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Heart murmur's in cats?


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Is the 4/5 heart murmur caused by the hole in the heart? Or are they 2 separate problems? My cat has a 4/5 murmur, but he was an adult aged around 6 when it was diagnosed. Vet thought it could of been due to deep lesions in his gums allowing infection into the heart. (He was found stray) He had collapsed & was very ill. He was stabilised, had all his molars removed to help heal the lesions & put on a daily dose of Fortikar tablets.(Works like a beta blocker). Since he's been on the Fortikar he has not had any more heart problems but does require regular checks with the vet. His murmur is still 4/5.

I'm not sure how a murmur that serious will affect a young kitten healthwise or if there is medication that is suitable, but I think you'll need to get him assessed before he is neutered as the anaesthesia could pose a risk, especially if he is due to be done at a young age. (Is the kitten one of your foster babes? Because Highfields usually spay/neuter early for The Cat Shelter as long as body weight is over 1 kilogram I think)So neuter may have to be postponed.

Edited by spats
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Aimee our little wheelie bin feral has a murmer, estimated grade 3. She is undersized, a carrier for both types of cat flu, had an ulcerated eye, had to have most of her teeth removed because she had serious gum lesions and when she stresses she gets flu herslf.

 

We got her aged 5 weeks when it looked like she wouldnt make it but she really is a loving and lively little thing. It took a long time for her to feel up to being playful because she suffered aches n pains but she is always on the go now. She even slaps the dog!

 

Her murmer doesnt seem to bother her and we make sure the dog doesnt bounce into her. On a day to day basis it doesnt affect her but we know it is there and keep an eye on her

Edited by katkin
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Spats - Yes he is a foster baby, he's only 9 weeks old. The murmur is caused by the hole in his heart. He has been in Park Vets since Wednesday, and they did tests and scans done by a cardiologist yesterday. There isn't anything they can give him treatment wise and they think his prognosis isn't very good, perhaps 6 months, a year or two. He is to become a long term foster cat and stay with us for whatever time he has.

Another thing is that he regularly 'chokes' when he is eating. By that, I mean he will froth/foam from his mouth and nose, cough, gasp for air, awful to watch. We and the vets are trying to work on this and improve his quality of life, as they don't have a clue why he does this, even after tests. At the moment we are holding his food dish every mealtime so he has to eat from a height which seems to be working thank goodness.

I will ask the vets about neutering, thank you.

 

Katkin - Thank you, It's nice to hear that your kitty lives generally well with grade 3. I hope little Oliver can too :)

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Been having a google. There is quite a lot of information available. Some of it sounds hopeful, some not so good. A lot of people say their kittens murmur got better as the kitten grew, but the scale of problem was not a 4/5 at the start. Worrying was the information that congenital mumurs are quite often inherited from a FIV positive mother:cry:I really hope that it's not this.

I can only think the terrible choking could possibly be caused by fluid build up in the lungs maybe? Which I've read is a problem caused by murmurs.

Or maybe if he is crouching to eat it somehow is restricting the blood flow even more & making it difficult to eat & breathe in that position.

Poor little baby. I'm a sending you & the little one a big hug.

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I had read that some kittens grow out of it, but like you said, often if the murmur is 3 or below.

Spats, he is feral, his mum wasnt though, but i guess the FIV is possible.

The fluid build up is also possible, we and the vets just don't know :(

His murmur was found about 2 weeks ago, originally estimated at a 3, but had worsened by last week to 4/5. I'm no vet, but having read a lot about them, I am quite confident it has worsened again, going by the definition of the grades, 6 is when a murmur can be heard without a stethascope. If you hold your ear next to his chest, you can hear it, separate to his heartbeat (which in itself is constantly racing). It sounds like a 'sh sh sh sh' sound.

His tummy is also so solid and hard, I could cry every time I look at him, I'm so worried and have got no idea what to do.

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Oh poor boy- it doesn't sound like he's got a very bright future, does it?

 

I have known lots of cats and kittens with murmurs, and while some have died earlier than they would have done otherwise, most have had a good quality while it lasted and the ongoing symptoms have been controlled really well with medication for most of their lives.

 

The things that set Oliver apart from most of the cats that I have known are that he's been diagnosed so young and that the cause and murmur are so severe at such a young age.

 

Hearts have a hole between atria and ventricles when forming but in the vast majority of cases the hole closes up while the baby is still in utero. Small holes are common in newborn babies of lots of species, but the vast majority of these close up within the first month or two of life.

 

Larger holes are a lot less common and a lot less likely to close up naturally, which creates a huge issue with the ability of the growing heart to supply oxygen to the growing kitten, as the racing heartbeat is showing.

 

Unfortunately if Oliver's heart is not competent then no amount of medication can make it so. Medication like ACE inhibitors, diuretics and beta blockers are used to treat minor murmurs, but anything which reduces the contractions of the heart (such as a beta blocker) will also reduce the ability of the heart to transport oxygen, however incompetently it may be doing so, so there's a limit to how many you can administer because Oliver will already be struggling for oxygen.

 

Statistically the outlook for Oliver is rather bleak I'm afraid, but I've met many kittens that simply shouldn't have survived when you look at the statistics, so that in itself is not a reason to lose hope. However, the medical options for him are very limited since the open heart surgery that is used in human babies with this condition isn't viable in small animals and anything else will just make his life a little easier but won't do anything to cure the actual cause of the problems.

 

If I'm brutally honest I would be surprised if Oliver survived to adulthood, partly because of the heart problems and partly because the heart problems are likely to be associated with a number of other physical formation disabilities which can also cause complications. I'm not surprised to find that he has swallowing difficulties because a lot of human babies with serious hole in the heart problems also have diaphragm or oesophageal formation errors. Very few congenital issues occur as a one-off and most come with a whole selection of syndrome-like problems.

 

I have my fingers crossed for you and Oliver, but I'm afraid that if the vets who have examined him can't give you a positive outlook then there may be nothing that can be done for him unfortunately.

 

Keep your chin up and provide him with the best environment that you can :)

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However long he has, it sounds like he is in the purrfect place and will get all the TLC he needs. In December, we lost Sadie, a 4 year old ex stray who'd had a rotten life before we fostered and adopted her. She had a dicky heart (we assume, we had no warning when she died suddenly but she was obese, had gorged herself on food because her days as a stray had taught her to wolf food whenever and wherever she could get it). We were saddened to lose her so young but at least she had two happy years in a loving home

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