The end of February I took Tyler & Trinity in just for their yearly appointment before my shoulder surgery. Both came away with a clean bill of health including senior blood work requested for 10 year old cats. Trinity died completely unexpected 5 days later.
This weekend my awesome cousin who is a veterinarian was in town. I asked if she’d please take a quick look at Tyler. She spent time listening to his heart in 5 places. I thought the quiet of home when he wasn’t stressed would be a better time to listen than when he’s freaked from being at the vet. When he was calm she didn’t hear anything, but when his heart sped up some, she did. I learned something I’ve never even thought about. At her practice in Raleigh, they put in soundproof doors at her clinic for reasons just like this so the doctors can hear better without surrounding noise.
She said at 10 years old she would’ve run a urinalysis and the IDEXX package with SDMA. She said when bloodwork is sent it out to IDEXX it cost less for the owner than doing it in-house. She said the SDMA is a more reliable indicator of kidney function than creatinine and it is always part of the blood panel package she orders in seniors and that Tyler is overweight. She mentioned that with the BNP test my local vet recommended running on Tyler after Trinity passed, that the studies were not primarily on Ragdolls and that with most BNP test results they are followed by an echo anyway.
The most shocking thing is SHE HEARD A STRONG LEVEL TWO HEART MURMUR.
I’m in disbelief. Could Trinity have died of a heart issue that could’ve been prevented or delayed with medicine? I’ll never know if her untimely death was heart or brain related. I’m not even to the point of not fearing the worst everytime I don’t see Tyler first thing in the morning or if I’ve been gone not feeling the need to check on him as soon as I get back home. That panic, the sadness, the image of finding Trinity plays over and over in my mind. I just can’t lose Tyler anytime soon. I am writing this post for those who have cats that heart issues are common in the breed. If you lose a cat unexpectedly, if your senior cat is checked and no heart problem is heart- it may be worth getting another vet to take a listen. Had my cousin/vet not have heard Tyler’s level 2 heart murmur it would have been a year before I had him in for his next yearly wellness exam. Since pets age so much faster than humans I can only imagine how much worse it would’ve been in a year.
I see REACH has Jetsy who is a board-certified cardiologist, that is there once a week. Upstate Vet Specialties that did Trinity’s echo 3 years ago list cardiac ultrasound but doesn’t list cardiology on their site for Gville or Aville and, Pisgah Pets Dr. McCormick ACVR- that did the ultrasound on Trinity’s bladder crystals lists heart ultrasound but not cardiology. Pernell at Laurel Park just says he has a clinical interest in cardiology. I hate the thought of having to take Hwy 26 because the traffic has gotten so bad we may sit in the car for a huge amount of time. I also don’t want to leave him anywhere. It’d be great if we had a traveling or close cardiologist that you could just be seen at your appointment time and go home right after. Less stress for me and Tyler.
How do we only have ONE board-certified cardiologist near us here in WNC?
As soon as I research a local-ish cardiologist, get my head wrapped around this news I will be having tests done on Tyler and I’ll just hope it’s a murmur from getting older like a valve problem, instead of HCM that is common in Ragdolls. After just paying for over $500 for their yearly wellness appointments and coming away being told everything was fine, and the bills on my shoulder surgery rolling in, it will be felt financially but still, the emotions are felt deeper.
If you are local and have information about a veterinary cardiologist or have had heart echos / ultrasound done on your cat here in WNC I would love to hear about your experience.
In February Tyler weighed 16 pounds 9.2 oz, and she told me that he should weigh around 12 lbs. He weighed over 13 lbs when he was a year old – so I’m guessing the over 4 lbs of weight loss won’t be easy if it’s even achievable. I never measured their food because when he got hungry he wasn’t nice to Trinity. Now as a singleton cat for the first time ever in his almost 11 years of life, I’ll be measuring out his food so he doesn’t end with a heart murmur and diabetes. It’s only been measured for 2 days but he’s not eating half of what they say for 14 lb cat. The chart on the back doesn’t go over 14 pounds. He is fed wet in the morning and free fed dry the rest of the time. It takes him a week to eat full size can of wet and he’s only eating 1/3 cup of dry per day. I can see the uptick in his weight from 2016 to now. I think it weird that if you go back to 2007 thru 2015 when Trinity’s weight decreased a little, his increased a little. The chart looks like a sideways hourglass there for a bit.
He is actually acting a little less scared of some things that he was when his sister was alive. It’s like they fed off each other’s fears and would look to see if the other one was afraid or going to run and hide. The driveway sound is back scaring him but I’m trying to be all upbeat and say “daddy’s home” and go great him at the door. That works as long as it’s not a delivery person 🙂
Tyler found the piece of cotton I used to hold my shoulder still during my first few showers. I had it folded on the bench for hubby to take it out to the garage for a rag and he came crying and carrying through the house. So now, Tyler has a blankey. I’ll have to try to get a video of him walking with it.