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If the heart problems are as a result of hyperthyroidism, diabetes, renal failure and/or high BP, then treating those problems is critical as well. HCM must be treated early, and aggressively.
Avoid commercial foods (especially dry formulations) which are very salty. If possible, prepare a home-made diet for your cat with no added salt. Add at least 500 mg even 1,000mg if possible, of taurine to your cat's food daily, or give by mouth in the form of a capsule/tablet.
Dietary sources of taurine are tricky because a) you'd need a lot, and b) the only two reliable sources of taurine amounts in heart are - 652mg/kg of (as-fed) weight in beef heart as per Spitze et al, and Laidlaw lists pork heart taurine content to be 2000mg/kg (dry weight IIRC, don't have the paper handy because they moved it, will post when I find the new link).
Allopathic treatment for CHF consists largely of Furosemide/Lasix (especially if fluid is present in the lung cavity). This drug will rob the rest of the body of valuable moisture and minerals like Potassium, Magnesium, etc. so be prepared for that.
Other allopathic drugs such as Cardizem (Diltiazem), Atenolol a.k.a. Fortekor (Benazpril), and Norvasc (Amlodipine) are usually prescribed, but read the indications for use as well as side-effects carefully. Most of these drugs can cause renal problems and an irregular heartbeat, both of which an HCM kitty may already have.
Cats are *very* sensitive to Aspirin so check with more than one vet before you decide to administer it to your cat even on a limited basis. It has caused horrid side-effects in cats on my list, so we’ve come up with a better alternative –- Lumbrokinase or if unavailable then Nattokinase.
Note: Herbal alternatives to Aspirin (such as Meadowsweet and White Willow Bark) are deadly, so do not even consider them.
Herbs, vitamins, and supplements: (daily, based on a 9lb cat)
For diagnosed CHF:
Dandelion Leaf: A better option than Lasix, is the herb Dandelion, mother nature's purrfect diuretic. Get the leaf either in tea bags or in loose dried form, and brew tea using the infusion method.
Depending on the size of your cat, and severity of the problem, you can give one to four 5ml/cc syringes (from the baby section of the drug store). A strong brew would be 3 teaspoons per cup of boiled water, whereas a maintenance formula would be 1 teaspoon per cup of boiled water; adjust the strength based on your cat’s situation.
For saddle thrombosis prevention in lieu of asprin:
Lumbrokinase (derived from earthworms): 720,000 Lumbrokinase Units = 20mg for an average-sized cat.
One might need to give 20mg twice a day during an event or acute stage, but can then phase it back to 20mg daily for maintenance. Lumbrokinase is derived from an animal/insect source, and thus far we have not seen any negative effects from it.
Doctor's Best brand is easiest to give cats as it is in capsule form. One can mix a capsule in water, and give it via dropper/syringe between meals. If you will be pilling your cat, then Nutricology brand is convenient as it's enteric-coated, and can be given even with a meal. As with any pills, follow with water and/or a treat.
Nattokinase: 75 mg split into 2 doses. Nattokinase is prepared from fermented soy beans. I’ve checked, and this is the only form of soy safe for cats. But as with everything, please do your own research and be aware that cats like people can be allergic to soy, so be watchful for any side-effects/soy allergies when giving Natto.
Make sure the brand does not contain Vit K (it should say so, if it doesn’t call and ask the manufacturer), and has no funky ingredients. My favorite no-vitamin K Natto formulation in terms of efficacy and quality is Jarrow's Natto Max. Next best, and in my experience a little less effective are Doctor’s Best and NOW capsules.
For all heart conditions:
- L- taurine powder or capsule: 500 - 1,000mg
- Coenzyme Q10 a.k.a. CoQ10: 30 - 60 mg (depending on whether it's primary HCM or if there are other conditions such as CRF, hyperthyroidism, etc).
- L-Carnitine - 250 - 1,000 mg (same as above, depends on the situation)
- Fish body oil e.g. salmon, sardine, anchovy, or krill oil: 500 – 1,000mg per day of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Vitamins and minerals need to supplemented more aggressively if kitty is on diuretics. The only two cat multivitamin formulas that aren’t as bad as the rest are LEF Cat Mix and NuCat/Tabby Tabs tablets (not oil). Trace minerals can be a good ideas as well. Futurebiotics and Source Naturals brands have the least icky inactive ingredients though neither is ideal.
Note: Introduce amino acids L-Carnitine and L-taurine slowly. My cat Trikki and one other are the only ones in 13 years of the list who get the trots from amino acids (learned this the hard way:); why take a chance with yours, right?
I hesitate to mention another wonderful herb - Hawthorne Berry – because although I love it, many don’t. It has a mild diuretic action and is an all-round cardio tonic. It too can be given as a tea or in capsule/tincture form. The concern about using Hawthorne Berries in HCM, where the heart muscle contracts too much, revolves around one of Hawthorne's actions - increase in strength of heart’s contraction. Please do not use this herb without checking with someone who knows what they’re talking about, and as with any herb, check for herb-drug interactions.
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