supppliments for dogs and horses that have had a heart murmer to 'help' them stay away. my guess is that they are a suppliment tahts good for the heart. i dont know a lot about it tbh though tbh.

sounds like rebel is to your dh that my horse is to me. i couldnt live without my horse, and thankfully she's just 13 and can live a long time as long as i can get this darner condition under controll.

i am so glad that she's on the end though

oh, as for tablets, i usually do an omlet and shuve the pill into a bit of that as its thick and smelly so they love it and dont have a clue there eating it. if she wont eat it in her food then i wouldnt bother buying the pill poppers if you dont mind a bit of cooking. chickens great, cheeses is brilliant, even butter heavily a piece of bread and pop it in older tom cat loves chocolate so he can have any pills in there as its a real treat for him.
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