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Lethargic Cat update: Heart Murmur

August 27th, 2007, 12:36 AM
To recap: my cat Loki has been acting funny on and off for a few months now but never serious enough to warrent a vet visit. Well, last week I decided it had gone on long enough and took her to be checked out. This latest episode came after she disappeared overnight (mine come in at night) and came back the next afternoon looking quite tired. My vet found she was running a slight temperature and has a grade 2 of 4 heart murmur. :sad: He did blood work which came back normal (a few things very slightly out of wack but nothing he was concerned about). The thing is, we're not sure if she's always had the murmur or if it's part of the problem. :confused:

To start, my vet gave me a broad spectrum wormer (she's a hunter) and told me to see if that helped any. She got it Wednesday last week and has perked up some since then. She's eating and drinking better (had to convince her to drink on Thursday and Friday but a bit of tuna juice in the water did the trick :D ), her fur feels better, and she just looks better - no "sick" look in her eyes. She's still not 100% (not as much energy as her sister) but it may take a bit of time to get her back to normal.

But the heart is still a concern - if she doesn't bounce back, my vet recommends taking her to a cardiologist and geting an echo done. While I take full responsibility for my kitty (pet owners who can't afford to be pet owners drive me nuts) and am willing to do what I have to, I can't imagine a cardiologist/echo will be cheap. I've had a few people tell me that their cats have heart murmurs but they didn't see a specialist, their cats were just put on meds.

Has anyone here had a cat with a heart murmur and if so, what did you do for it?


August 27th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Hi there, and sorry to hear about Loki's heart murmur. My cat Aztec is also a heart kitty. The vet found a murmur on an electrocardiogram (ECG) when he was in for a check-up a while back (it was undetectable with just the stethoscope), and we went ahead with an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound). They are pricey (about $500 for the first one, $280 for the follow-up), and must be done by a cardiologist. The importance of the echo is to find out what the exact nature of the murmur is. It could be caused by a thickening of the heart wall, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM - what Aztec has), or it could be dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM, thinning or weakness of heart wall), or restrictive cardiomyopathy (stiffening, incomplete filling of the heart). There's a little more to it than that, but those are the basic categories. You can read some more technical stuff here ( if you're interested.

The reason you want to know which type your cat has is so that medication can be tailored to the specific disorder. There are calcium-channel blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, high blood pressure meds, and their use is determined by the nature of heart problem. Aztec is on a beta-blocker called Atenolol, which serves to slow down his heart-rate (an overly fast heart rate is called tachycardia) and allows his heart to better fill up with blood. I just mix it with his food once a day and he doesn't notice it at all. He recently went for a follow-up echo and his heart function had improved enough that the cardiologist gave him the go-ahead for a much needed dental. So ya, meds can make a difference in some cats.

Has Loki's blood pressure been checked (very important with heart kitties)? Was her thyroid function checked when she had the blood-work done? Here's another excellent website on feline myocardial issues that you should read:

Good luck, and keep us updated on Loki's progress.

August 27th, 2007, 12:42 PM
Sorry to hear about the murmur, none of mine have an ongoing murmur, but my baby Asker did have one while she was battling a pretty bad URI, the murmur went away with the infection after meds.:shrug:
Wish you speedy recovery...:pray: :cat: