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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize none of you are probably vets, but I wanted to put this out there and see what others thought.

I took my kitty to the vet Thursday because she had been acting a little odd, being incredibly annoying, knocking things off shelves, but only in my bedroom, and peeing on things excessively. So I took her to the vet, being my cat (which equals stubborn), she had no urine in her bladder, so they kept her overnight. I picked her up Friday, aside from being miffed she seemed fine. They diagnosed her with a low-grade UTI, with some microscopic blood, white blood cells, and some crystals in her urine. They had given her Lasix to make her pee, and so they told me she may want to drink a lot and may pee quite a bit, so to make sure she had water. Put her on Science Diet c/d and Clavamox. I took her home, settled her into her room (my sister's room, we kept her there so the other kitties wouldn't eat her food), with a big bowl of water, and I left for a while.

Saturday, it appeared she still hadn't eaten. Figured she was being stubborn and turning her nose up at it. I'd seen her drink some, but not a ton, but admittedly, I wasn't in there with her all day. I gave her her meds in the morning, then again that night, and that night I decided to make sure she got some water, and I put 7-8 mL of water in her with a dropper after her medicine. She wasn't the most exciting kitty ever, but she would still come to the door some when you opened it,trying to get out, and she would move around the room. I figured the UTI was making her feel bad, and if not that, the medicine. That night we brought her out for a visit, trying to get her to drink from the faucet (her favorite water source), I sat her down on my bed to pet her for a while (she usually slept with me), but if I tried to leave, she'd try to follow me, and my fiance would keep her on the bed.

Sunday, I picked up some wet kitty food at Petsmart, hoping she would maybe go for it. I was gone for a few hours, but before I left I wet her dry food, so I could tell if she'd eaten. I got home and she hadn't. I gave her some wet food, ran some water over it, she drank some of the water over it, but only if I pushed it at her, and after about 3 tries, she wanted nothing more to do with it. At this point, I was planning on calling the vet on Sunday, because she just wasn't acting right, but it didn't seem like an emergency. She was still drinking when encouraged.

Monday, we went and got our usual brand of wet cat food, a large oral syringe, and some multivitamin gel, to try and get something into her. Once again, uninterested. I tried forcing some into her, and that worked about as well as can be expected. Read, not at all. We went to a party for a while, and came back and tried to get her to drink from the faucet. She just was not acting right. She was scarcely interested in moving, and she would just stick her head under the faucet and let it run over her head. It was like she was confused as to what to do. With food, she would just drop her head over the bowl and stare at it, like 'what do I do with this?'. She obviously didn't feel good. We finally turned on the water, and turned her head, and let the water run across her tongue and she drank some. We thought okay, at least now there's water in her. We took her down the hall and she settled in between my fiance's and my thighs, after a bit she walked about 10 feet and settled in under the side table. Then about 2 feet up the cat tree, then up about another 2. I decided to give her her antibiotic and she threw it and most of the water up. She was breathing fast and just looking worn out. That's when we decided to get to the ER.

We got there and she was breathing too fast, was largely nonreactive, they took her temperature, and it was 91*, and that's as low as their thermometers read. Normal for kitties is 100.4-100.5 or so. They could really find a pulse or her heartbeat. She was meowing and it was just this plaintive meow. They took her and wrapped her up in towels and heating pads and started an IV cath on her, but they said she likely wouldn't make the night. Unable to get a blood draw, because she was dehydrated, they took an x-ray which showed pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) so bad they couldn't see her heart. She ultimately died of congestive heart failure.

My normal vet (whom I've only been seeing for a short time) called me, saying he'd gotten the results from the ER clinic, and that he believed it was probably heartworms, but he hadn't noticed a thing when he saw her (and had her overnight) Friday. The ER vet said it was unrelated to her antibiotic and unlikely to be related the the UTI.

The odds of it having been heartworms are so remote, it's ridiculous. We did the math and it's less than a 1% chance for a completely indoor kitty (like Chi-Chi was.) She was only 4 years old.

I guess this is a part of my grieving process, but I'm trying to find answers I'll likely never get. Her symptoms seem to align much more with acute renal/kidney failure than heartworms. My dad and fiance think it sounds more like the vet is trying to keep it from even possibly being his fault, something he didn't notice. I'm trying to decide if I want to go back to this vet at all. I did go to another vet, but I switched because this vet works with the rescue group I work with (and he's a bit cheaper, I believe...bad idea).
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about Chichi. Unfortunately, none of us are going to be able to tell you what happened to Chi Chi. I can tell you that Cats mask heart disease very very well. Its actually pretty common for a cat to have some form of heart disease, and it is a silent killer striking out of nowhere and acting quickly. Cats are masters of hiding illness so by the time you know something is wrong, its often too late.

The only thing I will ask is did your vet give Chi Chi an injection of a steroid, like prednisone or dexamethasone. It would have been indicated in a cat with cystitis because it would reduce inflammation in the bladder and urethra and make Chi more comfortable. The only thing is it can cause a cat with pre-existing heart problems to develop heart failure. Something to look into. But I'm not telling you this so you have someone to blame, just so you understand what might have happened. Like I said, with most cats with heart disease they have no indication of heart problems until they die suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To my knowledge, no steroids were given.

I realize no one can really tell me what happened. I think this is just a part of a the grieving process, trying to find something to blame, ya know? I wish I knew what had caused it, especially if it was heartworms, because if it was...what if one of my other kitties has it too?

I was just maybe hoping someone had had a similar experience, and they did find out what happened. I suppose it could have just been an unknown heart issue...but it just seems so odd that it happened right as she was diagnosed with a UTI...
 

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I am so sorry for your loss. My cat died of congestive heart failure. He had kidney disease and IBD, but the heart seemed fine. He couldn't breath and I rushed him to the ER and lost him that night. It is something that is sudden and I know how you feel about wanting answers. I kept wondering why hadn't anyone noticed this. I had so many tests done on him. But there are some things that can't always be caught. It is hard, because it is sudden. I do feel for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's basically the same thing that happened to us. She was diagnosed with UTI, went downhill, and Monday night wasn't breathing well. She was gone within 2-3 hours of our noticing her breathing wasn't quite right. It's so sudden, so it's such a shock. There's just virtually no way of coping with it quickly. You're completely unprepared and it's just loss, there's nothing else.
 

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I am so, SO sorry to hear about what happened to Chi Chi. I had a cat die suddenly of heart failure, and I can relate to the anguish, and the desperation to get some answers. :-(

What I can tell you is that feline heartworm is becoming more and more common these days. The parasite is starting to adapt and we are seeing more and more cases at my clinic here in Wisconsin. I have personally seen 5 just this year and I am only there part time! You live in a warmer area where I would reckon the heartworm would be even more prevalent. I would not rule out heartworm; it only takes a couple of worms in the heart to kill an adult cat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't guess it really matters now. I'm just trying to figure out if I should get my other kitties tested, not that I'm positive that would help. There's really not a lot they can do for heartworms, is there? It's expensive, but I guess I should go back to treating them with Revolution (I used to do it monthly, but you just forget, ya know?). For now, I can get it from the agency I foster through, but after that...bah. Expensive. It's a shame all the good stuff is expensive.
 

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Neko, I'm so sorry for your loss. Is it possible that Kobe had undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? I ask because I lost a 5 year old cat (Mathilda) to severe pulmonary edema related to cardiomyopathy a couple of years ago. I never even knew anything was wrong with her heart until the disease was quite advanced and she became symptomatic. After diagnosis she did well on meds for a couple of months then decompensated very suddenly and severely, no longer responded to medication and I had to have her put to sleep. One of my other cats, 11 year old Gozer, was being seen last year at the emergency vet hospital for something totally unrelated and the doc mentioned a cardiac "gallop" and suggested a work-up, which revealed the same thing, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Luckily Gozer's disease is very mild (so far) and he's not currently on any meds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We don't know what was wrong, other than she had a UTI and then at the ER had pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure. That's really all I know. Everything is speculative. She went downhill so fast, they had no chance to do more than try to warm her up, get an IV cath in for fluids, and an x-ray. So I suppose anything is possible.
 
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