What is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy?
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition where the musculature of the ventricle of the heart becomes bigger and more muscled leading to a less efficient pumping mechanism and subsequent heart failure. Additionally, the development of thromboembolism (clots) can lead to other circulatory problems.
How does my cat get HCM?
If you have a middle age (5-7 years) male Maine Coon, you have a high risk of developing HCM from a genetic standpoint. On the other hand, there are numerous other causes NONE of which have been specifically aligned with HCM.
How do I know if my cat has HCM?
Historical findings include respiratory difficulty, cough, loss of appetite, exercise intolerance, vomiting, collapse, and sudden death. Your veterinarian upon examination may find a gallop rhythm heart beat with or without a murmur. Further on, there may be fluid in the chest, and increased lung sounds associated with fluid in the lungs. Blood tests to check thyroid levels among other things and radiographs are the first step in diagnosis. Ultrasound and blood pressure measurements are needed to confirm and assess the severity.
What can I do about HCM?
Once diagnosed, treatment is directed at slowing the progression of the disease. Various combinations of medications will be used depending upon what stage of heart and lung disease exists. Prognosis is variable depending many variables. Minimizing stress is imperative
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting HCM?
Prevention of HCM would be based upon breed selection first and foremost.
Are there certain breeds that get HCM more often?
Maine Coon Cats. Lower risk: rex breeds, British shorthair, Persian, Ragdoll, American shorthair