Genetic Markers for Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common feline heart condition. The Basepaws Breed + Health Cat DNA test now screens for two additional genetic health markers associated with HCM to let pet parents know if their cat is at a higher risk for the disease. This knowledge, along with risk results for any of the 42 other genetic conditions for which the Basepaws test screens, can be incorporated into a proactive care plan that supports the overall health and well-being of a beloved feline companion.

What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a cardiovascular condition that causes an abnormal thickening of the heart’s muscular walls. This thickening makes the heart have to work harder and pump blood faster, leading to an irregularly fast heartbeat known as “tachycardia”. Tachycardia creates a situation where the heart consumes more oxygen than it normally would, often leading to oxygen deprivation and the death of heart cells. HCM compromises overall heart function, which can lead to a range of issues in other systems of the body.

The exact cause of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) has yet to be fully understood, but the condition does tend to be more prevalent in certain breeds versus others. Around 30% of Maine Coons have genetic mutations associated with risk of developing HCM, and Ragdolls are also known to be at higher risk for the disease. Other at-risk breeds include the Persian, Birman, Bengal, Turkish Van, and the Abyssinian. Research has also demonstrated the prevalence of HCM in British Shorthairs (see Granström et al., 2011).

Genetic Testing for Earlier Detection and Timely Intervention

Many diseases, including HCM, do not present clinical signs until a pet is already in pain and the disease has reached an advanced stage. This results in the unnecessary suffering of pets and severely limits the options that pet parents and veterinarians might have for managing and treating a disease.



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