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Heart disease in pedigreed cats

Trehiou-Sechi E, Tissier R, Gouni V, et al. Comparative echocardiographic and clinical features of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 5 breeds of cats: a retrospective analysis of 344 Cases (2001–2011). J Vet Intern Med. 2012; 26: 532-41.
A common form of heart disease in cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and it is associated with risk of sudden death. HCM has been shown to be inherited in some breeds though few studies have looked at comparisons of HCM phenotype and survival according to breed. The authors performed a retrospective study of 344 cats from 5 different breeds (Persian, Domestic Shorthair, Sphynx, Maine Coon, and Chartreux) having primary HCM diagnosed by conventional echocardiography. In this group, 266 cats were asymptomatic and 78 were symptomatic. Most of the symptomatic cats exhibited congestive heart failure, aortic thromboembolism, syncope, and weakness.

The age at the first cardiac event was significantly lower in Maine Coons (2.5 years) versus other breeds (7 years). In Sphynx, the age at the time of diagnosis was 3.5 years. Concerning sudden death solely, Maine Coon cats died younger than other breeds. No sudden deaths were reported in Chartreux and Persian cats in this study. Sudden death was observed in only 3 breeds—Maine Coon, Domestic Shorthair, and Sphynx. All cats surviving longer than 15 years of age were Domestic Shorthair, Persians, or Chartreux. From the results of this study, it appears that feline HCM is characterized by marked phenotypic variability with several breed-dependent features with regard to epidemiological characteristics, left ventricular geometric patterns, age at the time of diagnosis, and decompensation events. [VT]

See also: Silverman SJ, Stern JA and Meurs KM. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the Sphynx cat: A retrospective evaluation of clinical presentation and heritable etiology. J Feline Med Surg. 2012; 14: 246-9.