One Panama City Beach woman’s beloved cat had its life prolonged and was given more meaningful time with its owner, thanks to a little-known fact about veterinary medicine.

PANAMA CITY BEACH – Patti Johnson thought she was out of options when it came to finding care for her beloved cat, Magnum, after he was diagnosed with an “untypical” heart condition.


Then she met a pair of veterinarians who changed her mind – Dr. Kim Breeze of Breeze Animal Hospital in Panama City Beach and Dr. Lauren Schlater, a veterinary cardiologist who runs a mobile clinic, Gulf Coast Veterinary Cardiology, based out of Gulf Breeze.


Magnum’s treatment took Johnson by surprise – Breeze and Schlater treated Magnum’s heart condition with human medications. And it worked, prolonging Magnum’s life for another month-plus before he died on Nov. 21.


“I am so thankful for (Breeze and Schlater),” Johnson said. “Magnum went from being at death’s door to his old, silly self and I’m convinced because of the treatment he received we had a month and 10 days more with him that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.”


Johnson was unaware – as most people probably are – that animals can be treated with human heart medications.


“There’s not a lot of money to fund research for drugs that are just for pets,” Schlater said. “So we end up borrowing a lot of human medications for animals and we just scale it down. I think most people don’t realize that there are veterinarians who are specifically cardiologists.


“As more and more animals become like part of the family, I think more and more people are beginning to seek out specialty care for their dogs and cats, so hopefully it will become a much more common thing.”


Schlater’s mobile clinic covers a larger area – her 18-foot, modified trailer goes from Spanish Fort to Pensacola to Milton and all the way out to Fort Walton Beach. And in Magnum’s case, just a little bit farther.


Johnson has already had Magnum’s littermate, Max, checked for the same heart disease. He’s been cleared and given a clean bill of health.


“They prolonged my precious cat’s life using human medicine,” Johnson said. “Who knew that was even possible?”