HCM in Cats and What You Can Do About It

If you’ve got a cat that’s close to your heart, you might want to start paying more attention to theirs. Although our feline friends sometimes project a cool, disinterested attitude, there are certain conditions affecting them that any pet lover should know about. One example? Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a heart disease featuring the abnormal and progressive thickening of a cat’s ventricular wall.

HCM tends to afflict the left side of the heart, but it can strike the right side as well. Depending on the degree of thickening in the impacted musculature, the disease can contribute to the development of arrhythmias, blood clots, or even heart failure. Since HCM is also one of the most prevalent forms of heart disease in cats, Coast to Coast Cardiology is spreading the word via a handy blog post. Look below for more info!

Which Breeds Are Vulnerable to HCM?

Some breeds are more likely to suffer from HCM. Commonly affected cats include:

  • Domestic Shorthairs
  • Maine Coons
  • Ragdolls
  • Oriental Breeds, including Himalayan, Burmese, Sphynx, and Persian)
  • Devon Rex cats

How Do I Spot the Signs?

Unfortunately, most cats in the early stages of this disease are asymptomatic and thus do not offer any outward warnings of heart problems. However, vigilant owners can keep an eye out for any of the following:

  • Weakness or lightheadedness when playing more actively
  • Changes in appetite or energy
  • Increased respiratory rates
  • Limping or dragging of limbs

What Are the Options for Diagnosis?

Heart disease is typically detected by a primary care veterinarian in the course of a routine physical exam, as heart murmurs and arrhythmias can be heard via a stethoscope. And when a veterinarian suspects an underlying heart disease in these cases, cardiac evaluation is required.

  • An echocardiogram allows examination of the heart’s structure and function, and it’s typically performed alongside a blood pressure evaluation.
  • Cats with suspected HCM also benefit from a thyroid test.
  • Electrocardiograms might be performed to assess any arrhythmias that might be present.
  • Chest X-rays might be ordered if changes in breathing at home indicate the possibility of fluid buildup within the lungs.

Prognosis, Treatment, and Follow-up

The outlook for HCM varies depending on clinical findings at the time of diagnosis. While there are currently no treatments that slow down progression, beta blockers and anti-clot medications might help with outflow obstructions and clots. It’s also possible for cats with mild to moderate forms of HCM to enjoy a mostly normal life for many years, so stay positive!

At Coast to Coast Cardiology, we provide exceptional service for all kinds of cardiac and comorbid conditions. We have ten different locations, but we deliver on one goal no matter where we’re working: We treat the patient, not the signs, delivering comprehensive, cost-effective, and compassionate care. To make an appointment, contact us online or call 844-582-3827 today.