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Old 07-16-2008, 10:56 PM
Rubystreak Rubystreak is offline
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Cat with heart murmur: prognosis? Your experiences?

Today, my approximately 15 year old cat Shadow was diagnosed as having a heart murmur that is degenerative and not curable, though treatable as symptoms arise. The vet assured me that he can live a long time with this, considering that his circulation is still good and he has no edema or weakness. Even if he starts to show symptoms, we can treat it with medication for a while, the vet says.

The other issue is, Shadow also has stomatitis in his mouth. He has shown decreased appetite and occasional drooling, so there are real issues with his mouth. The vet wants to do a cleaning and extraction, pretty extensive oral surgery.

The reason why I question this is... my cat Harley had FIV. This vet saw him two months before he died and said he was in OK condition and probably had a couple of years left in him. I did all this oral surgery on him, and then he died of basically his body shutting down (kidney failure, inflammatory bowel, not eating, etc). I had to have him euthanized because he was doing so poorly. So I feel like I put him through that oral surgery for nothing.

Do you have a cat who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy? How long did he live with it? Should I do the oral surgery? If he really does have several good years ahead of him, I will do it, but if he only has months left, why make him suffer the surgery?

Thanks for any opinions.
Old 07-17-2008, 08:26 AM
Avarie537 Avarie537 is offline
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My Stacy has one that's very very mild - sometimes the vet can't even hear it if the room is too loud. She's done very well, other than being old.

Sorry I'm not more help, but I'll send good thoughts to you and your fuzzy butt!
Old 07-17-2008, 01:10 PM
Shayna Shayna is offline
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Location: RedondObama Beach, CA
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My cat, Mew, had a heart murmur her entire life. She also had oral surgery to have some teeth extracted at about the same age as your cat. At age 17 she was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure, yet every aspect of every test for kidney function she had for the next 5 years, remained within the "normal" range, and even showed improvement, rather than decline. Her vet said she had much younger cats that didn't look as good as she did. She lived a very happy and comfortable life until age 22.

Good luck with Shadow. I hope he feels better soon!
Old 07-17-2008, 02:59 PM
Gulo gulo Gulo gulo is offline
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Location: Cascadia
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My cats didn't have cardio but had heart murmurs associated with thyroid issues.

One of my cats had a heart murmur for years, along with hyperthyroidism. She had oral surgery (at 13 years of age) and never seemed to perk up after that and I had to have her put to sleep a month later. I don't think the surgery had a direct cause on her death, she had been sick for years and I was surprised that she had made it as long as she had but I worried afterwards that it may have been too much stress for her already failing system.

However, my oldest cat (she's 16? Wild guess) had a heart murmur & had all her teeth removed three years ago. She was going strong until a couple of months ago, was diagnosed with pneumonia, then heart disease and was put on some heart meds. Then she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism instead and has perked up again now that she's on thyroid meds (and weaned off the heart meds). At her last checkup, my vet said that she can't even hear the heart murmur anymore.

If she had to go into surgery now for oral issues, I'd deem her healthy and perky enough to benefit from it. Sure she's old but other than stiff joints, she's eating, drinking and being her normal crabby self.

Don't know if this helps but I wish you and your kitty well.
Old 07-17-2008, 03:00 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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My 6-year-old dog has had a heart murmur her whole life. It didn't get loud enough for the vet to hear until she was 4 or 5. Other than getting tired out a little more quickly than other dogs, she is happy and healthy.

Although...she has some fatty tumors that could be removed if I wanted to. The vet did say that they hesitate SLIGHTLY to put her under with the heart murmur. That kind of scared me, until the vet said there's plenty of dogs who have successful surgery with a heart murmur and they don't completely recommend against it, it's just something to think about.

Did your vet mention anything about that? Risk of anesthesia with a murmur?
Old 07-17-2008, 03:08 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Originally Posted by Rubystreak
Do you have a cat who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy?
It is very difficult to say much about cardiomyopathy without more information. Cardiomyopathy is a general term and more description is necessary to say much. Cats can have dilated cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, etc. Each has its own unique issues and prognosis.

That said, if the cat is free of symptoms, dental health is important. If finances will allow, and it hasn't been done, an echocardiogram of the heart (typically with a specialist) would be a great idea, followed by the dental work.
Old 07-17-2008, 03:11 PM
lavenderviolet lavenderviolet is offline
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Location: usa
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I'm not a vet, but I do know that in humans that not all heart murmurs are equal (some are harmless, while others indicate a serious problem), so you may not be able to tell much from people's stories unless you're sure they're talking about the same kind of murmur.
Personally, I would go ahead with the oral surgery regardless since it sounds like the cat is probably in pain from his mouth issues.
When my dog had a murmur in her old age, we had a veterinary CARDIOLOGIST evaluate her (echocardiogram included - we loved that dog!) who unfortunately was wrong in predicting her valve would not degenerate fast enough to cause her trouble before she died of something else. You can never really be sure what the future holds. However, if the cat is in pain now, it's only fair to try to ease the pain. The discomfort of dental surgery would probably not be as bad as continuing to live with rotten teeth.

Last edited by lavenderviolet; 07-17-2008 at 03:13 PM.
Old 07-17-2008, 03:54 PM
Mrs. Cake Mrs. Cake is offline
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Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 1,970
I have one older cat who seems to have an on-again/off-again murmur. He's now 17 and had dental surgery a couple years ago. At his last check-up the vet says he is one of the healthiest cats of his age he's seen.

My other older cat had stomatitis for a year. They kept him on steroids, which didn't work, but eventually I got them to go ahead and pull his back teeth. That was a year ago and the stomatitis has never returned. Meanwhile, the steroids harmed his kidneys, but we caught it early and they think with the right diet and some supplements he could be fine for another 2-3 year (he's 15 now).

Stomatitis made him utterly miserable, and the extraction turned it around so fast it was amazing. Get it done right away. I only wish I could have convinced a vet to do it months before they actually would.
Old 07-17-2008, 03:58 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 42,171
Our cat Clarence was diagnosed with a heart murmur (and high blood pressure). He lived a year or two after the diagnosis. But YMMV -- one case differs from another.
Old 07-17-2008, 04:17 PM
pinkfreud pinkfreud is offline
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Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
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Our Garfield lived for six years after he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. He continued to live a fairly active life, and died in his sleep at age 19.
Old 07-17-2008, 06:41 PM
PastAllReason PastAllReason is offline
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Location: Western Canada
Posts: 1,593
My cat was diagnosed with a heart murmur around the age of 6. She lived another 7 years, the last two of that also with hyper thyroidism. The heart murmur itself did not affect her quality of life; she was outwardly healthy for many, many years. As others have posted, though, each case would be different.
Old 07-18-2008, 01:49 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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My cat was diagnosed with a heart murmur at 6 months, right after we'd bought him from the breeder (she offered to take him back but we'd already fallen in love with him and so she refunded half his purchase price instead). The cardiologist told us it was a 4 on a scale of 1-6 (relatively serious) and that he had supravalvular aortic stenosis. He also told us that it was likely that if he survived to age 3, he probably would live a normal lifespan with no trouble.

Tenshi recently celebrated his 8th birthday, and he's going strong with zero heart-related troubles. He had oral surgery about a year ago to have some teeth pulled and came through it like a trouper.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but there's another data point for you.


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