My cat McCartney died of an enlarged heart 5 years ago at the age of 6. I did not know about his heart until a half hour before he passed. I have been scared to research this condition because I was afraid I'd feel guilt for not catching this condition sooner. I was scared to find ways I could have treated it. But today for some reason I googled it and regret looking it up. I went on petmd. It said the main causes are lack of Taurine in diet, and other than that, reasons are unknown. Luckily I just looked up the ingredients to the wet and dry food I fed McCartney, and Taurine is in both. So with that being said, it was a rare fluke thing that he had this condition.

But. There are treatments like blood thinners, if you catch the condition early. In order to catch it early, you'd have to take your cat in for a general check-up, and the vet would maybe detect an abnormal heartbeat. You'd find out then, and begin to treat it however you could. My whole problem is, I can't remember the last time I had taken McCartney into the vet for a general check-up. Everything is a blur to me. I may be able to find his old vet papers, but I'm scared to see those too. What if it had been years since I took him in, and because of that, I never found out about his heart. This is suddenly killing me. I felt guilty when he died, but now it's coming back because I've actually researched it and am thinking about it practically. 

I think regardless, even with treatment, they don't have a long lifespan with this condition. But what if I could've caught this early and helped him live longer? I really don't know. It saddens me very much that it's possible I could've had my boy longer :( 

So I want to say to all of you: take your pets in for a check-up every year. Make sure your cats have Taurine in their diet (if you have dogs, you may want to check if they need it too).

~I love you eternally, McCartney boy~

You can visit my kitty McCartney's Rainbow Bridge Memorial here: http://www.rainbowbridge.com/residents/MCCAR001/Resident.htm

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Hi Julia,

As I've mentioned in previous posts, over the past 9 months, I've read hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pet grief postings and comments, on this forum and the Reddit subthread, not only to try to come to terms with my own 2nd guessing, grief, remorse, guilt and regret but to learn about various pet's health problems. What went wrong? What went right. And I've researched countless Veterinary Medicine related websites, studies, essays, and blogs, to try and find out what I could have done better to try and save my boy. The way that you have also researched. And what I noticed was MANY of the corporate related websites such as WebMD feature articles that are not always 100% reliable. They recommend all kinds of treatments, but when you research them on an individual basis, there are conflicting reports and/or cases where the treatments or medications or surgeries back-fired with all kinds of side-effects and complications. And most importantly each cat (or dog) is unique and different. It is a crap-shoot whether they can be treated and recover or not. Heart conditions are one of the most severe a cat can face, as you know.

Three Vet's I read comments warned: "You treat one thing, it triggers another." That basically, even treating a pet, can make them more ill.

So please sweetie, be gentle with yourself. That being said I do think sharing nutritional & medical information and reminding everyone about Vet check-ups is very important. Senior cats are supposed to be checked up every 6 months from everything that I have read. Thanks for sharing and I hope you feel better soon.

All best again,
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Thanks for sharing what you learned.

I'm not an expert but I think the survival rate for an enlarged heart is not high. And as you said, the vet would maybe detect a problem and maybe not. You loved McCartney and gave him a good home and a happy life. I hope you can find a way to not torture yourself over the maybe's. It's easy to look back and think we should have done better. But we do the best we can and we care for them and love them.

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