Friday, January 29, 2016

HCM Cats Need to Drink a lot of Water

Your HCM cat on diuretics will need to drink a lot of water, and will want to drink a lot of water. You should provide more than one bowl, and maybe one large bowl where they normally drink and a smaller one where they spend a lot of time (bedroom for example.) Your cat on diuretics will be urinating often. You should increase the litter boxes and think about adding one where it's most convenient such as a bedroom. The boxes will need to be scooped often so that the cat is comfortable using the box. If the cat is not drinking enough, try bottled water (gallon jugs are less expensive than individual bottles) for a fresher taste. If the cat isn't drinking enough, gently give the cat 3-6ml of water by mouth every 3 hours over the course of a day; add water to the wet food for an additional source.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cat Care-Take Notes, Get Notes, Share Notes with All Vets

Cat care-always take notes at the vet; always get copies of results and findings and blood work; keep a file-you'll need one in which to keep records, in order by date. Your regular vet may be the primary for now but you'll need to always consult with the vet cardiologist for any other meds not prescribed by the cardio or for the heart or any procedures the regular vet suggests (for example, HCM cats cannot usually survive surgery and should NEVER take steroid based medications or inhalers for example). 

But as the heart disease progresses, you may find that you'll need to see the cardiologist more often, at which point, the cardio becomes the primary care vet (although they typically don't do vaccines.) The cardio will check pulse, breathing, heart rate, look at eyes and ears and mouth-they look for any signs of any other disease and dehydration and any other heart related issues that show up in other parts of the body (lack of oxygen, blood, poor circulation, etc.) 

AND always make sure the cardio gets the regular vet's paperwork; and that the regular vet gets sent copies from the cardio or any other vet your cat sees. If your cat goes to the ER, have them send copies to both the cardio and the regular vet and give you copies as well. Vets should consult each other when seeing your cat if they have any questions about care. It helps them review for continued care, to review for any complications or to figure out next steps. It helps to keep track of when were last blood tests and results, if certain procedures or tests were done and when. 

We always made sure Myrna's cardio and vet had the same records. And having them yourself, just helps you learn more. And the more you know, the better the care will be that you give.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Feeding a Sick Cat or a Cat That Won't Eat-Some Helpful Guides

Trouble feeding the cat? If you are having trouble feeding your cat or it won't eat enough, one method (of many I've posted about before) is to use kitten formula. You can buy it dry or in cans. You mix the dry with water per instructions. You can syringe feed it by mouth. It has many nutrients that your cat needs. It's a good supplement. Add some corn syrup to boost the energy (1/8 tsp per 3oz fluid.) 
You could also try adding this mixture to the wet food if the cat is eating something.

To determine if the cat is eating enough, consuming enough calories, measure the amount served vs. the amount left over. Determine the calories for each typical serving. Measure what is not eaten and determine the calories of what is left over. We did this with Cooper in 2014 when his weight suddenly dropped (due to heart disease.) Cooper pushed his food around and it always seemed that he ate well but was losing weight. But once I measured what was served vs. what was left on the plate, I realized that he ate only 1/4 of his food. That led to us doing multiple feedings so that he ate every 2 hours (of course I was home so it was simple to do.) But we were able to sustain his weight.

A normal cat should consume about 240 calories a day. When you determine what little your cat may be eating, that 240 number will seem like a daunting task. But if you add up every little calories-and you'll need to write it all down to track it-you will eventually get there. Some days with Cooper, we were lucky to hit 200 but most days we hit 220.

Every 3ml syringe of sweet potato or condensed milk or tuna juice has about 15 calories. Every tablespoon of wet food may only have about 20-30 calories. Every 15 treats may be another 25 or so calories.

Links are below to help you determine calories per serving, and help you figure out measurements. Good luck!

Here's the link for wet food 5 oz cans.

Measurement guide:

Dry food calories per cup are listed below. 


Friday, January 1, 2016

What is an EKG and Is It Necessary to Detect Heart Disease

EKG-this is one type of screening test of the heart-humans or animals. It only measures electrical output of the heart, detecting any rhythm changes. It's useful for checking heart rhythm changes due to meds, any allergic reactions or other disease or injuries. It is good to have on occassion by the vet if the cat has known heart disease. Myrna had them on the rare occassion but especailly after her heart attack Sept. 2013. It is NOT a good screening tool to rule out heart disease. If you suspect heart disease, if you want to know about the progression of your pet's heart disease, only an ultrasound is useful (for pet-humans need about six different tests.)

Importance of Cardio Echo to Detect Heart Disease

The importance of a cardio echo/ultrasound to detect or monitor heart disease:
"The X-ray shows the size, shape and position of the heart and chest contents, and also permits the veterinarian to examine the lungs...ultrasound exam allows the veterinarian to see inside the heart...a "real time" examination that resembles a motion picture... An echocardiogram is indicated to evaluate pets with a suspicion of congenital or acquired heart disease. An echocardiogram may be performed when indicated by the results of an X-ray, when there is a suspicion of heart disease based on physical examination. For example, detection of a heart murmur or irregular heart rhythm could be an indication for an echocardiogram."

Baby Update

12/14/15 Baby update: now on Metronidazole. Gastro test shows no signs of lymphoma but just slightly elevated IBD-irritable bowel "disease". Means her stomach is upset and so far it just seems to be upset with no other disease or issue involved. Metro is an antibiotic, the same Katharine was on for a month in November for her lack of nutrition absorption. Her blood work showed a lack of folate. (Oct. 29 post.) Baby is on the med for a month. In a couple months, she and Katharine will have blood work retested to see how the med is working. They both can resume taking the med as needed.

Holiday Foods May Be Poisonous to Pets

A variety of holiday breads (including fruit cake) contain currants. We know that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs, but are currants just as bad? The answer is YES!
Ingestion of even a small amount of grapes, raisins, or currants can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Some dogs appear to tolerate small doses of the fruit without consequence, while other dogs may develop poisoning after the ingestion of just a few grapes or raisins. There is no way to predict which dogs may be more sensitive.
Grape, raisin, and currant toxicity symptoms include anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea. Decontamination (e.g., inducing vomiting, decontaminating with activated charcoal, etc.), aggressive supportive care, aggressive IV fluid therapy, and monitoring of kidney function is recommended. As the toxicity progresses the kidneys may shut down, and the pet will not produce any urine. As the kidney failure worsens, the dog's blood pressure will increase dramatically, and the dog will usually lapse into a coma.
If decontamination and aggressive therapy are started quickly, the prognosis for currant toxicity is excellent - but if the kidneys have shut down and urine output has dropped, the prognosis is poor.
If you suspect your pet may have ingested any amount of grapes, raisins, or currants you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.