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Heart Murmur?

ScottKelly911

Savannah Super Cat
#1
Hi Everyone, I have a question I hope someone can direct me to info about. Shelby is being neutered today and the vet did an examination and detected a heart murmur. II'm pretty sure I read on here or somewhere how SV's can have differing heart rates and palpitations than a normal cat which can sometimes be interpreted as a murmur. This is my vets first time working with an SV. I do have confidence in her and she did read up on SV's in anticipation of working with Shelby. I did pre-warn her about SV's sometimes abnormal (in relation to normal cats) heart beats . Last week when Shelby was at a different vet getting fertility tested, they did an examination and didnt find a murmur or made no mention of it. That pArticular vet does have experience with SV's so maybe that is why he wasnt concerned. Can anyone give me info or point me to some that has a better explanation of SV's in this nature that I may be able to show my Dr. Thanks!

Btw, wish us luck, Shelby's being. Clipped today, I wonder if his meows will get high enough to join the Vienna Boys Choir :lol:
 
#2
I'm not sure about the heart best question, but some murmurs are situational and cannot always be heard. I'd assume these are the lowest grade murmurs. My Selkirk Rex has one like that. One vet will hear it and one won't. How old is Shelby? He may grow out of it.

Sent from my SGH-T769 using Tapatalk 2
 

ScottKelly911

Savannah Super Cat
#3
Thanks Trish, she said that on a scale of 1-6 it seemed like a 2 (I guess murmurs are measured on a 6 level scale?). But would suggest heart and chest xrays to be sure. She did say it didnt seem super strong so if I didnt want to do xrays etc. to just keep an eye on him and maybe brig him in for another exam in the near futur to see if it gets any better or worse. She also said his heart rate was on the low end for cats but can probably attribute that to being a Savannah. She said a normal cat at the vet who is nervous has a rate of near 160 and his was at about 120.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Hi Everyone, I have a question I hope someone can direct me to info about. Shelby is being neutered today and the vet did an examination and detected a heart murmur. II'm pretty sure I read on here or somewhere how SV's can have differing heart rates and palpitations than a normal cat which can sometimes be interpreted as a murmur. This is my vets first time working with an SV. I do have confidence in her and she did read up on SV's in anticipation of working with Shelby. I did pre-warn her about SV's sometimes abnormal (in relation to normal cats) heart beats . Last week when Shelby was at a different vet getting fertility tested, they did an examination and didnt find a murmur or made no mention of it. That pArticular vet does have experience with SV's so maybe that is why he wasnt concerned. Can anyone give me info or point me to some that has a better explanation of SV's in this nature that I may be able to show my Dr. Thanks!

Btw, wish us luck, Shelby's being. Clipped today, I wonder if his meows will get high enough to join the Vienna Boys Choir :lol:
My very first Savannah (F2 male) was 18 months old and had been to the vet multiple times before they ever heard a heart murmur...it was low when detected (I cannot remember if 2 or 3) BUT xrays showed he was already in congestive heart failure! He showed absolutely NO symptoms to us, maybe now he was a little lower in energy but he was our first so hard to know if he was crazy for a domestic but not a Savannah or whether in hindsight we are imagining he was a little less crazy...

In any case, we went through some trauma, an initial misdiagnosis by the first "specialist" who diagnosed restrictive cardiomyopathy. I wasn't happy with that vet, she was really arrogant and would only comment via my vet and not directly speak to me, so I looked her up and she was board certified in internal medicine but NOT cardiology specifically. Warning bells so I called up UC Davis (the closest vet school) and they told me what I'd already concluded from my reading, that RCM was very very unlikely and to get him up there asap. They did a lot of testing (it was a full anxious day) to determine he had a defective heart valve (mitral valve dysplasia)... he'd had it from birth and it was causing mitral regurgitation so the blood was backtracking to the lungs all the time, causing the congestion we were seeing on xray. They were great and explained things so clearly.

So my suggestion is to find a good vet cardiologist...you can look up which are board certified in cardiology online.

Savannahs are not any different from a domestic cat, I have never had a cardiologist say they had palpitations or different heart beats... they can have larger hearts but then many are larger cats. I have all my cats seen by a cardiologist now, especially before breeding them... if you are anywhere near LA I would recommend Dr Sarah Miller who is fabulous...she's probably seen more Savannahs than any other vet cardiologist too. She was a resident at UC Davis all those years ago with my Bobo, but now practices in Irvine. She does HCM screening clinics that local cat show clubs organize, hence seeing so many SVs over the years :) So she's seen more normal SV hearts too...which I think is a great baseline.

Your vet is right though, some murmurs mean nothing...so you could choose to watch and wait. I'm the paranoid sort though....so I'd want to know. As to not detecting it before, it is easy to miss a low murmur. Vet hospital rooms can be noisy, my vet usually takes my kittens into a back room where it is quietest to listen, he knows how concerned I am about heart health because of Bobo.

The case for finding out now is that if it is something like a valve defect like my Bobo, or HCM (the most common heart disease in cats) then early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference. Bobo was not supposed to make it to 2 years of age, with careful monitoring and medication he will celebrate his 12th birthday in May. I've known of many cats with HCM that with good medication and monitoring lived for years with the condition... so early diagnosis is best.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Thanks Trish, she said that on a scale of 1-6 it seemed like a 2 (I guess murmurs are measured on a 6 level scale?). But would suggest heart and chest xrays to be sure. She did say it didnt seem super strong so if I didnt want to do xrays etc. to just keep an eye on him and maybe brig him in for another exam in the near futur to see if it gets any better or worse. She also said his heart rate was on the low end for cats but can probably attribute that to being a Savannah. She said a normal cat at the vet who is nervous has a rate of near 160 and his was at about 120.
The lower heart rate could mean he just wasn't that nervous... Savannahs can be confident sorts :)
 

ScottKelly911

Savannah Super Cat
#6
Brigitte, thank you for your reply! I am in Los Angeles, so I will definitely look up Dr. Sarah Miller. Shelby means the world to me so I definitely want whats best for him. Thank you! Btw, he was shaking and nervous but was on his best behavior as always, no scratching, biting, hissing, squirming or anything, just stayed on the table shivering as I pet him and gave him support :)
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#8
A cardiac exam on a Savannah should not be any different from any other domestic cat. A grade II/VI heart murmur does not sound significant, however, listening can be deceptive. What you hear faintly one day may be markedly louder on another day. Even position change can change the quality of a murmur. The bottom line is, the only way you will know for sure how serious (or not) this is, is to get an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) to look at the heart muscle, chambers, and valves.
 
M

Michelle.D

Guest
#10
I had purchased a kitten and the day before he was supposed to come home, his vet check revealed a stage 4 heart murmur. The breeder called to tell me about it and I know she felt horrible about it...I had to hang up because I died a little inside when she told me. I had fallen in love with that kitten and watching him grow for 6 weeks. I called my vet and she confirmed that it's not good and advised that I not bring that kitten home. I was beyond devastated. I couldn't break it to my son because I don't want him to be sad and thinking that the kitten may not live so I told him that the kitten just had health issues and that the breeder had the facility to give him the care he needs that we don't have. It was extremely rough on us all.