Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart disease that is most commonly seen in Ragdoll and Persian cats. It is caused by an abnormal growth of the heart muscle. This can lead to the heart becoming thick and stiff, making it difficult for the cat to pump blood around its body. Symptoms of HCM include shortness of breath, coughing, and fainting. The disease can lead to heart failure and death. There is no cure for HCM, but treatment can help manage the symptoms. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential for cats with HCM.
Causes of HCM in Ragdoll cats
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart disease that affects Ragdoll cats. The cause of HCM in Ragdolls is unknown, but the disease appears to be inherited. Some Ragdolls are born with HCM, while others develop the disease later in life.
In a study of Ragdolls, it was found that approximately 30% of all Ragdolls carry the mutant gene that is responsible for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Because of this, breeders will likely test their cats for the gene and will remove any cat that tests positive from their breeding pool in order to try an eliminate HCM from the breed. If you are looking to purchase a Ragdoll kitten make sure your breeder gives you a guarantee in their contract that both parents are known to be free of the gene mutation.
However, some Ragdoll cats can still develop HCM despite testing negative for the gene.
Symptoms of HCM in Ragdoll cats
Symptoms of HCM in Ragdoll cats can include:
- Decreased activity
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
- Rapid breathing
- Problems with the hind legs
- Increased heart rate
Many Ragdolls will develop symptoms of Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy before they reach two years of age, however, some will develop it later in life at around 6-8 years of age. Symptoms typically occur gradually over a period of weeks to months. They include shortness of breath when resting and coughs that become worse at night while sleeping.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can lead to fluid buildup in the veins of the heart, leading to congestive heart failure. In some cases, this fluid buildup in the veins can extend into the chambers of the heart; this is referred to as dilated cardiomyopathy. When left untreated, HCM can also lead to further degeneration of the heart muscle over time; this is called restrictive cardiomyopathy.
Some cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may show no symptoms of the disease before dying suddenly.
Treatment options for HCM in Ragdoll cats
There is no one “cure” for HCM, but there are a number of treatments that can help improve your cat’s quality of life. Treatments may include medications, diet changes, and surgery. Talk to your veterinarian about the best treatment options for your cat.
Prognosis for Ragdoll cats with HCM
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in cats. While there is no cure for HCM, there are treatments that can help prolong the life of a cat with the disease. A recent study looked at the prognosis for Ragdoll cats with HCM, and found that most of them do well with treatment, as long as they are treated early.
Studies have found that cats with HCM and no signs of heart failure have a life expectancy of around 5 years from diagnosis. However, cats that do have signs of heart failure are expected to live anywhere between 3 and 18 months.
In conclusion, cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are typically diagnosed in older cats, but it can also happen in younger cats. It is a genetic condition that can happen to any breed, but particularly in Ragdoll cats. Treatment for this disease is typically with diet and exercise and the prognosis is good with these measures.