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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 16918
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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OUR CAT HAS JUST DIED IN THE MOST HEART RENDING WAY. DESPITE

Resolved Question:

OUR CAT HAS JUST DIED IN THE MOST HEART RENDING WAY. DESPITE A HEART MURMUR SHE WAS FIT AND WELL AND ONLY 3 AND A HALF YEARS OLD. OUR VETS COULD NEVER TELL US WHY SOMETIMRS SHE APPEARED PARALYSED AND SLOW, LIKE A ROBOT, COMING ROUND WITH NO SOUND ON HER OWN. 2 DAYS AGO, WITH NO WARNING, SHE FITTED, CONVULSED DRAMATICALLY, GASPING AND CRYING. I HEARD A THUMP ON THE FLOOR WHEN IT BEGAN AND DONT KNOW IF SHE FELL OFF THE BOOKSHELF WHICH SHE WAS ALWAYS CLIMBING, HIT HER HEAD AND TRIGGERED IT OR SOMETHING ELSE. BEFORE WE COULD GET HER INTO THE CAR, SHE WAS GONE. CAN YOU SUGGEST WHY IT HAPPENED AND SO QUICKLY.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
My condolences on your loss. I understand how upset and confused you must be because things seems to happen so quickly for your girl Tibby, without giving you time to think about everything that occurred.

With your description of the events I believe that your girl may have died of heart disease, most probably secondary to throwing a blood clot. The most common type of heart disease we see in cats is cardiomyopathy, and that can lead to periods of hypoxia which would explain her previous episodes, and can predispose to clot formation given their abnormal blood flow through the heart.

Cardiomyopathy is a primary disease of the heart muscle and as it progresses owners may miss the very subtle signs of progression. They may include slight weight loss, decreased activity, a slight decrease in appetite and sometimes a cough. Cats are very, very good at hiding illnesses and as long as this didn't worsen dramatically overnight she was able to compensate and hide it from you. In some cases though we don't see any symptoms, and sudden death may be the only sign that they are sick.

When the blood clot is thrown the symptoms we see will depend upon where it lodges. If it is in the lungs we can see vocalization, difficulty breathing and sudden collapse leading to sudden death. If it goes to the brain we can see a seizure type episode and sudden death.

The good news is that although she vocalized and seemed upset it is very unlikely she was aware of what was going on. When the clot lodges and we have poor oxygenation that shuts down conscious thought, and if it lodges in the brain causing a seizure they are unaware. She likely felt very dizzy and then nothing. Her vocalizations and thrashings were reflex movements unrelated to conscious thought.

Mt condolences to you and your family. It sounds like Tibby was a well loved girl and you gave her a very good life, and although a much too short one that was no one's fault.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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