Saturday, August 14, 2010
In the Beginning There Were Seven of Them, Practically a Regiment!
We raised the kittens for 14 weeks, getting them litter trained and socialized, and used to grooming, and playing. They grew up beautifully. They received all of their shots; they received extra food and medicines as needed. Our intentions had been to adopt them out. The mother went up for adoption; two boys were adopted together. But eventually, the other four girls and boy had not been yet adopted, we opted to keep them all. Along with our other two older cats, that made seven cats in one house. Quite the zoo and often, quite the circus.
Myrna Loy proved to be a physically active cat. She was fierce, tough, relentless, intrepid, fearless. She would run up and down the stairs faster than a bird could fly; she would jump up onto things that were way too far for her little size but she would make it to the top; she would jump up onto and nail the landing on the bannister above the stairway (and not fall two stories below); she could even jump, beginning at eight weeks, up as high as two feet and catch with both paws, her grey furry mouse toy. She was the first to do so and for the longest time, the only one. There was nothing in her way. Nothing to stop her. She could handle anything. And nothing seemed wrong.
It was at four weeks that Myrna's heart murmur was first detected. The vet said she may grow out of it or it may be that there is an issue. She recommended that we keep an eye on her.
It was at eight weeks that it was detected again.
It was at 14 weeks when she was spayed and developed a post-op infection, that it was heard again. The ER doctor did not prescribe steroids to fight the infection, noting that if there was an issue with the heart, steroids may be contraindicated (not right to use for a cat with heart issues.) Steroids cause the body to retain fluids. If the heart is not functioning well, extra fluid in the body cannot be handled by the heart. Hence, fluids back up into the lungs, causing conjestive heart failure. (Which we would learn more about in November.)
Lesson learned: when a heart murmur or other heart issue is discovered early, the cat must receive a cardioac ultrasound so that you know exactly what is the problem. Problems discovered early can be tackled with a better outcome than problems that are ignored and left to render the cat lifeless.
If a heart murmur is detected, the cat should NEVER receive steroids for any illness until the cause of the murmur and the condition of the heart is determined. Giving steroids to a cat that is ill will damage the heart further and cause conjestive heart failure.