We got the ultrasound and Doppler (how cool is that?) done yesterday and here is the diagnosis:
DJ does have thickening of the left atria and heart walls and this is causing the blood to squirt into the chamber rather than flow. This causes churn within the heart and the murmur you can hear. It also mixes the venous and arterial blood a little. But it is not heart failure and his prognosis is good.
Here is a nice explanation of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy if you want to know more.
There is no indication of heart failure at this time nor is there any sort of mass in there. What Dr Ellington saw was the severe thickening of the walls of DJ’s heart making the xray obscure. Dr Smallwood put him on a beta blocker to slow his heartbeat a little bit in an effort to allow the heart to relax more and thus reduce the churn of blood in the chamber. It’s an old beta blocker that’s gone generic, so it won’t cost anything. They do not treat for heart murmurs any more unless there are signs of heart failure; this treatment is to reduce how hard the heart is working but does nothing for the murmur. They did studies that showed no improvement at all when a murmur was treated, so they basically just keep a close eye on it until (or IF) cardiac failure starts to show, then they treat it just as you do in humans.
His blood pressure is borderline high but we’re not treating it at the moment. They also drew blood (from his TAIL!!) to check his thyroid and such. The thyroid function is linked to his hypertension but the beta blocker is more for slowing his heart rate than the hypertension.
So, all in all, he’s doing OK. He’s taking a bunch of stuff right now, but it’s mostly supplements, so it’s no biggie.
DJ made quite an impression on the girls at St Francis. They looooved him and fawned over him all day. He flirted with a cute redheaded Dr who said that he can come visit anytime! LOL He’s such a lover, that boy! Everybody loves a squishy orange stripey cat!
We are $577 poorer and will have to do the ultrasound again in Oct ($390) but it’s worth it to know that he’s not showing signs of cardiac failure, just a severe murmur.
I love my DJ and he’s worth every penny. He’s got a bare spot on his chest and his tail and his polka dots are showing, but he seemed blasé about the experience – as usual. He’s doing fine and all’s well for now. :-)