Posted on: May 22nd, 2015 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

Many of our clients know our hospital cat, Aurora. She’s such a celebrity, she has her own Facebook page! But Aurora hadn’t been feeling well lately, and we were worried she might have a heart problem. So she visited the local cardiology specialists and wrote the following about her experience.

My Big Day at the Cardiologist
By: Aurora

After two episodes of feeling faint, Dr. Rubenstein and Dr. Mustillo decided I should go to the cardiologist. My appointment with CVCA was today.

They were ready for me, and as soon as we walked in, Kate took us directly to a room. (This was good because there were these really big animals that I didn’t recognize. I heard they are called D-O-G-S. ??) I had been very vocal in the car so Dr. Rubenstein asked for a litter box for me, which they provided. (I didn’t need it; just wanted to make sure they were paying attention.) Since I’m used to veterinary hospitals, this was clearly a different place, but the floors, tables and computers all seemed vaguely familiar. The people were very nice. Dr. Rubenstein filled out some paperwork while I walked around. She listed my occupation as “hospital cat”. Dr. Rosenthal was the cardiologist and Kim the technician.

Kim checked my weight (steady at 12 pounds; down from my original 18#) and then checked my blood pressure. Ha! Fooled them. Since I have kidney disease, they wanted my blood pressure to be high so they could treat it, but I had a lovely systolic reading of 100 (normal for cats in a veterinary hospital is < 160). Dr. Rosenthal then examined me and said I looked pretty good for a 17-year old cat. He heard some subtle abnormal heart sounds, felt a tiny thyroid nodule although my thyroid labs are normal. He said I was a bit overweight (humph!). He did a brief “neurologic exam” (like having me stand on my knuckles and seeing if I put my foot back in the right position) and I passed with flying colors.

Then we went into the darkened room next door for the echocardiogram (ultrasound exam of my heart). They have a very nice, padded table so I could lie on my side, with a towel under my head. Dr. Rubenstein stayed by my head and Kim held me in position for Dr. Rosenthal. There is a hole cut out of the table for the ultrasound probe to go under my body, and they put some gel on my fur but no shaving. It didn’t hurt at all, and there were these really neat live action images of my heart on the large computer screen. Dr. Rosenthal explained to Dr. Rubenstein what he was seeing in my heart. My left atrium is a bit big which isn’t good and something about “diastolic dysfunction”.

Last step was an ECG (electrocardiogram), as is often done in people. They put these little clips with different colors on different parts of my body – didn’t really hurt but a bit annoying; fortunately it was only for a couple of minutes. Neither Dr. R nor Dr. M had ever heard an arrhythmia when listening to my heart, and the ECG was normal.

Dr. Rosenthal reviewed all the information from A Cat Clinic: lab work including thyroid and kidney values, urinalysis and culture, blood pressure measurements, chest xray, along with the new information from his exam, the echocardiogram and ECG. He decided the best medication for me is something called Benazepril. Dr. Rubenstein is kind of nervous because of my kidneys, but Dr. Rosenthal said this should be the best medication given the condition of my heart, and recent studies say if I’m not on diuretics (I’m not), my kidneys should be OK. Since the pharmacy had to order the medicine, Dr R and Dr M decided to wait to start this on Tuesday, after the holiday weekend. After 10 days, I will get labs and blood pressure rechecked at A Cat Clinic.

When I got back to the clinic, I was very much ready for lunch, and I begged for a couple of Temptation treats, which I more than deserved! I was very brave. But, as adventures go, it wasn’t too scary. Hopefully this will keep me from having these episodes, which I don’t like. I will keep you posted, and I thank all my Facebook friends for their support!!