Tuesday 12 February 2008

Bengal Cats and HCM

Here's the answer for many cat breeders in the US who breed Bengal cats and are concerned (as all should be) about HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Mutation).

See all posts on the subject of HCM and this cat breed.

I am sure you can have tests done elsewhere but Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Laboratory, can provide a test kit on request.

The kit allows you to either use a swab provided to take a cheek swab yourself or ask your vet to take a blood sample. Either can be sent to the lab. They say they take about 2 weeks to conduct a DNA test to see if your cat is HCM positive or negative. The cost is extremely modest at $60 per test, with discount for multiple tests.

You should email the lab:VCGL@vetmed.wsu.edu?subject=Order%20Test%20Kit and provide: Your name, Your address, How many cats you'd like tested, Details as to how you would like to be notified., Your email if you want to notified by email, The test kit provides the swab. Visit their site fore more details.

Photo copyright Helmi Flick - the cat in the photo is not illustrating this post because she/he has HCM - I don't know if she has or hasn't.

From Bengal Cats and HCM to Bengal Cats and HCM


  1. the testing you refer to is only for ragdolls and mainecoon cats. no dna test is available for bengals as of yet.

  2. Thanks for this. Why is the DNA test cat breed dependent? I would have thought it was the same test for any cat.


  3. Some day there will be a test for all breeds and mixed breeds too!! The HCM DNA test is still in the development stages. It has only been tested on a couple of breeds so far. Bengal breeders are being asked to submit DNA samples so the researchers can find out if the DNA test works on them too.

  4. While there is a gene test available for HCM, it is quite limited. There are currently only two breed specific tests available - for the Maine Coon and the Ragdoll.

    Example. The Maine Coon test can identify cats with a specific gene mutation in the Myosin Binding Protein C 3 gene, also called HCM1.

    This mutation has been associated with HCM in a colony of Maine Coon cats. It has also been associated with an increased risk for clinical HCM in the general Maine Coon cat population. It is not currently known how increased the risk is. More studes are required.

    In humans with HCM, there are over 200 genetic mutations that can cause the disease. It would appear that this may true for cats, too.

    So, the DNA test is helpful, but is limited. If a Maine Coon tests negative via the DNA test, it does not mean he does not have HCM, it means he does not have that particular mutation.

    A step in the right direction for sure, but:

    Ultrasound screenings are still necessary for detecting HCM caused by a mutation other than HCM1.

    DNA tests are limited - and their findings only indicative of one particular HCM mutation.

    DNA testing is breed specific, and only the Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds currently have DNA tests available.


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