Do you think how long do cats live with congestive heart failure. HCM is hypertrophic cardio myopathy which is a heart disease that is very common in cats. I am by no means a vet and I have tried my best to do as much research as possible so what I’m sharing with you today is just things that I’ve found out from the research that I have done to take care of my cat. This is little Taco and I just recently adopted him not too long ago and he is one and a half years old. I’m sorry. okay there you go. Taco actually suffers from hypertrophic cardio myopathy. It is a heart disease that causes the left ventricle of the cat’s heart to thicken and because of this thickening, it is actually harder for the cat to pump blood around the body. Now this condition is progressive and it cannot be cured.
But treatments can help with slowing down the heart rate and also prolonging your cat’s life. HCM is something that has to be medically diagnosed and it has to be lab tested. Now the thing about HCM is that it eventually leads to congestive heart failure and this is sort of like a heart attack that happens in cats. And this congestive heart failure happens due to fluid accumulation around the lungs or in the lungs. Congestive heart failure could cause sudden death and it could also block major arteries because of the blood clot and it could paralyze the hind legs of your cat.
Now there are some cat breeds that are more commonly affected by these heart diseases and these breeds are Ragdolls, Maine coons, oriental breeds like persians, burmese, Sphinx cats and lastly domestic short hair which is what my two buddies are. They’re both domestic short hair. Signs and symptoms to see if your cat is suffering from this disease. So firstly, cats are really good at masking their pain so even if they’re suffering a lot and they’re going through really painful experiences, you can’t really tell it. So most common sign that you will see is your cat has a significantly big decrease in appetite.
That’s one of the more worrying signs. Another thing that you can look out for is if you bring your cat to the vet and the vet hears something irregular in their heartbeat, then it could be a big warning sign as well. So commonly one of the biggest tell tale signs is heart murmurs, extra heartbeat, irregular breathing patterns, or irregular heartbeats. So if you notice all these things in your cat, you might want to bring your cat out for something called echo cardiogram. And basically what it is its ultra sound to see how your cat’s heart is doing. So these echo cardiograms costs about $600 and from what I’ve know, some animal hospitals don’t have these services so you might have to go to a specialized clinic for the echo cardiogram.
And one more thing to look out for is if your cat is suddenly vomiting, or suddenly not having appetite, or if they couldn’t move their hind legs, then this could be that they are suffering from congestive heart failure and these should be taken to the vet immediately. Now treatments for the cats, so HCM is something that is not curable so once your cat has it it is most likely not going to disappear. Because it is not curable, the cat would eventually get congestive heart failure so all we can do as pet owners is to delay that possibility for as long as possible. And from what I’ve heard, once your cat is diagnosed with HCM, they have roughly about 4 to 6 years to live. But of course that’s not the case for all cats.
So there have been cats that have HCM or other heart diseases that live past 16, 17, 18 years. So it’s really just how well we can best take care of them in the little time that they have with us. So what Taco has right now, he’s actually just mild to moderate HCM. So his case isn’t as serious yet because he’s only a year old so he’s not that old yet. So for him right now, we have him on beta blockers. And what this does is it actually slows down the heart rate of his heart so that his heart doesn’t have to pump so much blood and it reduces the stress on the heart, but because of this it increases the stress on the kidneys.
Their kidneys have to work a little bit harder. So for Taco especially, I try to give him food that is lesser in sodium so that it reduces stress on the kidneys. And one more thing I do for him is actually giving him and well as Bunbun, this is Bunbun and I give both of my cats taurine supplements. Taurine is a very important amino acid that cats must have and they actually get it from protein. And the thing is cats aren’t able to produce taurine on their own so it has to be supplemented in their food.
Taurine is naturally occurring in meat and because cats are carnivores, they technically should get their daily doses of taurine. But the problem is, most of the commercial foods that you find, even the ones I feed my cats with only has 0.05% of taurine in it. And for an average cat, they need about 75-100mg of taurine everyday. Also if you’re a pet owner that makes homemade pet food for your cats, you might want to be aware of how you prepare your food. So taurine from what I’ve heard is that this protein breaks down completely when the meat is exposed to high temperatures.
So because I don’t know how the cat food is being prepared when I buy the canned ones what I do is I supplement them with extra taurine. So this is the taurine supplement that I give for both my cats. And so what I do is I’ll scoop 1/8 teaspoon of taurine into the cat food and I also put in the vetri science multivitamins for my cats so just one tablet for each cat a day. And I only do this step in the mornings. So once I’m done with that, I’ll mix the powder and the tablet up with the cat food and I give them Fancy Feast. Bunbun really likes gravy so we give them gravy as well as poultry and beef. And on top of that, for Taco I actually give him his beta blocker and this you can actually get from Walgreens and it’s about $10 for the big bottle.
The pills come in normal regular pill sizes but for Taco, his dosage is that he has to take 1/4 of a tablet every 12 hrs so I feed my cats always at 8.30 am and 8.30 pm so that I’m making sure that Taco is getting his 12 hrs difference in his pills. Also what I’ve done is that I have cut up the pills into quarters so I can just easily put it on top of his food and I can see it when heats it. Now because this heart disease is something that is not very easily diagnosed, the next time you bring your cat to the vet and the vet tells you that there is an irregular heart beat or heart murmur, you might want to bring your cat to get an echo cardiogram. Also from what I’ve heard, is that they can only detect these kind of heart diseases in the cat after the cat has been a year old.
So if you have a little kitten like Bunbun, he’s not a year old yet so we haven’t really brought him to check for his heart but from what I know, he’s a really healthy boy. Yea? Are you a healthy boy? You are :3 Say hi to everyone! Hi everyone! Hi! I’m Bunbun! Okay. Go! So you might want to bring your cat down for the echo cardiogram even though it might be kind of expensive, it could really prevent heart diseases from occurring or getting really bad without you knowing it. I was very lucky because I adopted Taco from and pet shelter in San Jose and they actually diagnosed him with HCM before I’ve gotten him so I’ve learnt most of these information from I knew from the shelter itself. And they take really good care of him.
So bringing him out to the doctors and bringing him for checkups is a very expensive procedure and I’m really glad that the pet shelter does it. So where I got Taco from is actually The Dancing Cat and I’ll give a link to their website down below. They have so many amazing cats and if you guys live in the bay area you could definitely check them out if you’re looking to adopt a cat. Another thing is, because Taco has this heart disease, we need to be really aware of the amount of stress he’s experiencing as well as the amount of fluid that is in his body. As you can tell, fluid buildup really affects cats with these kind of heart diseases a lot. So what happened to him in one incident was that Taco fell sick after he got here and he was having a high fever.
Normally when a cat has fever we need to reduce the temperature of the cat. So when I brought him to the vet, usually they will put the cat under IV fluid, so it’s a little drip to just drain their body temperature but because Taco has his disease, we didn’t want to overload his heart or the kidney. So instead of giving him the IV, we actually just inject liquid under his skin to bring down his temperature. If we didn’t know that he has this heart disease then we would’ve given him IV and this would’ve brought him even more stress to the heart. Which is why it is really important to get your cat diagnosed. So the follow up for Taco’s diagnosis is that he has to go for echo cardio grams every year.
We do have to bring him to do the checkups every year to make sure that his heart is doing well and if need be to follow up with medications for him. And for his beta blocker he actually has to be on them for life so this is something that we need to make sure he has as well. So yeah, thank you so much for watching the video and if you found it helpful you can give me a thumbs up.