By Kim Campbell Thornton
October 18, 2010
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a young animal die. We are so used to hearing about or experiencing ourselves the success stories — the innovative surgery, the wonder drug, the unstinting efforts of an ER team to save a pet — that it comes as a shock when an animal just drops dead.
That’s what happened last night to my neighbor’s cat, LB, about whom I’ve written before. LB wasn’t much more than a year old. He lived indoors and was well cared for and apparently healthy. Tim had been playing with him just minutes before he discovered him lying dead on the kitchen floor. He came and knocked on our door to see if we would come look so he could be sure LB was really dead.
My first thought was that he’d had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the most common form of heart disease in cats. Sometimes there are no signs and sudden death is the first, and last, hint of a problem. This morning, Tim’s veterinarian agreed that HCM was the most probable cause.