I am writing in regard to my main coon cat, Munchkin, who is 15 years old. I took Munchkin into the vet 6 months ago for a routine visit and with blood work taken; they said that she was borderline to having a thyroid problem. They also pulled an abscess tooth.
I took her in again last week to recheck her weight. Nothing had changed except the fact that the dr. had noticed a heart murmur. The dr. said that I should get full blood work and x-rays done as soon as I could and then I also would need to take her somewhere else to have a full cardio done on her. I left the vet feeling a little confused as if the dr. was a little short with me. I had asked him what was necessary between the two future visits since unfortunately, I really am only my catís savior, and considering I just graduated college and still looking for employment these expenses may not be funded. When I asked him what was necessary I never got a straight answer. I looked online and it said that sometimes heart murmurs might be caused by dental disease. That concerns me because of the tooth that was pulled 6 months ago, and the fact that it seems like my cat may have troubling chewing. I also addressed that issue; the chewing one, and the dr. peeked in her mouth and said she looked good.
I am at a loss as to what I should do with the heart murmur, possible thyroid and dental problem.
Does the thyroid problem go hand in hand with the heart murmur? Should I go ahead and schedule not only the blood work and x-rays, but the full cardio as well? If I decide to not go through with the full cardio because of funding, what may be the repercussions? Is there any type of over the counter vitamin or medications that Munchkin can take for the heart murmur or to control the thyroid problem?
Thanks for your time, it means so much...
If there is a thyroid problem, that should definitely be treated but even that is "borderline" and may not need medication yet - I don't know. Maybe you could just take her for periodic blood tests. If there are more dental problems, that should also be looked after, since you don't want her in pain.
As for the heart murmur, your cat may have always had that, or had it for a long time...?
There are no over the counter meds for either condition.
If you aren't happy with your vet and feel your questions were not answered to your satisfaction, you should get a second opinion.
It's entirely up to you how far you want to go with a 15 year old cat, as long as she seems happy, is eating/drinking and behaving as usual.
Actually, as for the murmurs, she was tested 6 months ago and the dr. never said anything was wrong. So, I wonder since it has developed over the last few months, is it more threatening?
Thanks for your insight, I really appreciate it!
My Uncle has a dog who has been recently diagnosed with a heart murmur as well, and he was told that it was due to dental problems. Since then his dog has had surgery to get a couple of teeth out, and some major cleaning and stuff.
Bacteria from an infected or unhealthy mouth can and does travel throughout the body and can cause problems with the heart and other organs. As to whether or not that is what caused your cat's heart murmur, noone can be 100% sure that it was.
When your cat had the dental cleaning and extraction was she given antibiotics? Most vets will prescribe antibiotics for a few days before and after the proceedure to help fight off infection.
She may have always had a heart murmur that went undetected or she could have developed one as she aged. Many pets do get heart problems when they are older.
Unfortunately, as stated before, these are conditions that must be treated by a veterinarian with prescribed medications.
A heart murmur is typically a symptom and not a disease in and of itself tho in animals , there ar grades if heart murmurs and it seems to me your vet did not explain it very well t you - the nexttime you should bring someone with you or take notes so you can have the exact info.
I also would have to disagree that dental disease can cause a heart murmur per se. What it can do is lead to the build up of bacteria that can cause cardiac problems that are indicated or discovered because of a heart murmur. Cardiac problems are also caused by the lack of taurine in a cat's diet but now many high qualify (NOT the grocery store junk stuff tho there are a few exceptions). At any rate, this is why brushing your cat's teeth daily is important - or having dentals (I prefer to brush my cat's teeth and they are all quite used to it). Also , make sure your kitty is getting enough taurine.
I would investiagte why your cat has a murmur and what it is symptomatic of. This may mean finding a vet you prefer but your cat does need to see someone for possible cardiac issues. Small kittens can grow out of murmurs but in an aduly, I would discover why she has one. It may be quite innocnet or it may reveal something serious - like valve problems but I assume those might have been found. Whatever you do, you cannot afford not to have your cat checked because down the road, you could end up with even ore expensive vet bills.
Thanks so much to all of you for the input. I will definately explore the taurine and get her her proper blood tests and xrays, again I appreciate your advice.
Thyroid issues do affect the heart a lot. Even if the thyroid issue is borderline, if it has been that way for a while, the cat's body might be becoming more sensitive to the extra hormones. I say this because I was borderline hyperthyroid, but for over 2 years and I could have had a heart attack. I'm not trying to scare you, but the thyroid issue, along with the dental issue could definitely be stressing the heart.
I agree with finding a new vet if this one isn't giving you the help you need.
My Norfolk terrier who is now 10+ developed chronic pancreatitis and hepatitis some 18 months ago, which in turn has led to her developing a heart murmur too. When her liver/pancreas problems are not in evidence she is fine, gums etc a good colour, but it has never been suggested that we do a full cardiac investigation. She is on a prescribed diet: Royal Canin sensitivity control. Her weight is good, and she enjoys life, we have recently acquired a rescue Border terrier x and together they wreak havoc wherever they go.
I spent a "day in the life" of a med school student recently and this is what I learned:
Apparently (according to the doctor teaching) dental bacteria and poor dental health has been known to cause heart murmurs in animals for some time and apparently, a recent study found that it can cause heart issues in humans too.
Just thought I'd share since this is probably the only question I have a clue as to how to answer.
Good luck with your kitty!