Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy / Hypothyroidism / Allergies – 8/31/09 – 07/15/2010

So far, Skip has been put on medicine for Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and he has been treated for Feline Hyperthyroidism. Now we are just waiting for October to come, so that we can find out how fast the HCM is progressing and find out if he can get his teeth cleaned or not.

We are in a daily routine of 3 pills in the morning and 1 pill in the evening.  Skip is doing pretty well with taking his pills.  I only have trouble when I miss the target for the Plavix.  All I can say is it must be real bitter pill to swallow. 😉

Leading up to September 2009, I noticed that Skip started to get a whistle when he breathed.  He wasn’t in distress, but breathing in caused a whistle.  Of course I thought that this was a bad sign.  I was just thinking of fluid filled lungs.  I took Skip to the appointment to get the blood work completed prior to his appointment with the cardiologist.  Skip’s Vet is awesome.  They get the blood work returned and fax it to the cardiologist, so that she can evaluate the numbers prior to Skip’s appointment.

In early October 2009, I took off work and hauled Skip up to see the Cardiologist at the Care Center.  I feel really lucky that I live in an area where the Cardiologist is fairly close.  There were people from New Jersey in that day to see her.  You may ask how I remember this; let’s just say these days are carved into my memory.

I asked again if I could go back into the back with him, but again I was denied.  I really don’t understand why they don’t allow it.  Skip does really well when Mommy is there and I feel it would keep his heart rate down and keep him from being stressed.

Once the cardiologist finished, I got to talk with her.  She gave me GOOD NEWS!!  Skip’s heart had barely changed and she could barely see any change in the thickness of his heart walls.  I took a sigh of relief. 🙂  It felt great!  She did want to tweak his medicine to get rid of the whistle while he breathed, but other than that she said he should have a fairly long outlook. 🙂

The cardiologist said that it was ok for Skip to get his teeth cleaned and that she needed to see him again in early February to check the thickness of the heart wall.  I was off with new prescriptions and extremely happy.  I can’t explain the relief that was felt when I heard the news.

BTW, it is a real pain to cut these pills up.  Skip takes a 1/4 Plavix and 3/4 and a 1/2 of Enalpril.  It takes what seems like forever to cut them.  Boyfriend tried once on the cheaper of the two (Enalpril) and gave up after he butchered what he thought was too many of them.  He wouldn’t even try on the really expensive ones.  I have since found an awesome pharmacy that will cut the pills for me.  I even offered to pay them more for the service; that is how much of a pain cutting these pills are.

I made Skip’s teeth cleaning appointment and they had to remove two of his teeth.  I think he felt much better once the gums healed.  The whistle while breathing went away after a week or two of the medicine adjustment.

Time flew by and in early January I noticed my baby didn’t have as much energy.  He still looked fine and was breathing fine; he just started sleeping a lot.  Since we were close to his next cardiologist appointment I started the steps to get his next checkup.

When I scheduled his blood work to be done, I also scheduled an appointment for him to be checked by the vet.  He had a lump behind his ear and his head would get red from time to time.  His doctor said that the redness in his head were more than likely allergies.  Since it was January, those allergies were more than likely caused by food.

The doctor took a sample from his lump behind his ear.  I got to help by holding his head.  They seemed real impressed that he didn’t even flinch when she took the sample.  I kept telling them that he does better when mommy helps hold him because he trusts me.  I think I made some head way in this area.

Skip’s doctor put him on some special diet food that does not have any additives and told us that he was to get no table scraps at all and only this food.  The goal is to isolate him to one type of food and see if the redness in his head improves after 6-8 weeks.

A funny thing happened while they were getting all the food collected.  I was out in the lobby letting Skip walk around on his leash.  It gives him something to do and actually keeps him calmer when the door opened and there was a big dog.  I just asked the person to hold for a second.  She gave a command to the dog who promptly sat.  I picked up Skip and said we’re good.  Then I realized that it was the other vet in the practice.  🙂 She was the original vet who found the heart murmur and she was happy to see Skip wandering around.

She is the one who called me on Monday with the biopsy results which wound up being an enlarged polyp due to the food allergy.  The vet said that she was very impressed with how well I have handled everything and how well Skip is doing.  She was very nice about letting me know I was doing a good job.  I was elated to hear it.  Sometimes it is just nice to get that kudos to let you know you are doing well.

She also gave me news that Skip’s Thyroid numbers were a tad low and was probably the cause of the lethargy.  The vet wanted to wait until Skip visited the Cardiologist before treating to ensure that the HCM wasn’t the cause of the lethargy.

In February, I took Skip up to the Care Center to see his cardiologist.  I was a little ticked off for a bit there.  The cardiologist changed her schedule to where all of the cats are dropped off at the same time and then picked up around the same time.  Since I drive 45 minutes to get there, I really don’t want to turn around and head home and then do it again in the afternoon.  It is a royal inconvenience for out-of-towners I would imagine.

But since that is the game, I will play it.  I would think the cardiologist would want to take the pets one at a time, so that their owners can get them out of the high stress environment as soon as possible.  We are talking about pets that have a heart condition after all.

I digress. Luckily I had taken my laptop up there, so I could work while waiting.  It is really distracting to try and work there plus I was wondering what my baby was thinking and doing.

Finally, I get called back for the results.  Everything is the same.  There was very little change in the thickness of the heart wall.  My baby was fine once again.  Woohoo!

I asked her about the thyroid results and the cardiologist said that he needs to be placed on a thyroid medicine to increase the numbers.  She said that around 10% of cats that have the I-Cat treatment done go the opposite direction, but that it is better to supplement the thyroid than have it produce too much.

The cardiologist asked about how the pills were going.  I told her that Skip really didn’t like the Plavix.  She said it is real bitter and to put it in a pill capsule which you can buy from a pharmacy.

I was speechless.  My first thought was that I wished I had known about pill capsules sooner.  I have an awesome pharmacy now that cuts the pills up and provides me with pill capsules. All that I have to do is put all the pills into the capsules.

We have two containers.  One is labeled morning pills and consists of 1/4 tablet of Plavix, 1/2 tablet hypothyroidism medicine, 1/2 tablet of Enalpril and 1/4 tablet of Enalpril which are all crammed into the smallest pill capsule available.

The second is labeled evening pills and consists of 1/2 tablet hypothyroidism medicine and 1/2 tablet of Enalpril.  This pill capsule is extremely easy to fill.

That is the current status of Skip.  He still has HCM, but we caught it early, so he should have a long outlook.  The hyperthyroidism has turned into hypothyroidism which is better for a cat with HCM and can be easily treated with pills.  Of course we had the I-Cat treatment to avoid more pills, but what can I say? Other than I’d rather it be Hypo- than Hyper- because Hyper- is bad for the heart.  Skip is still on “special-buy-it” from the vet only food for his food allergies.  The lump has gone away and his head only gets irritated when he gets into something he shouldn’t.

Our future is filled with twice a year blood tests and ultrasounds to keep on top of the HCM, but my baby’s outlook is filled with plenty of years of loving his parents and keeping us laughing at things like his fear of spiders and his inability to control his tail. 🙂