It started when Amy Parker noticed her cat, Mongo, stumbling around the house. "Just every now and then he's looking like he had a couple too many," she says, mimicking a wobble.
The first couple of times, she mistook his crooked steps as a possible ear infection. Then one day he fell over.
"The vet referred me to a cardiologist, which I didn't even know that there were cardiologists for cats and dogs," says Parker.
That visit, which included bloodwork and X-rays, cost $600. And it was just the tip of the iceberg.
The cardiologist found that one of Mongo's heart valves was leaking, and he was subsequently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease where the heart pumps in a way that makes it larger or thicker.