Cat breeds prone to HCM are: Maine Coon, Ragdolls, British Shorthairs, American Shorthairs, Devon Rexes and Bengals. All these breeds are extensively discussed on this website. Please start by clicking on this page.
All but the last cat breed are listed in the well-known Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook Third Edition. Debra M Eldredge DVM is the source of this information within the book.
As for the Bengal cat, I am surprised that this breed was omitted by Debra because it is common knowledge nowadays that this glamorous cat breed is plagued with HCM. As I understand it, the potential cause is the narrow gene pool upon which this breed has been created. Bengal nose has the same cause, potentially.
For the Maine Coon and Ragdoll the cause is a genetic mutation affecting males and females. The defective genes “involve the myosin Binding Protein C in the heart muscle..” Tests can be carried out to check for this gene at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, as I understand it. A cheek swab or blood test is provided.
Up to a third of all Maine Coons are predisposed to HCM.
HCM stands for ‘hypertrophic cardiomyopathy’, the most common cause of heart disease in cats. It is also the most prominent cause of sudden death in indoor adult cats.
The walls of the ventricles become thick and inelastic weakening the heart and the chambers diminish is size.
Treatments for HCM include:
- Beta-adrenergic blockers which slow the heart rate
- Calcium-channel blockers which work like beta blockers
- Aspirin, warfarin, or heparin and diuretics
- ACE inhibitors
- Low salt diets
- Reducing activity
- Magnesium supplements?
Note: please use the search facility on this site (RH column) to find information on HCM in cat breeds and all genetic diseases in purebred cats.