Yes, is the answer to the above question based upon my research but I will make a caveat by saying that it is quite difficult to find definitive information. The weakness in making a comparison is because although there is a considerable amount of research on cats, it is far less than the amount of research on people. More research on cats is needed.
I will refer to Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy as HCM. In a research study entitled “Assessment Of the Prevalence of Heart Murmurs In Overtly Healthy Cats“, which is published on the AVMA website, the scientists discovered that 21% of the cats had heart murmurs. Of the cats that had heart murmurs tests were carried out on 7 of them and 6 had HCM. Apparently, the reported incidence of heart murmurs in apparently healthy cat is between 21% and 50%.
Various studies on people tell us that HCM occurs in about 0.2% of the general population of young adults.
The prevalence of HCM in cats generally has, as I understand it, been reported at anywhere between 1.6% and 8.3% (manhattancats.com). The difference depends on “the population evaluated and the method of diagnosis”.
It is important to mention “cats generally” because we know that in certain cat breeds the prevalence is much higher. For example, the Bengal cat is known to have a higher than usual prevalence of HCM. In addition, the Maine Coon is known to have a higher than usual percentage of cats with HCM. There are other pedigree cats with the same problem.
In a study conducted at the Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Laboratory at Washington State University samples of DNA were taken from 21 different countries and 17 different cat breeds. Maine Coons accounted for all of the positive samples. Apparently, 34% of Maine Coons tested positive for a mutation that causes HCM.
It would seem that the prevalence of HCM in cats is between 8 and 40 times higher than in people.
HCM is a genetic disease. It is caused by a genetic mutation and the mutated gene is inherited. That is my understanding of the disease. I don’t know of any environmental factors that exacerbate this health problem. Although, it must be stated that this is a developing area so there may be some environmental causes. I believe that we need to know more about the causes of HCM in cats because it appears it is much more common in cats compared to people.
In a study entitled “Prevalence of heart disease in symptomatic cats: an overview from 1998 to 2005“, a total of 408 cats with various cardiovascular problems were studied and in 287 cats definitive cardiovascular disease was diagnosed and of these HCM was the most common diagnosis amounting to 67.6% of the cats.
HCM in cats is major cat illnesses and more research is required to get to the bottom of the cause and why cats appear to be predisposed generally in comparison to people.
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