|Cat Heart Disease - Human heart|
Photo shows heart wall - Illustration by Patrick J. Lynch Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License - I added the arrow and label to show the heart wall.
I have made several posts about the Bengal cat and HCM. HCM is a heart disease (there are others such as DCM) that affects Bengal cats and other cat breeds such as the Maine Coon. It seems odd to me that a cat breed can have a marked predisposition to such a devastating disease, a killer. This can only be due to cat breeders getting it wrong. If I'm wrong tell me, please - see Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats.
Anyway, here's more about this important subject. I have used the human heart as the illustration is available and the cat's heart is very similar. HCM means Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. In practical terms it means the thickening of the heart muscles. It is an inherited disease (a genetic disease) that affects many animals including humans, pigs, dogs.
|Daniel a healthy Bengal Cat|
who lives with my neighbour in London, UK. Photo: Michael @ PoC
It seems that in Maine Coon cats the cause of cat heart disease (specifically HCM) could be a dominant gene. But the whole area of HCM is still being researched. We are still very much in the dark about it in relation to its cause in Bengal Cats for example. See also Maine Coon cat health.
Because the heart muscle thickens it is less elastic and the area of the ventricle (the chamber from where it is pumped) is smaller. This means less blood is pumped out of the heart (less efficient) and turbulence can be created. The valves can leak as a result too. This causes a heart murmur. Fluid can build up on the lungs.
Sometimes there are no apparent symptoms and your cat can die suddenly. It develops slowly and your cat can show no signs before 6 months of age. It can be years before a successful diagnosis can be made.
There is no cure, just treatment to ease the life of the cat. The test to diagnose the disease is an ultrasound test (echocardiographic test). See video below:
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