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Heart murmur and, guess what, it's not Oscar!

rjesak
March 18th, 2010, 11:02 AM
So I took Gus in for what I thought was just going to be a teeth cleaning and light grooming (he's been having a little trouble after using the litter box... well, lets just say his nether regions have been icky lately :laughing:) but while I was there, I figured I'd have the vet check him out. Turns out he has a level two heart murmur.

Apparently there are six levels and they DON'T work like Defcon (6 is worse than 1) so it's not an emergency but I still have to take him to a cardiologist. Can't I just have a bunch of healthy cats for a while???:frustrated:

hazelrunpack
March 18th, 2010, 11:07 AM
:grouphug: I feel for you, rjesak!!! Sometimes it doesn't rain but it pours! :frustrated: We tend to go in 'streaks' here, too, and it's amazing what a few $900 vet bills in a row do to the pocketbook. :rolleyes:

Does he seem to be acting differently? With any kind of luck this will be a 'nothing' and Gus will be fine! :goodvibes:

ancientgirl
March 18th, 2010, 11:43 AM
Poor Gus. I hope he'll be okay.:pray:

Frenchy
March 18th, 2010, 11:51 AM
I don't know about cats but , I had a foster golden that had an heart murmur , it was grade 3 or 4 , vet only saw it while a check up because otherwise , we wouldn't have known. Vet said she was doing great and would live a long and normal life so .... if yours has a grade 2 , I would say , he's going to do great. :goodvibes:

14+kitties
March 18th, 2010, 12:59 PM
:grouphug: to you. I know what you mean about having healthy kitties for a while. Not possible around here lately. :( I would hope that Gus isn't suffering much with a level 2. How old is he? Have you seen any sign of it before? Does he tire easily?

ownedbycats
March 18th, 2010, 01:06 PM
Just to show that a heart murmur is not necessarily the end of the road.....My neighbour has a cat with a heart murmur. I'm not sure of the level but he wasn't supposed to live very long. He is now 18 and not on any special medication.

Sib.HuskyMom
March 18th, 2010, 05:38 PM
I'm not too sure about cats, but my old dog had a heart murmer and from his experience, I wouldn't worry much about a level 2.

He was 7 years old when they discovered his murmer at a level 2. It stayed at that level for about 3 years, before increasing to a level 3. His activities were no different, no coughing, and he was not limited in any way. Although we did start him on a daily dose of Vetmedin at that time (which we were later advised by a cardiac specalist that it was the perfect decision for him).

It wasn't until he turned 12 where it got progressively worse. He eventually passed away at the age of 13. :candle:

So I wouldn't get too worried about a level 2 heart murmer. It may never increase beyond that, and even if it does, I'm sure you still have many more happy years ahead. :grouphug:

growler~GateKeeper
March 19th, 2010, 01:51 AM
The next time Gus' heart is listened to, don't be surprised if they change the level the heart murmur is at.

Next time if Gus is calmer like just going in to have the heart listened to and not having other things done or if they check his heart first, then finish with everything else, you may find the level has dropped to a 1 or they may tell you it's still a 2 but isn't as obvious. :fingerscr

Heart murmurs are rated mostly by volume and what the sound change is (from normal). Any stress will make the sound louder as the heart is pumping faster or the valves may not close completely so there is the sound of blood leaking backwards etc.

http://cathealthissues.net/cat-heart-murmur.html

Last year my senior grrl was in an somewhat unfamiliar clinic (hadn't been to that clinic for about 2 years) all day for monitoring as she had an allergic reaction to something she ate, then was transferred to ER for overnight when the ER Dr examined her she said grade 2-3 heart murmur - this was the first anyone had said they heard it. She was outwardly very calm & is in general but had had a very stressful day - left in clinic on IV fluids, tests run, was having pooping issues, fast breathing etc.

A couple of weeks later on follow up w/her homeopath vet he couldn't hear a murmur & a 2nd vet also confirmed she couldn't hear it~maybe a very very faint 1. It has not been heard since, and ultrasound revealed no abnormalites.

:fingerscr the same is true for Gus :goodvibes:

rjesak
March 19th, 2010, 08:40 AM
Wow, all your stories have made me feel MUCH better! :thumbs up

It's funny because I thought we were just going in for a teeth cleaning - Gus has been perfectly normal and seems very healthy. Now I'm not sure if I should shell out the $500 for the cardiologist or have him checked out by the vet again! The cardiologist is an hour away (as opposed to 15 minutes) so he most certainly WON'T be calmer! :laughing:

A level two is so low though - maybe it was just stress... They hadn't done anything THAT nasty to him. They cleaned his teeth and shaved his butt (and, now that I think of it, they probably stuck something there too:eek:), ok, maybe a LITTLE stressed. :rolleyes:

I guess I'd better think about what to do. I wouldn't really mind the $500 if I think it's necessary but, we're trying to save for a new roof and every little bit counts! What to do? What to do?

Maybe I'll call the vet and ask her but she thought he should probably go to the cardiologist... I'll probably do that - I wouldn't have to wonder at all then and my peace of mind is probably worth $500 at this point...

Thanks so much everyone! :grouphug::goodvibes::2huggers::lovestruck:

sugarcatmom
March 19th, 2010, 12:27 PM
Now I'm not sure if I should shell out the $500 for the cardiologist or have him checked out by the vet again! The cardiologist is an hour away (as opposed to 15 minutes) so he most certainly WON'T be calmer! :laughing:

While an echocardiogram is the gold standard for diagnosing heart conditions, an EKG and a chest x-ray can sometimes be useful (and cheaper) for providing clues as to what might be going on. My cat actually has no audible heart murmur at all (and no symptoms), but a galloping rhythm was discovered during a routine pre-dental EKG. He was sent for an echocardiogram, which showed a form of hypertropic cardiomyopathy with turbulent blood flow through the heart chambers and an accelerated heart rate (tachycardia). He was put on Atenolol (beta blocker) and a follow-up echo showed great improvement in blood flow. At that point, he was given the okay for a dental.

If Gus doesn't need to go under anesthesia anytime soon, you could probably put off an echo for a while. Was he anesthetized for his recent teeth cleaning?

LauraK
March 19th, 2010, 06:52 PM
One of my kitties has a level 2 or 3 murmur (diagnosed after she was spayed and came through that fine) and you would never know! When my vet first heard it, he said he could refer me to a cardiologist, etc. but that it would be quite expensive and probably not worth it at this time as she was showing no ill symptoms and was acting like a completely normal, healthy cat. That was 3 years ago and she's still a-okay! I'm glad I know it's there (although I should listen to see if I can hear it while she's home and relaxed... ) but will save her any undue stress/tests until she shows she needs it. :)

Tundra_Queen
March 19th, 2010, 07:33 PM
I hope Gus, will be ok.

growler~GateKeeper
March 20th, 2010, 12:21 AM
A level two is so low though - maybe it was just stress... They hadn't done anything THAT nasty to him. They cleaned his teeth and shaved his butt (and, now that I think of it, they probably stuck something there too:eek:), ok, maybe a LITTLE stressed. :rolleyes:

.....

Maybe I'll call the vet and ask her but she thought he should probably go to the cardiologist... I'll probably do that - I wouldn't have to wonder at all then and my peace of mind is probably worth $500 at this point...

Yes the level is low and possibly could have been stress related, I would be interested in what the sound was like and what that meant in terms of changes happening in and around the heart.


:2cents: I would bring him back to the vet in about 2 weeks just so they can listen to his heart and check blood pressure. Likely then go ahead with an appointment with the cardiologist if it's still a 2 or any louder :2cents: :shrug:

rjesak
March 20th, 2010, 06:46 AM
Was he anesthetized for his recent teeth cleaning?

He wasn't but, apparently the all canned food diet hasn't been good for his teeth - they want to remove a few. She wanted me to get the cardialogic stuff sorted prior to that although she said they could do an EKG and the dental whenever I'm ready. Sounds like it might be worth it.

I would bring him back to the vet in about 2 weeks just so they can listen to his heart and check blood pressure. Likely then go ahead with an appointment with the cardiologist if it's still a 2 or any louder.

I think this is a good idea. Since I have to get the dental done anyway, maybe I'll switch the order around. Take him in for another check on his heart and the dental (along with the EKG and see what that gets me.

Good ideas all. :thankyou: