Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart disease of the cat. This disorder results in hypertrophy or thickening of the heart muscle which, in time, creates increased stiffness of the heart walls (muscle) causing poor cardiac function during the relaxation phase of the cardiac cycle (diastole). As this condition becomes worse, the thickened heart muscle can cause obstruction to blood flow leaving the heart via the aorta increasing the effort needed to pump blood out of the heart during the contraction phase of the cardiac cycle (systole).
The cause of HCM is thought to be a genetic mutation of the genes that control heart muscle growth making HCM an inherited disorder. The genetics of one HCM mutation have been determined in the Maine Coon cat and the Rag Doll cat but the genetic defect has not been identified to date in other pure bred or domestic types of cats including Siberian Breed. In humans, more than one genetic mutation has been identified as causing HCM and it is likely that this is true for cats as well.
Researchers at U.C. Davis and WSU are both studying the genetics of Siberian HCM, and searching for the specific genes that are causing this disease. If you have a Siberian that has been diagnosed with HCM, please consider sending echocardiograms and DNA for study. Information Provided by Siberian Research Inc.
HCM can occur at any age and therefore a single normal echocardiogram (ultrasound examination of the heart) does not guarantee that the cat will remain free of the disease. Cardiologists recommend that breeding cats should have an annual echocardiogram during their breeding years. Examining retired cats periodically is also advantageous as this may allow the identification of affected cats that have offspring in a breeding program.
That is why it is important to us that you make us aware of any possible genetic problem you could have with your cat/kitten.
FELINE CARDIOMYOPATHY IN CATS
BY DR. KAREN BECKER
All of Taigamoon cattery breeding cats are routinely screened with echocardiogram by a board certified veterinary cardiologist to be clear from HCM. We start to scan at 1 year old and every 18 months after that.
While echocardiogram ensures they do not have this condition at the time of examination; There is unfortunately no way at present to determine if any cat will develop HCM in the future.
WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND HAVING YOUR KITTEN SCANNED FOR HCM ONCE EVERY TWO YEAR AFTER THE AGE OF ONE.
We have decided to offer an extend health guarantee for HCM through 3 - 5 - 8 years of age (with specific requirements), because we are doing EVERYTHING we can to breed heart healthy cats.
Dr. Karen Becker Quote:
"Because amino acid deficiency (a dietary shortage of meat-based protein) can fuel this condition [HCM]. I strongly recommend all my patients consume a human-grade, meat-based diet, and eliminate all fillers such as grains and unnecessary carbohydrates that cats don't need in the first place." So please make sure your kittens and cats are being fed a high protein diet that is grain free and low in carbohydrates.
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