Living with HCM

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Clark

Clark is an 11 month old kitty with moderate HCM. My vet found a murmur pre neuter exam and then I took him to a cardiologist who diagnosed him with early stage HCM. He will be getting another echocardiogram done in 3 months. Fingers crossed it hasn't progressed! Hopefully it will be a slow progression.

- Courtney
- Courtney

Clark

Benjamin

This is Benjamin. He is only 2 years old and has been diagnosed with HCM and a total of 5 different heart conditions. I even have the diagram that the doctor gave me on the first scan (attached) with explanations (an additional murmmer was found on the second check up, only 3 months apart).

Ben originally came from a great breeder in Switzerland, but his second home here in Palm Springs, CA did not suit him (the owner was a Devon Rex breeder and her Devon's didn't like him AT ALL, maybe they knew something before the rest of us did?)

He was scanned in Switzerland, also nutered and they didn't "find" anything wrong, his CA mom only had him for a few weeks and he seemed perfectly healthy, so she had no cause to scan him at that time. His Swiss Mom says that his line has been clear for 5 generations... looks like be got all 5 generations worth in one unfortunate dose.

He came to me in January 2011 and i took him to the vet within 4 days of owning him, because i just wanted to know he was healthy (or in my case not), and that is what a good mom does.

The vet took a 3 second listen to his heart and stopped. "I am sorry to say, but he has the WORST heart murmmer i have EVER heard". Next stop was the cardiologist... They were almost giddy with excitment, as they had not really come across a sphynx so young that had so many bad heart conditions.

I could have given him back to the lady in Palm Springs, but knowing he wasn't happy there, and now knowing his true state of health, we couldn't just give him back. If anything,who would want to take him on with his condition? Well apparently that who... is me.

Ironicly, my husband has one of the same heart conditions as Benjamin, the doctors told my husband's mom that he wouldn't last very long, and here we are 36 years later. :)

The Cardiologist gave us an expected total of 8 years of life, however that would only be if he beat every odd out there and the medicine actually started to fix his heart. Not likely to happen. We are look at more like a good 2 years. Everytime his heart beats, it is working at least 10x harder than a normal heart should. You can actually feel it and see it in his veins...

Everyday with that creepy little hairless wonder is such a blessing. He makes me laugh everyday, and sometimes want to scream too! I wouldn't trade it for the world.

- Amanda Weber
- Amanda Weber

Benjamin Benjamin

Jemny

Hi, my name is Jemny. This past Easter my brother suddenly passed away and I miss him a lot. Our mom and dad didn't know about HCM yet, so he kind of saved my life. As soon as they learned about his condition, they immediately made an appointment with the doctor to check me out. Turns out, I have it too, but so far it's just mild onset. It stinks! I'm only 4 years old and have to take 4 different medications daily along with nasty fish oil. Although the medication is gross, I actually think it makes me feel less tired and more playful. I'm really showing off my silly personality more than ever before. And I won't lie, the best part about all this is mom and dad spoil me more than EVER! I have my very own heated blanket and get these really tasty taurine treats we didn't have before. Most of all, I'm just glad to have more time to cuddle with my mom and dad. I hope we have many more years together.

- Jacquelin
- Jacquelin

Jemny 2

Pooner Rogaine

Pooner Rogaine was born June 9, 2009 and was diagnosed with HCM in June 2010 at the age of one year. He presented with a grade 6 heart murmur and regurgitation, the vet did a chest xray and his heart was already enlarged. Pooner was referred to a cardiologist that confirmed the suspected diagnosis of HCM. Pooner takes atenelol twice a day and is doing very well living with this ugly heart monster. At his last echocardiogram the intensity of the murmur had decreased and the regurgitation is less intense. The cardiologist is optimistic that Pooner Rogaine may live to be eight years old and we surely hope to have at least that many years with him.

Pooner Rogaine is a very sweet, well natured cat.

He loves heated blankets and beds as well as heat vents. In his spare time he loves to sunbathe on his window perch. He loves anything chicken flavored and is obsessed with trying to steal any food that contains pepperoni! He has proudly donated blood the the HCM research study being conducted by Dr. Meurs.

- Jana
- Jana

Pooner Rogaine

Urby AKA 'Bibi'

Urby aka Bibi, history and love of my life! My very first Sphynx.
Urby just turned 8 years old! 8 years of happiness and love!
I fell in love with him, he was only 15 days ... I was looking for my first pet Sphynx, it was the best meet of my life! At 6 months I have castrated. Then a few months later, my Bibi to the desire to begin a great adventure, and become a Sphynx breeder!

Unfortunately at 3-year-old Bibi has been tested positive HCM, it was terrible news for me, the world collapsed on my heart ... but now, Bibi is still with us, he lives his life like any other cat, every night he takes his two drugs and every day to spend with him is a victory! We continue to scan his heart, for now remains stable. Both parents are HCM tested negative, a further proof that nothing is ever, and we must scan, scan and scan! And please, are honest with all! Since I have begin my breeding, my priority is the health; everyday I live a fight with the HCM, Bibi gives me the force I have! I must make that for him and for all Sphynx!


Bibi is our King, our mascot!
Bibi, I love you so much !

- Amelie (Belgium)
- Amelie (Belgium)

Urby

Moe

My boy Moe is a wonderful little guy, full of personality and so much love to share. He has a heart big enough to love everyone he meets and is always happy to sit in your lap or lay next to you. Moe was diagnosed with a murmur when he was taken to be neutered, had a scan and it turned out he has HCM. I had inquired about adopting Moe before I knew there was an issue, but it changed nothing for me or my desire to make him a part of my family. We adopted Moe as a "special needs" kit and have never looked back.

A couple times a year we take him to see Dr. Riepe, to make sure his heart function is still as close to normal as it can be. Those echos are so vital to early detection and proper treatment of this condition. He takes medication twice day, not always happily and goes about a pretty routine life. During his last check-up and re-scan, Dr. Riepe was very excited and happy with the condition of Moe's heart: No murmur or enlargement!

Just like any other cat he plays hard, sleeps most of the day and LOVES his people. Moe truly is a joy to me, his bigger than life personality could win over just about anyone. We feel "special" with Moe being in our lives and a part of our family.

- Anita
- Anita

Moe

Zulu

My beautiful Zulu comes from Astrakhan, Russia. When I saw him as a kitten, my heart throbbed. While he had not been scanned, I was assured that his parents were well. When I first saw him at the airport, I was so happy! He was extraordinary, with many features that we breeders are looking for. When we arrived at home and he was released from his carrier, Zulu stretched, at and played: amazingly perfect and well socialized! We quickly fell in love as he is a cat who is loved by everyone for his clumsy gait and his gentle and affable fondness for my children and other animals in the house. Our plan was to wait to breed him until he had three years of good heart scans. Zulu had his first heart scan at about one year . The test showed a septum wall of .7IVSD without obstruction. This was a very sad day and our family is in a lot of pain knowing that Zulu will die one day. Still, I would say this: Zulu is the greatest gift I’ve received in my life. I would bring him here all over again because he is able to give us so much. We love him and want to enjoy his presence every day as if it were his last. Zulu is our angel and we cannot imagine a day without our big, sweet, nice boy.

- Claudia
- Claudia

Zulu

Cracker Jack

Cracker Jack (Jagger) is living vibrantly, despite a diagnosis of mild HCM. As a tiny baby, I knew Jagger would be my pal for life. His spirit revealed its magic immediately, the first time he looked into my heart. There’s something profound about who he is. He has a need to connect, intimately, with every living being in his world. I laughingly tell my children that Jagger is my “good child”. They know what I mean as they feel it too. Jagger has an innocence, curiosity and pureness about him that you must experience to understand. We call him St. Jagger because he is our angel on Earth.

We did a bit of showing with Jagger before he sired 2-3 litters at my home. I neutered him before his last litter was on the ground so that he could run free as my pet. It was months after that I learned one of his sons had early onset HCM. A second son was soon diagnosed. As a breeder who scanned regularly for years without problems, the diagnosis was a lightning bolt to my heart and brain. The kittens came from healthy lines. Their father, Jagger already had three scans. His mother, father and grandparents had even more. We began re-scanning relatives and this is when I learned that my beloved Jagger had what looked like the beginnings of HCM. His parents at five were fine. We then found his maternal grandfather (clear through age 6) was now mildly positive at age seven. The two kittens and Jagger were out of one of the two lovely girls I kept from his lines.

After actively ducking and diving with conservative practices, I had HCM in my lines. It snuck in mildly and didn’t reveal itself for generations. This disease can be elusive and slippery for breeders. The social, emotional and moral dilemmas that are revealed can be profound. The devastation felt after this much time breeding with (mostly) the same lines cannot be articulated. I was frankly traumatized. Getting up, climbing out and moving forward with Cracker Jack and his relatives and their families by my side may be the most courageous thing I will do. I know that work won’t be done for a while as I will likely be caring for several pets with HCM and I’m scared for them. Because of this, the fight to help find a cure for HCM is alive and well in my heart. I’ve have had support from good friends in the sphynx community. I remain indebted to the small handful who kept me going when I had little belief that it could be done.

I know this, in general: you must embrace life while you have it. I feel blessed to have Jagger for as long as I do. I feel blessed for the families who are caring for the cats we raised. I am blessed for those who chose to care for those at –risk for HCM. I am blessed that there will be many who have escaped this disease. I am hopeful that I will be able to work my way through this, still able to provide wonderful companion animals in the future. My friends are the reason and their gifts have been plenty. Until then, I wait to see what time reveals for Jagger and his relatives. I (we) love them deeply, but we will live bravely and happily and without fear. Jagger, his sons, and his grandfather are unaware and I want them to experience everything with an exclamation point. Period.

- Mary
- Mary

Cracker Jack

Bogart

Bogart came home to live with us in August of 2009 at the age of seven months. He was our very first sphynx. We fell in love with him so quickly, we soon decided to bring another boy, Reggae. The two at bonded and we felt blessed.

At Bogart’s one year exam, Dr. Sherwood heard a murmur and we were referred to Dr. Riepe for an echocardiogram. Dr. Reipe preformed an ultrasound on Bogart's heart and confirmed our fear that Bogart was indeed positive for HCM. Dr. Reipe also informed us that Bogart's heart rate was high . He was prescribed Atenolol . Since this time, we have regular check-ups and have made adjustments to his medication. At this point in time Bogart is responding well to treatment and is thriving! We will continue to provide him with lots of love and the best care possible to ensure that Bogart lives a long, quality life!

When God created Bogart, he put a silly little curl on his tail that we put on special packages. He gave him big round soulful eyes and a silly little bottom lip. He gave him a heart of gold that loves hard and strong. He also gave him courage, courage to live and love to the fullest in spite of being diagnosed with HCM. Bogart is thriving! We believe in part because of wonderul care from Dr. Riepe but mostly because God hears our prayers and cares every bit as much about His creation as we do. I read a lot of the negative and scary stuff about HCM, I am saddened by all of the unkindness and anger amongst breeders over HCM. The truth is it can happen to anyone. Why not work together to find the cure? I am confident that would be Bogart's greatest birthday wish! His third birthday is coming up!

We are adopting two more sphynx very soon. One of them is a darling older girl who is quite related to Bogart. We know the risk, but are willing to bring her into our home and look forward to being greeted by the four when we come home from work at night. They have enriched our lives immensely.

- Judie and Mamie
- Judie and Mamie

bogart