Mojo is very popular with us all at Hall Vet Surgery, and of course much loved by his family. Two weeks ago he disappeared for a night and when he came home couldn't get interested in his food – very unusual for MoJo and most distressing for all his fans!
When we saw him we found a few scabs on his head, presumed he’d been in a brawl and sent him home with antibiotics.
Although we noticed a heart murmur we didn’t take much notice of it because many cats have murmurs and never show signs of them.
Next day his owner searched the house for him. She found him hiding in a cupboard and still not the slightest bit interested in breakfast. His breathing seemed a little laboured so we took an X ray of his chest. His heart was hidden by fluid around the lungs.
We drained the fluid and he was much happier. It was clear fluid, possibly as a result of his heart murmur. An ultrasound confirmed that he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and that his heart is failing to pump efficiently.
Just as we thought we could let him go home on fluid removal medication he started limping on a front leg.
Cats with heart failure sometimes throw clots into the bloodstream which end up blocking vital arteries. Poor Mojo had a clot in the artery to his front leg. Fortunately it must have been a small one because with heparin therapy it dissolved and Mojo is on aspirin to prevent more clots forming.
Signs of heart failure are rare in cats even when they have murmurs we can easily hear with a stethoscope. When the blood is so turbulent that it causes clots the outlook can be very poor because clots are so hard to prevent.
Mojo is stable for the moment, enjoying his meals and spending a lot of time on his owner’s lap. Regular checks of his chest and blood pressure should help keep him feeling good and his fans happy for a long while yet.