List of Acquired Heart Conditions

Click on any of the items below to expand read more about that condition.

Cats with are diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) if they have a detectable thickening of their heart muscle (equal to or greater than 6mm thick). Cats suffering from HCM can eventually develop heart failure or an arterial thromboembolism, but many affected cats live a number of years without such an event. Not all cats have a heart murmur, so the disease can be very difficult to identify until signs develop – sometimes severe and life-threatening. Research has shown that HCM is common in Domestic non-pedigree cats (up to 15% of cats affected overall, and over 30% in older cats), and is known to be inherited in various breeds of pedigree cat, including the Ragdoll, Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest, Sphynx, Bengal and Persian cats – other breeds are also known to be affected. Although genetic tests are available in the Ragdoll and Maine Coon breeds, not all cats positive for these tests go on to develop HCM, and not all cats with HCM test positive – meaning that there is more than one gene responsible for HCM. In humans, thousands of genetic mutations are known to cause HCM, and the same is likely to be true across different cat breeds. As a result, annual echocardiography is the best way to screen for HCM, starting in young cats but more important in middle-aged to older cats, where disease is far more common. VCS holds a list of veterinary cardiologists specifically trained and accredited to screen for HCM in cats, so please use this if you would like a reliable opinion for your pedigree cats.

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