The largest artery in the body that is the main “highway” for the propagation of oxygenated blood from the heart to the tissues is the aorta. The feline aorta leaves the heart with oxygen rich blood and courses through the chest and ultimately through the abdomen heading toward the tail. At the level of the pelvis, the aorta splits into two smaller arteries that ultimately supply blood to the tissues of each leg. It is at this split where formed clots can get lodged, leading to a severe medical emergency called a saddle thrombus.
Saddle thrombus is nearly exclusively a feline phenomena (it is reported in dogs rarely), causing a severe situation where the lodged clot cuts off blood supply to the legs. The lack of nutrient rich, oxygen rich blood reaching the tissues of the legs leads to severe pain, disuse of the legs and severe damage to the tissues, blood vessels, and nerves.
Typically, cats that are predisposed to saddle thrombus have underlying cardiac disease that increases turbulence to the flow of blood through the heart. This increased turbulence makes these patients more prone to the formation of clots. Cats with hyper-thyroidism are prone to a cardiac condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Therefore, saddle thrombus tends to be associated with cats that have hyperthyroidism.
Other conditions such as hypertension or degenerative kidney disease may also predispose cats to the development of saddle thrombus. This is why many veterinarians include blood pressure measurement as part of the routine yearly wellness examinations and recommend yearly senior wellness blood work as an integral component of the yearly visit.
Cats that have formed a saddle thrombus typically appear paralyzed, unable to move the rear legs. They are often vocalizing due to severe pain. When touched, the back legs are often cold and stiff, and sometimes there is panting and trouble breathing.
Due to the time sensitive nature of the irreversible consequences of saddle thrombus, as well as the severe pain that saddle thrombus causes, it is strongly recommended that one seek immediate veterinary care for one’s cat if saddle thrombus is suspected.
Saddle thrombus is diagnosed by a combination of history, presentation, cold/stiff rear legs, and lack of any palpable pulses in the rear legs. Chest x-rays will often indicate evidence of cardiac disease, and even congestive heart failure.
Prognosis is poor for saddle thrombus, even when found early. Treatment is geared toward managing pain and re-establishing blood supply to the legs through the use of IV clot busters such as heparin, or surgical removal of the clot. In many cases, however, the damage to the tissues, blood vessels, and nerves of the rear limbs is too severe and irreversible for treatment to offer a return quality of life, leaving euthanasia the most humane option for the patient.
Although there currently is no officially documented research to study their efficacy, many veterinarians are attempting alternative therapies in management of saddle thrombus in cats. Below are three alternative therapies that have been anecdotally noted to be beneficial ancillary therapy in cases of feline saddle thrombus. Until there is university level, peer reviewed research to study these modalities, their benefit for this specific condition remains questionable.
A hyperbaric chamber creates a pure oxygen environment. It has notable efficacy in the management of burns, contaminated wounds, and many other clinical applications where high levels of oxygen are beneficial in restoring cellular and tissue integrity following trauma or conditions that lead to cellular and tissue damage.
Since saddle thrombus exerts its damage in large measure due to hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) due to the clot obstructing oxygen rich blood flow to the rear limbs, hyperbaric chamber therapy theoretically may help to heal the cells and tissues comprising the rear limbs with abundant oxygen exposure.
Class IV Therapy Laser
Classic IV therapy laser gently infuses low level photons of energy into cells and tissues. The resulting physiological effect at the cellular and tissue level is called photobiomodulation. This process dilates arteries and arterioles to bring oxygen and nutrient rich blood to areas. Arterial blood also brings healing cells to help clean up and remodel damaged cells and tissues.
Photobiomodulation also dilates veins and venules, as well as lymphatic vessels. By stimulating venous circulation, this helps to stimulate the removal of inflammatory debris and stagnant blood in a compromised areas. By dilating lymphatic vessels, we potentially stimulate the drainage and replenishment of interstitial fluid, the liquid medium cells and tissues of the body are housed within.
Therapy laser also stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within cells. ATP is the powerhouse of the cell by from which it derives energy to perform its physiological functions. By increasing ATP within cells, therapy laser serves to provide cells a jolt of energy in the form of increased ATP to enhance cellular repair and the rebuilding of tissues.
In ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture via needles placed in strategic points along channels of energy called meridians, restores the flow of a life force called Chi, initiating healing of damaged cells and tissues. From this perspective, restoring the flow of Chi enhances healing, controls pain, and increases recovery rates for any number of diseases.
From the western perspective, acupuncture stimulates nerve conduction and blood circulation. Acupuncture also produces local endorphin release that provides a natural and effective pain management or analgesic effect.
These alternative measures have well documented and proven benefit for burns, chronic or contaminated wounds, post surgical healing, spinal and other central nervous system diseases, and a number of other health conditions. Their efficacy in the management of saddle thrombus in cats remains only anecdotal at this time and more research needs to be done to truly ascertain their benefit.
Roger L. Welton, DVM
Founder and Chief Editor, Web-DVM.net
President, Maybeck Animal Hospital
CEO, Dr Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care
Article updated 9/2/2017
This week I had to make the horrible decision on what to do for one of my kitties. After being told that his heart was enlarged (not sure if that was from the beginning of his life or something that happened recently…I’m not a medical professional so I don’t know how that happens) and had a small amount fluid on his lungs along with the diagnosis of saddle thrombus we chose to humanely let him go. I could not imagine letting him live in pain since pets can not vocalize to us when something is wrong or risking him having another clot or some worse heart condition while we were at work and leaving him to suffer alone for hours. We were fortunate to be home when it happened this time and got him to the vet immediately. Sorry for the long story to get to the point of my post, but he is one from a litter that we fostered from kittens and decided to keep 3 of them. His sister passed away 3 years ago from some kind of unknown neurological issue. At least this is the only answer our vet could find. We now have only 1 of this litter left and he is 12 years old. It makes me very apprehensive that there is something in all the kittens from that litter (paranoid fur-mommy). Would a pre-emptive x-ray tell us anything that would help if the remaining kitty has a similar heart issue? Is there a medication he could take that might prevent a clot or is that even too dangerous to give them?
Lillie, I am so sorry for your loss. 🙁
you should contact Dr Eric Weisman for assistance. He has helped my kitty who suffered a blood clot on friday and the emergency vet wanted to put him down. But I refused at the time. I got 3 days of pain meds. In the mean time I got instruction from dr eric weisman about what suppliments to give my cat to break up the blood clot and keep it from leaking into his arteries as well as suppliments to support his healing. So far we are on day 4 and this cat went from not being able to move, to dragging his back legs, to scooting on his back feet. Here is the link to a youtube video i just posted today on how reamarkably WELL he is doing! contact me if you want further info on Dr Weisman. https://youtu.be/MJa7o8HFLFE
My Maine Coon Emma had 3 episodes this week of being fine, then drawing up the same left back leg as if arthritic, hissing, rolling on her back, and then 15 seconds later completely recovering. Vet xrayed her, said nothing found. We’re taking her to UC Davis specialist. Could you please tell me where is Dr Weisman? Thank you.
Is Dr Weisman in Kentucky??
What supplements and treatment are you using?
I’m at the vet now. What supplements and treatment are you using?
What supplements. My cat needs to use the same ones!
How do i contact him? I had to put my baby boy down i wish i would hve known this i have 10 other kitties so would like information to help them
i cannot find a vet name dr eric weisman?
Hi thank you for your story. We are going through this at the moment. Our 18month old boy is in hospital as we speak. We make a decision about him tomorrow. So so sad
We are going through this also we are doing accupuncture laser therapy and magnetic therapy and a half of an aspirin every 3 days
Just reading these posts helps put me at ease for I just lost my boy Simon. He was fine all morning then all of a sudden heard horrific howling and meowing. He was crawling on the floor dragging his hind legs. We didn’t know what the H*** was going on. He threw up about a tablespoon and would just lay in one spot trying to go to the bathroom. At first I thought he had a twisted bowl or something. Rushing to the vet hospital on Sat was very stressful. Vet was packed but after about 10 min was able to get in to see him. Pretty quick diagnosis…saddle thrombosis. After hearing from vet putting him down was the only humane thing to do. I pet and comforted him as he passed.. Very sad.
That same exact thing happened to our 10 year old cat yesterday.
She jumped off a chair and let out a horrific cry like she was fighting with another cat. She could not walk was dragging her back legs. Rushed her to the vet and it was sure a blow when he made the diagnoses.
It was heartbreaking to have to make the decision to help her cross the rainbow bridge while she was laying on the table making biscuits and purring.
She was our first rescue. Can’t even remember the last time she was sick.
She was a sweet girl and we will miss her terribly but their was no way we were going to let her suffer.
Our hearts are broken.
I lost my fur baby Copper today from sadle thrombus! Had no idea of this heart disease?? He was 10 years old, made the humane choice to have him euthanized as his back end was completely paralyzed and the poor little guys was suffering in a lot of pain!
Bless You, just went through the exact same with my sweet little siamese mix girl she was 13. Woke up to her crying help as plain as day, if not for my daughter being here visiting to hear it herself..I wouldn’t have believe what I was hearing. She was crying help. All I know is she was in terrible pain. I loved her so. Hope you know you did all you could ‘it is going to be hard without them’ 🙁
Today, July 4, 2016. I had to let my beloved baby go to sleep. He was playing earlier in the morning. One hour later he was crying loudly and pulling his upper body and dragging his rear legs. I had to put him to sleep today. There is no cure for this unless you have thousands of dollars to fight it. And even then, the cat will not walk again, use the litter box, etc. My heart is broken because I didn’t see this coming. I miss Oliver already, and it’s only been about eight hours since he died.
Sorry. I just went through the same thing and am heartbroken.
We just lost our 9 year old orange and black Tabby, Sunny to euthanasia. She had saddle thrombus and was at the Vet a month ago given a clean bill of health. I have two other rescues and I am getting an ultrasound of their hearts to try to prevent this awful devastation. We are so heartbroken too 🙁 There seems no coming back…KW
Just went through this last night – awful. Just awful. Out of nowhere, he started howling and crying, couldn’t move his back legs, panting – terrible. Went straight to the ER. Died before we got there. I’ve been sobbing ever since.
Omg my Bella only 5years old same story was fine one minute next was running around w back legs dragging I’m sick over it 5 days in 3 vets had to put my baby to sleep I am devastated
Hello George, So sorry for your loss. Same story here. Lost our 18 month old Jazzbo. I have never heard of this condition, like most others, Our kitty was so loving, fun, beautiful Maine Coon, that we rescued. It’s hard to grasp how much you can love a pet. I probably read a hundred stories, all the same. Love and healing, to all the families that are, and have been hurt,by this terrible disease Peace, Larry
thank you Larry its been terrible going through old videos and photos now ,, devastated , worse loss of my life , lost 3 cats in 2years but the others were old 17 and 18 w cancer ,,, i knew it was coming this was a shock Bella only 5 … rip
im wondering if the ear mite meds i was using harmed her – losing it here not getting over this loss
this is all new to me. i just went thru this nightmare 2 days ago. never heard of such a frikin thing! No, there is not a medication that can stop or prevent it i’m told. emergency vet at 1 am did the best she could. blood thinners/surgery could work, but after putting our babies thru agony & pain…. no, for true kitty lovers, that isn’t a choice. still so unreal. poor, poor kitty. thank god i could stop his pain! now my heart could throw a clot,,,cuz its broken in pieces
And we have two more broken hearts for the loss of our 15yr old moosh cat Ginger. She was improving after getting Antibiotics for another issue and we thought she had cancer.
It was the third day and it looked like she’d start eating again and recover. Then it happened. Oh how it broke our hearts to hear her in such pain. She had all the symptoms. The after Hrs emergency PET hosp knew exactly what it was. We held her, said I love you one more time and looked into her eyes gazing back directly into ours as she faded away. Our memories will last forever.
Im so sorry about your sweet baby Ginger:( The loss of my sweet baby to the same infliction is devastating. Sending prayers.
I recently on Friday had to put down my sweet, sweet boy Butler for this. He was a beautiful and handsome Russian Blue. I did not know what was going on with him. I knew he was in terrible pain. He could not stand on his own or walk. I watched him crawl to his food and water bowl but was in distress. He laid on the floor on his belly dragging his hind legs. He ate and drank a little then after that he was not interested. I put him to bed. I brought him his food and water but he did nothing but lay there. He occassionally meowed. I knew it was time and called the vet making an appt. After I got there and the vet came in, while preparing the medicine she explained that he had the saddle thrombosis. He had been treated for advanced Chronic kidney disease and was at the vet for 2 days getting iv fluids that week. He had been walking pretty well before his stay. The plan of action was to continue with iv fluids at home and bring him back in a week to recheck his bloodwork hoping for stable numbers. The iv fluids had brought his high numbers down that indicate kidney disease and we were planning to maintain for as long as we could possibly a couple of years. He 17 or 18 years old based on the age he was thought to be when we got him almost 14 years ago. Since he was eating good and drinking and getting around, I did not want to put him down but get him treatment. Then the dreaded day came that he threw a clot and it was all over. It was so sad. I loved him so much and miss him. He has a brother named Malcolm who is an adorable Maine Coon that we adopted the next year after we got him. Malcom is almost 14 years old but so far appears to be very healthy. Malcom is lost without Butler as he looks around the house. I know Malcom misses Butler. It is sad.
Sorry for late response. My cat is 9 year survivor of Saddle Thrombus. He takes generic Plavix daily. He was temporarily paralyzed initially but I worked w/him daily on stretches, applying heat, exercises, etc. He has ABSOLUTE use of his legs. I am grateful to tell you his nickname is “Senor Naughty Pants” if that tells you anything.
Sox, our 15 yr old cat was diagnosed with Saddle Thrombus on August 3, when he got to the vet his temp was 93 which the vet said was low, his hind legs were cold and stiff and he would drag his hind legs behind him.The vet said most cats don’t survive this. We just couldn’t give up on Sox then and decided ti keep him at the vet overnight and was given heparin(sp) and pain meds. The next day his temp did go up 3 degrees. Since the weekend was coming up and the vet doesn’t have anyone that can watch the patients all weekend we chose to bring Sox home with pain meds and Plavix. But before we left the vet she took his temp and it had went up to 99 which is about normal for a cat, even the vet was surprised. This was on a Friday, over the weekend Sox seemed ok but wouldn’t eat.When Monday came Sox starting eating and his legs were getting warmer. He still would drag his legs but he could move them and was able to use the litter box, he figured out how to position himself but sometimes needed some help. It has been 12 days and he seems ok, still is eating, drinking water and doesn’t seem to be in any pain.Both his legs are warm but his right paw still feels cool. How long did it take for your cat’s legs to start feeling warm again? I know it can take a while sometimes for them to start walking again if it is going to happen.
I’m almost sick at reading of all of your losses to this. We went through the same thing in May. I feel better reading that most of you made the same choice that we did by letting him go. Even though there does seem to be some treatment I feel we did the right thing for our 17 year old baby boy. Thank you all for sharing.
This evening, I lost my beloved Odysseus to saddle thrombus. We made the decision to end his pain and it was so very hard to let him go. He was my very special cat friend and I will miss him dearly. He was 10 years old. This article is a spot on description of the symptoms and helps me to understand what happened to my little love. It also reassured me that we made the right decision. Thank you
I’m so sorry for your loss. This ALMOST happened to me a couple days ago…you should contact Dr Eric Weisman for assistance. He has helped my kitty who suffered a blood clot on friday and the emergency vet wanted to put him down. But I refused at the time. I got 3 days of pain meds. In the mean time I got instruction from dr eric weisman about what suppliments to give my cat to break up the blood clot and keep it from leaking into his arteries as well as suppliments to support his healing. So far we are on day 4 and this cat went from not being able to move, to dragging his back legs, to scooting on his back feet. Here is the link to a youtube video i just posted today on how reamarkably WELL he is doing! contact me if you want further info on Dr Weisman. https://youtu.be/MJa7o8HFLFE
what was the outcome on your kitty? Our cat has a known heart problem. We were told he would not make it past 5. He is now 11. He threw a saddle thrombus last Friday. We took him immediately to the vet and decided to try. He improved for days. I felt great. Now day 9 he has feeling in one leg, circulation in the other but no reflex or intentional movement. He can sit not walk in any way. He is loving and sweet but, living in a bathtub seems ok for the short term….long term not so much.
you did that for yourself, certainly not the kitty. go ahead and contact doc eric when your cat is in agony and trust the supplements and all that jaz. if you truly saw your cat go thru that once, knew the odds are dam near for sure it’ll happen again and you chance it?
hope you got the magic beads.
Saddle Thrombus is not necessarily only for cats. Ferrets will also be afflicted by this. It’s just as horrific for them. I just had one go through this two nights ago.
I lost my dear tabby cat Joey to this this morning. At first I thought he had been hit by a car until I sadly found out the severity of it at the vets. I made the decision to put him down he was only 3 years old and I shall miss him dearly.this gives me understanding of what has happened and has been such an awful shock for us. Didn’t expect to loose him this soon it’s such a sad thing to happen and so rapidly. He seemed fine last night and then by morning couldn’t walk.rip my little man ,x
Lost my lovely cat max on Sunday to saddle thrombus . I’d taken him to vets both previous days ( he was also on thyroid medication) because he’d been sick and breathing wasn’t quite right. He was given antisickness injection and steroid . He woke up Sunday I thought he was looking and feeling better when he was suddenly sick then howling and could not walk .Had to wait for an hour for vet to get to surgery . It was terrible . Nothing could be done so he was put to sleep . I can’t get over the shock miss him terribly . R I p max love you x
Just lost my little Belle (13) to saddle thrombus. Her brother, jasper(11), had it two years earlier. In both case I was woken up in the wee hours of the night by a screaming cat. The male was completely paralyzed in the hind end and Belle partially. Both had to be euthanized.
I lost my beloved 13 year old kitty, Sammy, to saddle thrombus on Saturday, October 10, 2015. He was the light of my life, a joyful purr kitty with a big personality. He had a heart murmur that we have been treating with medication since he was a kitten. He work us up at 7 a.m. on Friday howling in pain and we realized his back legs were paralyzed. We got him to the vet within 30 minutes. However, by Saturday morning he was in severe kidney failure and his temperature was dropping. We had to say goodbye to my sweet little buddy, the toughest day of my life. My husband and I are thankful that we were both home when it happened so that we could quickly get Sammy help. It’s a terrible thing…moments before he seemed perfectly fine.
I’m so sorry for your loss. My boy Silverado, also 13 years old just went through the ordeal last night. From totally okay to half paralyzed in 30-40 minutes. A horrific shock and not something I thought I would have to go through yet.
I lost my Mr. Pretty Boy from Saddle Thrombus on Friday morning. I had no idea that he was sick. It came so quickly.
I have tears in my eyes reading all the posts regarding saddle thrombus. I had never even heard of this condition until last night. My cat was eating, walking and breathing fine and in the blink of an eye, I heard this loud howling. I thought Jelly was locked in a closet and I checked all the closets and found him lying in a doorway on his side, gasping for breath and howling the loudest howl I ever heard. We immediately wrapped him in a blanket and took him to an ER vet. He was diagnosed with saddle thrombus and had to be euthanized. I can’t even put into words how heartbroken my husband and I are over Jelly’s demise. It would be different if we knew he was ill, but to be fine one minute and incapacitated the next is beyond my comprehension. Jelly was ten years old. We rescued from the woods when he was two years old and was the joy of our lives. RIP Jelly and all the other cats whom have been taken by this condition.
Lorrie, I’m so sorry for your loss of Jelly! I lost my 11 1/2 year old cat, Rocky, early Saturday morning. Likewise, he seemed fine. He had come in to lie on the floor and started panting a few times. I knew this wasn’t normal, so I started talking to him. He stopped panting and seemed ok. He rolled over on his back and then back to his stomach. Suddenly, he tried to get up, but his rear legs were paralyzed. I was alarmed! Fearing a clot, I took him to an emergency vet clinic. I figured they’d put him on an IV and he’d be ok. I was so totally devastated by the Saddle Thrombus diagnosis! I had never heard of it. After some discussion, the vet said the most humane solution was euthanasia. While it killed me to have to do that, I knew it was the best thing to do. I too am stunned and so broken-hearted. He was a sweet boy, who’d been very clingy lately. Maybe he was trying to tell me something? Prayers for you and all of us who’ve lost a pet to this devastating condition. The emergency vet said there was nothing I could’ve done to prevent this, nor was there anything I did to cause it.
I am so very sorry to hear about Rocky. It may be a coincidence, but Jelly, too was very clingy a couple weeks before this devastating condition caused his demise. I cannot stop hearing his howling in pain and reliving this horrific experience. I hope time will heal for all of us here.
Oh my gosh! My cat is named Rocky (orange tabby) also. . We had to put him to sleep yesterday due to saddle thrombus! I am so heart broken! He was so cute yesterday-we gave him cat nip aka…”kitty cocaine”. . We went to breakfast and came home and he was fine. Then we came home from working out and he had crawled into a clean litter box and was crying in pain. We thought at first that we ran over him. We took him to the emergency clinic and they told us the news. I just went limp. My sweet bubbie. Me was so special to us. He loved to go on walks. He thought if the dog can—I can too! My neighbors would just laugh! He was the king of the culdasac. This is so sad. It happened so quickly. I hope you are doing okay. Thanks fur sharing– it helps to know other people feel the same way as a do for my furry friend
I lost my cat on 25th October to Saddle thrombus too. Scully was fine no health problems at all she still looked like a little kitten even though she was almost 18 years old she even had perfectly healthy teeth. She was with me constantly and it’s hard to accept that she was perfectly fine then I had to make the decision to put her to sleep but I know I couldn’t have watched her suffer. This is the most horrific thing to happen It’s just so sudden and unforgiving.
We lost our Tux man this past Thursday October 29,2015. I put him outside that morning before going to work and he seemed fine. When I got home that evening he was laying next to the house. When I went to check on him I noticed he had defacated on himself and had flies and maggots on him. I picked him up to clean him and noticed his rear legs were not working. We took him to the vet and they informed us he had saddle thrombus. After reading of this medical issue and where the animal is in severe pain my heart was broken realizing this most likely occurred early in the morning and he suffered all day and I wasn’t there for him. Tux was only four and he had just been treated for ear mites with steroids and was given his rabies shot two weeks prior. I thought he was under weight but the vet didn’t seem concerned about his weight. He will be truly missed.
To be 46 yr old male this is the hardest post ive ever made.I just had to put my Littleman down and didnt have no idea what had happen to him. After reading for days I was still a little confused because no one had posted about flies and egg’s on there cats rear end like mine had until now.But there;s no ? now with the back leg’s being paralyzed and all the same symptoms that ive read what my littleman had and I made the right call by putting him down , but the hard part is i work out of town and my neighbors found him and took him to vet and i wasnt even there to see him one more time and thats the part i’m having problems living with ,I loved that cat so much 12yrs with me threw everything others didnt want to be bothered with but he never complained one time
Love you little buddy
I just lost my 4 year old rescue cat Smokey this past weekend from this horrible condition. He woke me up in the middle of the night howling and unable to move his back legs. I took him to the animal ER immediately. After pain meds the X ray showed he had an enlarged heart and was in CHF. Because of the severity of his condition his long term prognosis was poor. I patted his head and talked to him while he was put to sleep. My heart is broken, but I feel I gave him a final act of love by letting him go before he suffered further.
This happened to my Tsuki last night. I hugged and cried while she was put to sleep. Her heart was also enlarged and CHF. I am so broken right now. I have a heart condition too and I think I was fated to be her human, to understand the need for letting her go when she was in pain. Sometimes I wish euthanasia was legal for humans where I live, in case my quality of life gets to that point too. Tell you what, I love life, but it’s hard to hover on the edge of death with chronic illness and all the issues the meds that keep me alive bring. It’s gonna be hard to deal with the loss of my baby because she understood my tendency to rest. I will miss my lazy mommy and kitty days :'(
Pete, I’m so sorry. You can’t feel guilty that you were away. This could have happened at any time. I was just fortunate that I was home when it happened but I still cannot get it out of my head. It will take a long time for us to heal.
2 nights ago we lost our beloved Mozart to saddle thrombus. Mozart was my buddy for 15 years, and the loss is devastating. Mozart seemed his normal, happy self when we got home in the evening after work. He showed no signs of trouble or anything wrong. Shortly before bed, I was in my home office and Mozart walked down the hallway past the door. He seemed fine, and then he walked back and plopped down in the doorway, not a place he normally rests. Throughout his life, Mozart always had a way of telling me that something wasn’t right, and him laying there, and looking up at me was his sign. I started talking to him, asking if everything was okay, and when I walked over to him and he tried get up, and that’s when I noticed he had very limited use his hind legs. Mozart had a history of urinary tract problems, but this was something new. He started to make his way, dragging his feet, down the stairs, and I grabbed him. He then vomited more than I had ever seen him do before. My wife called the emergency animal hospital who said to bring him in immediately. At no point right before it happened, and during the ~25 minute car ride to the animal hospital did he ever scream out in pain. He was meowing and clearly distressed, but no loud cries. When we got to the hospital the vet told us the news that is was saddle thrombus and the prognosis was poor. Devastating. They put him on pain medication, and we were able to spend some time with him before they put him down. When he was on the table, he would try and stand up, but unlike only one hour before, he had no use of his back legs, and they were so cold, it was truly heart breaking. When they put him down, we both were there, and we held him, and talked to him, and we shared some final moments together. Mozart was always so loving, and loyal, and we were truly the lucky ones that he chose us to be his owners. It all happened so fast that it has been difficult to process. Like other people have mentioned on this forum, he seemed fine one minute and just over an hour later or so later we were saying our goodbyes. My heart goes out to all the loving cat owners on this forum whose beloved kitties were taken away from them because of saddle thrombus, hang in there.
My heart goes out to you. My Jelly laid in the doorway as well, as he always did waiting for his Dad to come out of the shower. That is when he began a howling that I will never forget. This happened three weeks ago and although I can accept his passing, I can’t get the torture he was going through out of my head. It gets a little easier each day but never goes away. Think of all the good memories you had with Mozart and that you gave him the best home he could have ever had. That is what keeps me going.
My Dante’ (3 years old) was fine this morning around 7am, Then around 9am my granddaughter said Dante’ couldn’t move his legs. He doesn’t meow like most cats do, but he was meowing just meowing not crying in pain it was like he was frustrated that he couldn’t move his hind legs. Took him to the Vet partly diagnosed with Saddle Thrombus. They took X-rays and blood work. The X-rays did not show any damage whatsoever. The blood work came back normal. They gave him two shots steroid and pain. Then Plavix and Baby Aspirin. It’s along shot but it’s worth trying. He’s not in pain. If he was I would have made the decision to put him to sleep. We will try this for 3 days
Hi Cheryl, I don’t know what happened to your cat. I appreciate your willingness to see if you could heal him. I nursed my cat through, and he’s still here with full mobility six months later.
My 14 yr old cat is having similar, but not the same symptoms. She’s not in extreme pain as others described, but her hind legs aren’t working properly. It’s been degenerating over the last week. I took her to the vet initially because of blood in her stools and a week later she can only drag herself around. The vet thinks the two things are unrelated. Blood levels are normal, xrays are normal (well, some arthritis for my older, indoor, 6.5kg kitty). What do I do, can anyone provide any advice? The vet sent me home with her this weekend and I’ll go back on Monday and try an xray with iodine to look for subtle spinal issues that haven’t shown up yet. Any advice most appreciated. She’s in some pain if you help her move, she can void her bladder/bowels though sometimes with a bit of difficulty. She’s been on science diet metabolic or indoor or other limited food for a decade due to her weight. I don’t know what to do. thanks for any advice/feedback.
Oh, and she does not have diabetes…
I’m sorry you are going through this with your kitty. I do know that when my cat Peanut had acute renal disease, his back legs were very weak. However, you said the labs were negative. I would go to another vet for a second opinion. Please keep us posted!
We lost my husbands cat Ram who was 15 to this horrible condition in May. It was very similar circumstances to what everyone has described. The sudden collapse and howling and thrashing and rolling but no function in back legs. We rushed him to the emergency vet where he was quickly diagnosed and pts. Poor boy was so scared and in pain… Really no choice but to relieve their suffering. The main reason I came upon this post was because at the end of October my cat Dickens was pts after a couple months of unknown illness with nothing indicated in blood and urine tests but he developed sudden huge kidneys and renal failure. I have been searching and searching what could have happened to him. It is just a sick and horrible coincidence or was is related somehow even though they were completely different. Was it different manifestations of fip? I’m just lost. He was only 6 1/2 and I’m out of my mind with grief for both our boys. Bless you all in the sorrow of your losses.
My poor little Bailey (who was only 4) developed this condition on November 25th. I got home from working the overnight shift at work, to find him in his hiding space in the basement, making this horrible meow. I picked him and and he started to purr and it was then that I realized his back legs weren’t working.
Bailey was rushed to the vet where he was diagnosed with saddle thrombus, and I was informed the only humane option was euthanasia. I found him at 9:00 am and by 10:30 he was gone. My boyfriend left for work at 7:00 am that morning, so that leaves two hours where he may have been suffering. I feel guilty that I wasn’t there, but am glad that at least he had the company of our other cat Birch. I miss and love him so much.
I just lost my baby boy Frodo (5 years) this morning to Saddle. He lost complete mobility in both back legs. he seemed perfectly fine the day before. The Vet had diagnosed he and his brother with diabetes months before, and while they both were on medication, it only seemed like Sam was making progress. Frodo still could not put on weight. I wonder if he was misdiagnosed. Either way, this condition came out of nowhere, and I made the painful decision to put him down. He passed peacefully on my hand. RIP my little love. I will miss you pawing at my face in the morning <3
My beloved Houdini…as I sit here in the vets office I researched the prognosis of this unknow and unfair disease. Why would this happen to us and why now? I don’t know…but I know I can’t take seeing you in pain. I’m so sorry kitty, I will forever love my Houdini, I guess this one is the last of your disappearing acts. See you soon baby
I am so sorry for you loss and everyone else’s loss who has posted here. I am still devastated over the sudden loss of my Smokey. I was with him when he was put to sleep as well. I will never forget it as long as live! He was only four years old! I will never forget him and the unconditional love he gave.
Wow, so many of us have recently gone through the same thing with our beloved kitties.
It was October 7th (2015), and my 15-yr-old cat with hyperthyroidism had just taken a few bites of food, and then went out. He had not been venturing far or long recently, but I got busy with other things and then realized he was not right by the door. Long story short, a neighbor had found him collapsed on the grass. I hope he didn’t suffer for long before I got to him and was able to take him to the ER vet, where they told me, “it’s his heart…”
I had to let my boy go, swaddled in my arms, and still “holding my hand” with his lovely paw.
I feel really bad for those here who lost such young cats.
Steven was euthanized 3 hours ago with an aortic thromboembolism and a temperature of 96. He was 4.5 years old. I was told through the years that he had a heart murmur but thought his youth would prevail for now. At any rate, it makes me feel better to know that so many others have encountered this sad situation involving their beloved cats, and then made the choice to euthanize, so I add my story. Steven’s story. I am just sad. Also it hurts to think that he had been in pain and confusion all the while before I came near enough to hear him…he was in the barn where he was born and had lived happily, I think, with his brother and sister and mother. He may have been suffering for a night and most of a day. He was thrashing at times once I found him. He was crying. He was the biggest but most gentle and quiet of his family. The people at the Vet Office were so kind. They were sad along with me.
I lost my darling baby boy Peppercorn to a saddle thrombus 2 weeks ago and I’m only just starting to emotionally heal. He was the cutest, funniest, sweetest boy in the whole world, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve lost cats before but nothing has ever been this terrible. He was only 5 years old… For days afterwards I cried and lamented how unfair the world can be. We knew he had quite a serious heart murmur but I had never heard of this condition before. Pepper woke us up with his cries at 1:30 am, he was clearly in excruciating pain, trying to pull himself down the hall with his front legs and yowling. By 2:30am he was being euthanized in my arms at the emergency vet. He was in so much pain he actually bit both me and my wife, something he had never ever ever done before in his whole life, he was an incredibly gentle boy. My heart just breaks thinking of how much agony he was in. Absolutely terrible. I miss him every single day. Wherever you are, Pepper, I hope you are happy and carefree, playing with all the puffballs you could possibly want. I still love you.
Hi, I want to provide a counter perspective to the doom and gloom about straddle thrombus. Especially in cats who are also hyperthyroid, as my cat was.
It has been six months now since the harrowing night when my beloved cat Harvey suffered this condition.
I was pressured by several veterinarians t euthanize him. I refused to do it.
Using a combination of conventional medicine and energy healing, I had the clot on one side cleared within about 3 hours, and the clot for the other leg cleared in about two days.
He was still limping about three months later so I applied more energy healing. He began what appeared to be a self-initiated physical therapy regimen of shaking his right leg vigorously on a regular basis. He no longer limps and is able to jump to the high cabinet again (50 inch vertical leap) as of a few days ago.
I believe heart failure was preventable in our case. Unfortunately the very negative attitudes of the veterinarians we encountered those first couple weeks led to him not being properly treated.
Heart disease is often reversible in hyperthyroid cats, and had he been treated immediately for hyperthyroidism … I believe he would not have ended up in heart failure.
But … we did go through heart failure. It was awful, and we survived.
Harvey was down to a scary 7 pounds and we had a number of scares after that with his respiratory rate. He had way more Lasix than he should have had … because it became very clear to me as the weeks went on … what slowed down his respiratory rate was not the Lasix but the thyroid meds … He needed a higher dosage.
It has been a long journey, and probably we would not have survived it without the energy healing. I’ve seen miracles with my other cat as well, when we had a harrowing experience with severe kidney failure.
Both my cats are here today because I said no to euthanasia. Harvey is up to 10.2 pounds, no longer requiring Lasix or appetite stimulants. Indeed, the only meds he is on now are nutritional supplements (which should probably be used in all of these cases), and sporadic thyroid meds and ranitidine to deal with the side effects of the thyroid meds.
I truly believe that veterinarians could be achieving much better outcomes in straddle thrombus cases, if they were thinking more constructively. Of course, energy healing helps a lot.
I thank God every day that Harvey is still here and happy, with full use of his back legs …
Don’t give up. Learn some new skills. You can thank me later …
p.s. I want to add that hyperthyroidism can be the cause of heart murmur, and so may be reversed with proper treatment of the hyperthyroidism.
Beyond that though, in my extensive research, I learned that many people have seen reversal of heart murmurs with appropriate supplementation (e.g., CoQ10, L-carnitine, B vitamins, omega 3s, etc.) …
If heart murmur is the usual cause of straddle thrombus, then vets ought to be more focused on healing heart murmurs. But if your vet is clueless, then by all means, do the research yourself as I did.
My story bears so many similarities with my 11 year old Persian, Mudge. The only difference being that it was his front leg that suddenly became paralyzed. He spent a little over 24 hrs. at the Emergency vet and was able to come home the next day with pain medication. 6 weeks later he curled up in his cat cave to nap after eating that morning and a little tummy rub later. A few hours later, not having seen him for awhile went to rouse him for a little play and he was just gone. I’d been sitting within feet of him all day and neither saw nor heard a thing. I just pray it was quick.
As I write this my heart is in pieces because our 15 year old Abby was put under last night for this same thing. I had no clue. Perfect one minute. Chaos the next. Today I keep questioning if we did the right thing. Making this process harder on myself. After reading all these sad blogs I realize that we did make the right decision. My heart goes out to all who have had a pet loss. It is horrible. Especially when it is sudden. You will be terribly missed Abber Dabbers.
I just came from the emergency vet visiting my poor Porch kitty who was diagnosed with saddle thrombosis early yesterday. everyone says euthanize however there are a few success stories and she is not in pain at this time. they have her on pain meds and a drug to try to help dissolve the clot I recently had a dog bounce back from a life-threatening disease and she very well so I’m hoping that tomorrow when I take porch kitty to the vet they will give me some hope. she’s 15 years old I rescued her with a very bad thyroid condition which has been under control for the last year please pray everything works out
Our sweet Little Marshmellow we have had for 10 years passed away from Saddle Thormbus. Thursday 14th 2016. It has been really hard on the family because he was so special I never have heard about it before. So fast and quick death for a cat I pray for all who lost there loved cat to this disease.
I too just had to put my beloved friend and companion of 17 and a 1/ 2 years down. She had a few issues over the years. A sub-total colectomy,14 years ago, hyperthyroidism for 4 years. 3 weeks ago she went out the front door, walked around to the back door and was walking funny. I thought she had a stroke. Rushed her to the vet. She did blood work,gave her a shot for pain and a corticosteroids. Within 12 hours she was doing great. Blood showed kidney disease. Put her on K/d food. Was doing great. A week later at 2:30 am she was howling in pain. Got her to the vet who diagnosed saddle thrombosis. Put her on heparin and cloprodogel (blood platelet thinner )Got the left side working but not the right. Tried for 10 days but the toes started to die, blood vessels collapsed, too old to amputate. Another vet said that massaging the limb for 15 min every few hours could help, but it was too late. This is a condition, I found out that occurs in cats, dogs, horses. Devastating. She loved me more than anyone else ever did. Rest in peace Krystal.
We also lost our pet cat Rolex (yes Rolex)because of saddle thrombosis recently and we also miss him dearly. He was almost 19 years old and generally in good health. At the end, he was as others describe, unable to move his hind legs and crying in pain.
I wanted to add some comments because, now that I understand more about the condition, I wonder if there were some warning signs that might have been treatable. Rolex was a large cat, at one point around 22 pounds. He was somewhat overweight but was a large cat. Over the last few years he had lost significant weight. Not surprising because of his age but he had particularly lost weight in his hindquarters. We also noticed that he seemed to be losing mobility in his hind legs. In the last 6 months or so, he had begun to hop up stairs instead of running.
I now suspect that he may have had some partial blockage of the artery that was causing the leg muscles to weaken and waste away. If we had recognized the symptoms, we may have been able to treat the condition and prolong his life.
Rest In Peace Tucker, we lost you today to Saddle Thrombosis, It breaks my heart to have seen you suffer! I LOVE YOU.
Very traumatic situation…saddle thrombus for kitty and owner …both…I lost my cat to being eaten alive (autopsy showed)and another cat of mine I found dead in a tree…he had fallen into the “V” of two branches and died a long painful death ( autopsy suggested he was alive for about 72 hours and died an agonizing death…I am 47 yrs old and both events happened over ten years ago …I cant say I have ever recovered…suffering for an hr or two is horrible for any pet to go through but it could have been worse is all I am trying to convey…not to minimize the pain you have all gone through…I just lost my cat to S.T. three weeks ago…still devestated of course as you all here are aswell…in perspective though things could have been worse…she suffered for two hrs from onset to humane euthanasia…RIP my darling special girl Scallywag…
My cat Baby was diagnosed tonight with Sadle Thrombosis. The vet wanted to put her down. I just couldn’t bear it tonight. She was given a pain injection and 2 doses to bring home. I am praYing for better results in the am. Can an u one that pulled their fur baby through please tell me what you did.
What kinds of catfood was your cats eating? Maybe the cat food could be causing something to do this.
Thanks in advance for any advice. I am devastated.
Hi, I’m Erika … I posted a few months ago about my cat Harvey so I wanted to encourage you. It’s now been nearly 10 months since our horrible night and Harvey is here on the bed with me, legs fully recovered. It hasn’t been an easy road but it’s been worth it. Is your cat tested for thyroid issues? If hyperthyroid … Getting thyroid under control is essential, must be done immediately to reverse heart disease. I have also been doing a ton of EFT tapping for my cat (I have free emergency protocol on my blog). I have been doing some supplements as well. Standard Process cardiac, kidney, CoQ10, B vitamins, and more. I found energy healing to be essential, not only for the long rehabilitation we experienced but also dealing with veterinary incompetence and having to figure out most of the answers myself.
I know you’re devastated, it’s the most horrible experience of my life. Hang in there.
NO. No, do not do this, Erika. You are LYING. How DARE you say this to grieving pet owners! Energy healing? Magic crystal hooha? There has been no scientific link to any of that, and either Harvey never had saddle thrombosis, or he’s dead and you’re a liar.
You dare. You base, deceitful wretch of a woman, you dare…. Let these furmommies and furdaddies grieve, but don’t you even try this pseudomedicinal bull on them. Your brand of quackery should be illegal.
We lost our 16 year old cat Nala today. She was crying/meowing in pain, dragging one of her legs. We tried to take her to the vet, but she passed away on the way there. I feel devastated.
I haven’t been here for about three months and I am saddened to see how many of your beloved cats have succumbed to this horrible condition called saddle thrombus. My Jelly passed away in October of last year and I still cry every single day. If he could have gone any other way, it would not be so difficult to overcome. I will never forget his saucer-like eyes and how scared he was on the way to the ER vet while he was howling in pain. I would like to tell you that the loss gets better in time, but for me it has not. RIP my Jelly Boy
We lost our beloved Bubbles to this horrible disease February 25. We were aware of his heart condition early on and tried to make him as comfortable as possible using medications and not over exerting his heart. Bubbles actually had a few close calls with throwing smaller clots that would have symtoms lasting 10-15 minutes. The saddle thrombus came on very unexpected causing lower extremity paralysis with awful pain. Reading these posts has really helped me with coping with the horrible decision to let him go. My husband and I agreed on this decision because we felt even through further treatment he would eventually throw another clot. Thankfully we were home when this occurred so he didn’t have to suffer for hours while we were gone. Prayers to everyone effected by this painful condition.
Tuesday, March 8th my cat Bombay was stricken with Saddle Thrombus. What amazed me was how quickly it hit. Two hours earlier he was in the basement with my wife, rolling around, getting petted, just a happy camper. Then boom. We put him to sleep that night. He was only 8, and we had rescued him from the Humane Society 31 months before. I hope you never have to experience this.
My cat has been suffering with saddle thrombosis, his 16 years old near to 17. He suffered last January 23, 2016. He was half down paralyzed unable to move both his hind legs and tail. He was really in so much pain and could just utter a very soft sound. He was shocked and so depressed. Everything happen so quick in just a minute, he was still walking and jumping up the bed hours before seeing him on our bed turning and dragging himself on the bed, it was heart breaking to see him. I tried searching online about this illness I never heard off before. I thought I might lose him. I thank God, with lots of love and research online, my cat made it. He is now walking, he is in his recovery, please there is hope. Believe me there is hope!
Good for you! Yes, there is hope. Harvey is here on my bed, nearly 10 months after our horrible night. Legs fully recovered. If your cat is hyperthyroid, treating that immediately is essential. I have found supplements have also helped our recover – CoQ10, Standard Process cardiac and kidney, B vitamins, probiotics, etc. Hoping your cat also makes a full full recovery.
you should contact Dr Eric Weisman for assistance. He has helped my kitty who suffered a blood clot on friday and the emergency vet wanted to put him down. But I refused at the time. I got 3 days of pain meds. In the mean time I got instruction from dr eric weisman about what suppliments to give my cat to break up the blood clot and keep it from leaking into his arteries as well as suppliments to support his healing. So far we are on day 4 and this cat went from not being able to move, to dragging his back legs, to scooting on his back feet. Here is the link to a youtube video i just posted today on how reamarkably WELL he is doing! contact me if you want further info on Dr Weisman. https://youtu.be/MJa7o8HFLFE
Lost our sweet Meow-Meow to this early this morning. Had never heard of this condition. Reading all the comments are so helpful and comforting to see that others have gone through this. The pain Meow-Meow was in will definitely haunt me for some time. Hugs to all of you who’ve gone through this.
My cat was diagnosed this morning with Saddle Thrombus. However I’m confused as to what to do. The vet gave him some steroids and let us bring him home to see if he gets better. He is sleeping and doesn’t seem to be in pain. Does anyone know what the signs of progress/recovery are? And if you think I should put him down despite him not being in pain. He is paralyzed in his back legs and we’ve been massaging them and keeping them warm.
I lost my 14 year old boy Toby to Saddlethrombus on Saturday, April 23. Shocking, so sudden. I feel horrible for anyone having to see their furry babies go through this. I’m praying his sister Kenzie does not succumb to the same illness. He had no know thyroid issues but history of heart disease most likely. I felt I had no choice but euthenasia once the vet told me about the condition and how much pain he was in. Being a Saturday and living out in the country this was the best decision for him. I could not see him suffering in pain for a couple days. The suddenness of this disease is horrible.
Toby had vomited, laid in his vomit, complete paralysis in back legs. He was bellowing off and on. I could see it in his eyes how he didn’t understand what was happening to him.
I had never heard of this condition, and I read here about the many cats that have had it. Reading about Saddle thrombus online is devastating.
I can’t eat, sleep or focus. I’m still in shock, how can this happen. Toby was a cuddly loving boy, he aways was with me when I woke up. I hate goingto bed knowing he is not there.
This just happened to my family at 11:30 last night. My son woke me up to tell me something was wrong with our cat Jacob. He said he cant walk and he pee’d on himself and threw up. Of course I run down stairs and it was the worst thing to see. He was breathing funny and was still incontinent. We rushed to the Vet ER and we got the news. Jacob was 17 yrs old. Although he was old he still was walking eating and doing his normal stuff. No indication at all. He was in pain and visibly scared. It was very hard to make the decision to let him go. But we couldn’t let him suffer the way he was. Its sad losing a pet this way because it happens without warning but I know he isn’t suffering and I am OK with it.
I feel your pain as I’ve just lost my beautiful Mia to this. It’s complete shock the suddenness of this awful disease. The vet said on me it is quite common & by reading all of these other very sad stories on here it proves to be the case. I had never heard of it? I hope you’re coming to terms with your sad loss of Toby & finding it a little easier day by day as I hope I will in time. I wish Kenzie a long happy healthy life. Take care of yourself x
Just lost a neighborhood “feral” cat to this. I’d been working with him to get him to let me pet him and pick him up. He didn’t always let me, but we were working on it. Found Tiny at the side gate unable to walk. Whisked him off to the emergency vet and got the diagnosis. Rest in peace my sweet almost house cat.
This happened to our lovely Georgie, no clues at all that he was unwell. I came down on sat morning and heard a terrible cry, looked out of the window and saw him collapsed in the garden. I knew strait away that there was something terribly wrong. Terrible breathing and paralysed back legs also crying in pain. The vet tried to treat him but he was so distressed and in so much pain we decided to have him put down. I can deal with the fact that he died but am so distressed about how much pain he was in. Looking at this site (and others) seams we all have a similar story, love my cat xxx
Tonight I buried Heidi who suffered from saddle thrombosis. About 7PM she fell over and could not use her hind legs. took her to the emergency veterinary clinic were they explained what had happened to her and what her chances of recovery were.Choose to euthanize her so she would not be in pain.
My tears flow as I read all of these comments. I had to put our beautiful girl Mia to sleep last night, she was 9. She was diagnosed with saddle thrombus after I rushed her to the out of hours veterinary surgery. I had just come home to find her not there to greet me, I suddenly heard the most awful noise & realised she had heard me arrive back & as I opened the door she dragged herself up the step & collapsed in the hallway. She had also lost the use of her hind legs. I thought she had been clipped by a car (as there weren’t any wounds etc) but I thought she had damaged her pelvis. The vet explained the condition of ST, did a doppler test, temperature, heart check etc. I was told the prognosis was very poor & the condition was extremley painful. I couldn’t see my beautiful girl suffer & I was told that euthanasia was the kindest thing to do. I took that decision & I’m left feeling very empty & heartbroken. Mia was a huge part of our family & will never be forgotten. R.I.P our beautiful Mia the moosebear XxX
We lost our precious Ember last night to saddle thrombus. She was only 15 months old. Our baby couldn’t move, howled in pain, had trouble breathing & was even urinating all over herself. Not to mention she wasn’t eating or drinking. Knowing there was no way to cure her or make her normal again ending her suffering was the only option. Losing our princess was hard, it was even harder having to tell our kids that Ember had passed. My sweet 6yr old said “mom she is now happy, healthy and with God”. Losing a pet is hard, especially when your left wondering why. I’m so devastated and my heart hurts for everyone who has experienced this with their beloved pet.
I just lost my cat, Weasel, to saddle thrombus on Saturday. I’m totally heartbroken. Thank you for sharing your stories so I know I’m not alone in this. She was only 8 and the sweetest thing. I love her so much and am so hurt we had to put her down. I wish I knew how to move on. she was fine one minute. Agony the next.
In November 2014 I lost two of my ladies within 2 weeks, one due to the incompetence and greed of our local vets (and my stupidity trusting them) and the other one due to Saddle Thrombus. I keep reading up on this subject and what stuns me is that virtually everyone euthanizes their pet straight away. It’s obviously not my way to go, and many here will probably criticize me for expressively prohibiting the vet to euthanize my Victoria (which she probably did anyways as I got a call to pick her body up 3 hours after leaving her) but as I do not know if euthanasia is the right way to go or not, the comment is not intended as criticism in any way. But what reading all these posts really makes me wonder is why nobody has tried surgery. Where I live surgery is not available but I have now met abroad vets who claim to be able and willing to do the procedure. Why has nobody else considered surgery, is it because you can’t find someone to do it? And if so, why is it so hard to find a vet who can do it?
I have wondered as well why more aggressive care is not considered, such as clot busting drugs like tPA as used in humans, stents, or yes even surgery. It seems to me in vet medicine that while there are options that should be available they either are not available or are not offered, and that in general vet medicine is decades behind human medicine, which is incredibly frustrating when you are the parent of a critically ill feline or canine. It’s not meant as an insult to the profession, I think it’s an economic and political issue more than anything, but it hinders the proper care of our fur babies.
As a physician I am well aware of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy myopathy in humans. I was surprised to here of its prevalence in cats. It is the leading cause of aortic thromboembolism in cats resulting in the devastating saddle embolus. Witnessing this happen, with its abruptness of onset of symptoms, starting with hind leg paralysis & progressing to shortness of breath, congestive heart failure & then full pulmonary edema in such a short time frame, was devastating to me. The pain from arterial occlusion is extreme, as witnessed by all above who experienced this tragedy in their beloved cat. I’m happy to hear of those few who had their pet survive . The reality however, is that the underlying pathology is the heart. If the cardiomyopathy is severe, the use of thrombolitic therapy, by using aspirin, Plavix, or heparin, which actually don’t dissolve the clot but are used to prevent clot progression or recurrence, will only possibly treat one aspect of this devastating disease. The cardiac disease, depending on severity ,can be treated but unfortunately in cats it usually presents late & most owners , as I , were faced with the terrible decision of ending the agony of their best friend.
Thank you for your comments. It does help to know you are not alone in making the decision to end the suffering of your beloved cat. We put ours down yesterday. Unfortunately he is a very stoic cat and likely suffered for hours until we got up to go to work. That’s when he started howling. The vet acted quickly and relieved some of his pain. He was euthanized moments later. Such a traumatic event and loss.
My Bobbie who is 1w years old just today died of it suddenly. A month ago she had a episode of crying and stumbling around that lasted for about a minute then abruptly went away. I thought she had pinched something getting up when i could find nothing wrong with her. Then today it happened againg only no quick recovery. I rushed her to the pet ER 20 miles away but she was gone before i could get there. She was a super active cat with no slowing down after the first brief episode. My heart is broken.
Yesterday I had to have Giacomo Puccini (“Jake”), age 8.5 years, put down. Very sudden onset – had been usual self (begging for food, demanding to climb onto my lap, etc.)- then an hour later lying on floor, screaming the worst yowling I had ever heard, dragging hind legs, very cold hind feet. Took him to animal hospital where they very quickly determined ST (confirmed with echocardiogram), said chances of recovery were at best 2% and still likely that he would develop and throw more clots in future. He never had been really sick. I could not bear to see him suffering.
I’ve been a cat mommy my entire life, yet never heard of ST. The real irony is that he was an indoor cat, which I chose to do because all my previous cats were indoor/outdoor cats (several of whom lived to age 16+, and had died from diabetes and/or kidney failure) and I did not want to put him at risk of fights with neighborhood cats, running into traffic, etc. I always thought I was doing the right thing.
I am so glad I found this site as it is comforting to learn that this horrible disease is so prevalent and so many others have had to face this very sudden and devastating horror.
I just hope there is a lot of catnip growing in kitty heaven.
One month ago today I lost my companion and friend Milo after he suffered from a saddle thrombus February 19, 2017. He had no previous medical problems and had just been seen by a vet a few weeks prior for a minor sprained paw.
We had just started cuddling to go to sleep, something he loved to do every night. He got up, jumped off my bed, and threw up. I noticed he was acting odd and that is when he started crying and couldn’t use his back legs. Unfortunately I live in a rural area, but we immediately took him to an emergency vet an hour away. The vet confirmed he had suffered from a saddle thrombus and explained how it was very likely he would have more occurrences. I did not expect him to make it through the night. The next morning I went to pick him up to transport him to his regular vet. He actually seemed ok. He was his normal happy self, with the exception of his back legs not working. I had hope he might recover.
Late in the night I noticed his breathing was more rapid, but his lungs sounded clear and he had taken his pain medicine. I checked on him every 2 hours and reset his heat pad. I was ready to take him back to the vet when they opened at 9 am. At around 6:30 am February 21, 2017 he took his last breath. I held him for the last time.
I had never heard of a saddle thrombus before that horrific night. My last cat that passed away was 20. Milo was only 11.
I cannot put into words how much his death has hurt me. I would have done anything and given up everything I owned to save him. The last month has been a blur. Thankfully I was with him when the saddle thrombus happened and thankfully I took hundreds of pictures and videos of him over the last 11 years. He was certainly much more than just a cat to me.
FIGGY THE CAT, greatest mouser who ever lived, went home to a place where he can roam outside, run and play, hide, chase things, smell flowers and do whatever outdoor cats did here on earth. His whole life he was a house cat and wanted more than anything to go outside. When I rescued him, I had to sign a pledge to keep him inside.
He left for his journey an hour ago.He was at peace. He left behind a grieving Family who loved him and he loved us back. He knew he was dying and let us know he loved us and was going to miss us as much as we will miss him.
God made these animals and they’ve given we humans so much love. The same God has to reward them with Heaven for doing their loving duty with us on earth.
Figgy, greet me when I get to the other side and together we can do all those things you always wanted to do down here.
Sleep well, Daddy’s Little Boy.
We lost our 8year old fur baby Eel yesterday. The night before we had cuddled and he slept on me just like every night.
In the morning I was putting a load of washing on and heard a big “meow” – a meow he normally saved for when he was presenting me with a lizard he had caught.
Eel was “sitting” in his cat litter and I instantly knew something was wrong.
My husband and I quickly checked for ticks before finding an open vet to take him to (it was good Friday).
10 minutes later I was leaving with no car and an empty heart.
It all just happened so quickly. How can my baby be gone! He was here two days ago happily running around the house.
I think that’s why everyone on this post is so heart broken – there’s no lead up to this event – it just happens, no warning.
I couldn’t be in the room while Eel crossed the bridge, but my husband stayed. I picked up Eel today so that we could bury him at home in a nice sunny spot he loved.
I keep hearing him looking for me around the house, or greeting me when i drive my car in.
I’m just completely heart broken.
*no cat not car….
I woke up to find my boy Thomas 8 years old screaming in pain and could not move his lefts. rush to vet to hear there is nothing to do and its saddle thrombus…says it is more common in cats and I have never heard of it….
had to put him down, which I see is the best thing to do considering the prognosis….
I cannot believe how things change in the matter of two hours…He was so special and behaved more like a dog than a cat….
Interesting that it is associated with thyroid disease…He had a very big appetite….
I wonder if there was something I could of done beforehand…
RIP my sweet boy.
Last Friday evening, our 16-year-old boy, Kona, had to be put down for this. It was 2 days past his 16th birthday. That morning, I watched him jump effortlessly onto the bathroom counter. 10 hours later, he couldn’t move his hind end. Until this happened, I had never heard of “FATE”.
He did have previously diagnosed cardiomyopathy from maybe 10 years ago and possibly (unconfirmed) hyperthyroidism more recently, apparently making him a pretty strong candidate for this to happen.
But when it did happen, he didn’t cry out, I think the pain and shock just stunned him. I found his silence very scary. And when I realized he couldn’t use his back legs, my heart broke. I knew it was serious.
At the emergency vet, we had to make that heart-breaking decision. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. After reading this article and some of the comments and experiences of others, we now are sure it was the right thing to do for our baby-boy. He is no longer in pain, shock, or fear. We will miss him so very much. For him to have made it to 16 years old is far beyond our expectations and we treasure every moment we had with him. RIP Kona.
I was lucky with my baby Storie. She was 16 when she had her saddle thrombus Nov 2017. I knew I could not put her down without one more night to cuddle her. so dr let me take her home and try fluids, plavix, and pain meds. No hospitalization. It was supposed to be just for a couple nights, and she was not doing well.. not eating/drinking.. but I gave her pain meds and subcutaneous fluids as they showed me how to. (I’m a nurse) 48 hrs later I had another appointment, with a he idea that it was probably time to let her go. Literally a couple hrs before the appointment she showed signs of her personality returning and a tiny bit of interest in the food I was offering. (Didn’t eat but tasted) it. I was so torn, sobbing and begging her to tell me if she was ready to go. Took her to the vet and we agreed her feet had warmed a little. Vet did accupunture and offered her treats which she went to town on. Started her on appetite stimulant, Brought her home and she ate a good meal. Appetite was fine from then on. A long road, a few more acupuncture, but long story short(er) and 4 months later she’s walking completely normal again, jumping on our (not low) bed, everything she did before.. but she’s been “getting around” good for awhile now. Lucky and blessed to have a little more time with her.. though I know it won’t be forever.. she’s gotten really thin, I know neither her heart nor kidneys are great, but for now she’s the same special girl I’ve for 16, going on 17 years, and I’m thankful
On Monday 26th we said goodbye on the way to work to our little 14 year old girl Mia. She was always a slow riser in the mornings.When I came home from work she was in the same spot and had a pee. Very unlike her. I immediately rushed her to Vet hospital and they told me that she had Saddle Thrombosis. We collected her the next morning after pain killers and clot busting medication, they told me the prognosis wasn’t good. We took her to my own Vet. We were very upset and he said to leave Mia with him. We did this for three days and called every evening to see her.He was very kind and caring to both us and Mia. He wanted to give us as much hope as he could. We had a snow storm coming in Ireland so we took her home for two nights on the reccomendation of the vet. We lay beside her for two days 24/7 stroking her and telling her how much we loved her. We were so upset she wasn’t eating or drinking and was trying to move with just her front legs.On the Saturday after the storm we drove to the vet I’ll never forget they way she was looking up at me. She was so quiet and withdrawn and her eyes were so dry. We asked the Vet’s advice as we didn’t want to prolong her pain. We eventually made the decision to put her to sleep. We cried so much and held her to the end. We are waiting to collect her ashes this week. We are riddled with Guilt, sadness and loneliness but we did it for her and not ourselves. It was very consoling (but sad) to read other owners stories. Its a cruel condition as it all happens so quickly. I guess we have to be thankful for the joy and love they bring in to our lives. Hope we meet some day in the next dimension.
We just lost our calico Haley to Saddle Thrombus a little over 12 hours ago. I’m devastated. I’ve had cats my entire life and yesterday is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. To think that my girl could have had heart disease or cadiomyopathy or awful hypertension for weeks or months and then result in ST? It’s such a horrible end. She was only 9. Thankfully I got to tell her what a good, sweet girl she’s been for us and we love so much and were glad she chose us to be her family before she crossed the rainbow bridge.
Ending their pain and suffering is the hardest but also most kindest, loving, and selfless act of mercy you can do for them given the circumstances of FATE/ST. Think about how much you must really love them to be able let them go when they need to go most? Especially when you desperately don’t want them to leave? Imagine how big their love and compassion for you was to be able inspire that kind of love and compassion IN you?
Please don’t feel guilty <3
Reading these stories is so sad, and we are so sorry. Two days ago we also made the heartbreaking decision to put our beloved Georgie down with a saddle thrombus after treating him for almost two year for cardiomyopathy. He was such a lovey and his death has left a hole that will never be filled. He was fine when I woke up – came to greet me, purring as usual. I made breakfast for him and his “brother” (our other cat), and when I went to find hom he was under the table, half sitting, half laying. When he got up to move, I noted he was walking funny. He went to the litter box, but was really walking funny when he came out. Within the span of ten minutes, he went from purring to being unable to use his hind legs. I called the vet immediately and was told to come right in. Since he had cardiomyopathy, I knew a blood clot was a probability. Our vet initially gave me the thought we might be able to treat this. However, when we got to the clinic with Georgie crying and panting, the attending vet (different vet) told us our options – the clinic didn’t have the capability to treat him and we would have to go to an animal hospital almost 3 hours away for treatment. When he told us Georgie would likely have another thrombus down the road, we made the horribly difficult decision to let him cross the rainbow bridge. Before he died,we caressed him, kissed him, told him we loved him, and thanked him for being such a wonderful kitty. Now we are left wondering if there was indeed something we could have done. Such an awful, guilty feeling that maybe we could have saved him, especially after all he had been through treating the cardiomyopathy. Tears for Georgie and all of your sweet kitties.
Oki feel the way was there something i could have done