Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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cathyday
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Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by cathyday »

I took Boris for a check up today during which Vet Steve found he had a 'galloping' heartbeat. Not only was his heartrate very quick but it was also fainter than normal.
Steve has referred him to see Mike Holgate (Cheshires best Cardiac Vet) next week for a scan. He fears he may have soft tissue growth around his heart, i.e. a tumour of some sort.
I'm obviously hoping it isn't that, but at almost 17 years old I guess it's a distinct possibility.
I'll let you all know when his appt is.
Please send all your positive vibes this way.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by Crewella »

Poor Boris, all paws here crossed for him. xx
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Thinking about you and Boris and sending all good vibes your way.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by JulieandBarney »

Keeping everything crossed for you Cathy.....please keep us updated....xx
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Boris's appt is for Thursday at 2.00. I actually took him to see Steve yesterday because he's has vomiting & the squits on & off for a week. He had another episode last night & is looking really sorry for himself today.
Steve asked me to monitor his breathing. This morning I've done it twice. First time he was laid awake on the bed & he had 35 breaths a minute. Second time he was asleep and had 19 breaths a minute. Do these seem ok to anyone that may know?
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by lilynmitz »

Sorry Cathy, I don't know what's normal for respiratory rates, but I do hope Boris is keeping comfortable, and that this doesn't turn out to be anything serious. You can't help worrying when they get to this age. Give him a hug from me and Lily,
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by Catfan5 »

Hi, I have to keep an eye on Harry's respiratory rate because of his hcm. My vet says it should be between 20- 30 per minute, lower end when resting. One website says 16-40 is a normal range but not sure about that.. Sorry to hear about Boris' 'dicky ticker' hope his appointment goes well and it's not too serious. Keep us posted.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Thanks all. He is a constant worry at the moment with his various issues. I thought we were getting somewhere because the last 2 weeks he's been fab, eating all his food, sleeping well & looking happy. That all ended Tuesday morning when he was suddenly sick & then rushed to the litter tray, which happened again yesterday. He's now right off his food & looking miserable. I just keep wondering how much longer he will keep going.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by lilynmitz »

It's awful when they go through stages like this, you kind of prepare yourself for the worst, but hope for the best. Cats are such fighters, and Boris has beaten a lot of issues in the past. I'm sure you, and he, will do your best to get him through this, with vet Steve's help. We're all routing for your big guy.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Thanks Anna. He certainly is a fighter just like your Lily. We've been out today & I've worried about him all the time. I needn't have done. We've come home to a very hungry & purry cat. He's wolfed an entire pouch of ID & is begging for more. We're not giving him more though just in case... I'd like to see results from the other end too... Too much info??
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by Crewella »

Glad he's perked up again. xx

And don't worry too much about the TMI ....... (though I'll admit I'm probably one of the worst offenders on the TMI front here), we've all been there! :D
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by lilynmitz »

So pleased to hear Boris has rallied again Cathy. When they're getting a bit frail like this, it doesn't take much to knock them out, just a small virus that a younger healthier cat could shake off without noticing sometimes seems to have more dramatic results on our oldies. Hope the food goes through him as it should!
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Oh poor Boris! I hope everything is OK for him, sounds like he's been in the wars a bit. I'm glad he's perked up a bit though :)

I have to monitor Harvey's breathing due to asthma and a heart condition. His normal breathing rate is around 24 breaths per minute but in an older cat I should imagine that might be a little higher.
The general rule of thumb is that 30 breaths per minute is considered abnormal and if sustained at that it justifies a call to the vet and 40 breaths per minute or higher is considered a medical emergency and urgent veterinary care is required, particularly if the cat is showing signs of breathing in through their abdomen, taking double breaths or straining and struggling.
Harvey was admitted to the veterinary hospital at 44 breaths per minute when he had congestion in his lungs but the vet team were super and got his breathing rate down very quickly.

In order to get a consistent reading it's important to only monitor their breathing when they're resting - they call it RRR (resting respiratory rate). The range between your two readings is very large and is probably down to the fact he was asleep the first time you took it. Ideally Boris shouldn't be in deep sleep as that slows the breathing but he shouldn't be moving, purring or sniffing anything as this also affects the rate. I tend to check Harvey when he's squatting on the floor chilling or when he's curled up but awake as that gets me the most consistent readings. I take his breaths over 15 seconds and then multiply them by 4 to get his breaths per minute :) I'm not sure how much detail Steve went into when he told you to monitor Boris's breathing so excuse me if I'm telling you things you already know :) Harvey usually gives me the filthiest look when I stare at him to take his breathing rate.. I'm sure I must look insane staring at him and trying to count his breaths haha. I use a stopwatch to help me!

With serious heart problems, it's possible for them to get fluid building up around or in their lungs and this is why it's really important to monitor their breathing rate. The earliest sign of this problem is a steady increase in breathing rate and this is why Steve probably asked you to keep an eye on his breathing as you can catch any problems early if you notice his breathing rate going up.

Also, has Boris had any blood tests recently, do you know if he has hyper thyroid at all? It's not uncommon in kitties his age and heart issues can occur in uncontrolled hyperT. These heart issues can often be reversed by controlling the thyroid problem.
Keep us updated on how his appointment with the cardio vet goes :)

If you need any advice or help feel free to email me, I've had a lot to do with heart kitties over the last year or so - I'm no expert but I'll be glad to help in any way I can!

I hope everything is OK with Boris, sending lots of good vibes his way for Thursday and fusses from me! :)
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Thank you so much for your response Sarie. Really helpful information.
I've not monitored a cats breathing before and as an engineer I'm fidning it fascinating. When he's fast asleep it can be as low as 18 breaths/min. When he's leaping across the bed at 5:00am, purring loudly, it's well into the 30's. At rest without purring or activity he's at about 24 breaths/min.

Boris has had both thyroid glands removed and has been on Thyroxin for 6 years. We've been struggling recently to get his levels under control but now we have that has actually made his heart rhythm worse, which is why Steve is concerned.

My other concern at the mo is that his tummy is obviously much better after last weeks sickness and diarrhea, but he's not had a pooh since he was last sick late Friday night. He ate next to nothing on Saturday but since then he's back to wolfing his food down several times a day. He's usually as regular as clockwork, but he's not even showing signs of needing to go at the mo.

I'm hoping his tummy will resolve itself by Thursday otherwise he may be in for more than a heart scan.

What will happen to my boy for the scan? Will he be sedated which always scares me for an older cat.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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They do need to sedate for a scan, and with Mitz they also shaved his flank, so he was pretty bald by the time he came home. Lily's poo regime has become every other day or two days since she's eating less. If she hasn't been for a long time, I try about a third of a tea spoon of lactulose in her food to get things moving, although the vet has also given me some peridale which bulks the poo out a bit to make it easier to move it through the gut.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Buster has never been sedated for any of his scans, he normally has heart and abdomen done at the same time, although there has been the odd heart one he hasn't Co - operated for. They do need to shave to get the images tho. My vet will let you stay while they scan, it was very fascinating. Good luck.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Hey Cathy, 24 breaths/min sounds about normal, that's around what I'd expect for a healthy resting rate and it's around where Harvey sits with his :) At rest is definitely the right time to count his breaths as this is when you'll get an accurate result.

Poor Boris, sounds like his thyroid has given him a hard time! I really hope his scan gives you and your vet some answers as to what's going on. The scans are usually very revealing... I found Harvey's fascinating! He's due another in March too, poor little chap.
Make sure you ask as many questions as you feel you need to when you meet the cardiologist - they use a lot of heart lingo and sometimes you have to stop them and ask what they specifically mean :)

Depending on the type of scan they're doing, they'll need to shave Boris a little. Harvey was shaved across his chest and under his front legs for his heart scans. They may not need to sedate Boris and at his age I'm sure they'll want to try to scan him without sedation to start with. I was told that my cardiologist always tries to scan without sedation as kitties with heart problems are obviously at higher risk under sedation anyway (never mind age concerns), so the last thing they want to do is sedate unnecessarily. However, Harvey was too upset and had to be sedated in the end but this was all discussed with me before they proceeded and they kept his sedation as light as they could get away with. They also gave him some drugs prior to sedation to stabilise his heart and lungs and mitigate the risks as best they could.
Certainly discuss any concerns you have at your appointment as the cardiologist will no doubt be more than happy to explain everything to you and go over any worries you might have and they'll discuss any risks too.

I hope his tummy resolves itself soon too, they're such a worry! Best of luck though :)
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by cathyday »

POOH! We have POOH! Took a couple of attempts but Boris has finally produced after almost 5 days.... Phew....

Apologies to those of you reading this over breakfast.....
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by bobbys girl »

Good News.
cathyday wrote:Apologies to those of you reading this over breakfast.....
No worries! Just an everyday story of Kitty Folk!
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by JulieandBarney »

[quote="cathyday"]POOH! We have POOH! Took a couple of attempts but Boris has finally produced after almost 5 days.... Phew....

:lol: :lol: :lol: ...No problem Cathy, it's always Headline News in our house too !!! :roll:
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Oh good boy! :D
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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:lol: :lol: :lol: That's great news and also hilarious!!
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Thanks all!

I'm beginning to wonder if he's been suffering with constipation for a while. It would certainly explain his bouts of vomiting every 3 to 4 days. We'll be keeping a close eye on him from now on. Having treated his brother (Herman) with Lactulose every day for the same condition all his life (1998 to 2008), you'd have thought we'd have picked up on the symptoms. Although I guess sometimes we're maybe too close to spot the obvious.

I'll add it to the list for Steve before the scan tomorrow..... I take it Boots still sell Lactulose Solution?
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by JulieandBarney »

Hi Cathy,

Yes, you can get Lactulose from any chemist at all, I buy it for Barney, though his RC Fibre Response helps as well. When Barney is constipated, he becomes terribly sick too.

Hope all goes well....x
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Wow, after a five day blockage that must have been awesome! I know how you feel though, I'm equally relieved when I see Lily's performed!

You can get lactulose at any chemist. My sister uses liquid parafin for her cat with megacolon, and my vet also prescribed peridale for Lily. She eats very little these days, so I don't expect a poo every day, but if it's been a while, I dose her up just to make it easier and more comfortable for her to shift it through.

Good luck with the scan. Hope Boris behaves himself. Give him a hug from me.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Hello Team
Boris is back from meeting with Mike Holgate (top Cat cardiac specialist in Cheshire). He's confirmed he does have a gallop rhythm but otherwise Boris is in 'superb condition for his age'. As this is the only symptom and his heartrate is fine (174 BPM) no scan or treatment was deemed necessary. It's a symptom of an old cat with thyroid issues. He thinks if we can get his thyroid sorted it'll settle down.

He's suggested he be referred for radio-ion treament to a surgery in Yorkshire who can get it over and done with in a week. It used to be 6 weeks, but it is now down to intensive treatment for 7 days. He's also suggested a low iodine diet from Hills before that to lower nautral thyroid activity. He did say that the diet with Boris's Leventa may actually do the trick but the 7 day treatment is sure to cure it longer term.

I left him writing up loads of notes for Vet Steve so I guess Steve will call me for a chat in the next couple of days to discuss options. I'm all for giving the diet a go first then the treatment. I'm just worried a week away from home in Yorkshire may be too much for my boy.

All in all an hour well spent today and such a relief to find out it's actually a very minor condition. Mike Holgate is a very nice vet and obviously knows his stuff. I would recommend him to anyone.
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by lilynmitz »

Hi Cathy, so relieved to hear it was such a positive consultation, and that you have options, none of which is too awful. (and that Boris has come back with all his fur on!) I'd do the same as you, try the diet first, and then review whether the radio-ion treatment would be worth the upheaval. Can you not go further with the drug treatment, or is Boris already on the maximum dose?
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Hi Anna

Yes it was big relief to have such a positive outcome from yesterdays consultation.

We're on a high dose of Leventa for Boris's thyroid and Steve really doesn't wish to push that any more at this stage. I will try and source the low iodine food to see if that will make a difference.

Right now my boy is howling away downstairs for food. I guess I'd best go oblige....
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

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Glad you've had some positive news. Hopefully the diet will work
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Re: Boris has an irregular heartbeat...

Post by Crewella »

That all does seem quite heartening, all paws here crossed for him. xx
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