Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a health concern in many pure breed cats. A link has recently been found between Savannah Cats and HCM; there are cases that indicate that HCM may also be a reoccurring health issue in some wild cats. Several Savannah Breeders have their breeder cats scanned for HCM on an annual basis..
What is HCM?
HCM is a disease which can cause sudden death and causes the thickening of the heart muscle which results in poor relaxing and filling ability. HCM can be very gradual but be detected via an ultrasoung scan. The pumping chamber also known as the ventricle becomes progressively thicker and less blood enters the chamber. The result of this means that less blood is released out to the body.
How is it detected and what's the cost?
HCM is detectable through an ultrasound scan ranging in cost between £120 - £180 per cat, per scan but discounts are often offered for bulk bookings. If you are interested in receiving a discount on your HCM Scans then please contact us.
Many breeders decide not to scan because of the high expense of these scans and because the disease can occur after a scan, so it requires repeat testing to check for the disease. HCM is a known disease in bengals and so, therefore, it can only be assumed that Savannahs are affected in their lineage. The only way to be sure is to test.
Auscultation (examining with a stethoscope)
So if I have my cat scanned it will detect HCM for definite?
Remember HCM can occur at any time and that is why annual screening is recommended for breeding cats. A breeder cannot ascertain as to whether they are breeding HCM affected cats without testing annually and even testing retired cats (even if they have moved on). Some breeders will have retirees placed into homes where they are allowed to have the cat scanned at their own expense in order to check the lines they have produced, or kept offspring back from. We ask all owners if we can periodically screen the line at our own expense.
It is also worth noting that an echocardiography is not a perfect procedure for diagnosing HCM, however, it is the best, meaning, most sensitive method currently available for detecting signs of the disease. Auscultation is a less accurate way of detecting the disease in affected cats a significant number of cats with HCM may NOT have an audible heart murmur.
Veterinary Cardiologists recommend that breeding cats should have an annual echocardiogram during their breeding time. The purpose of scanning retired cats is to prevent reproduction of offspring from those placed as breeders or to identify where the problem lies in a line. It can be a very difficult, long-drawn, expensive process. The only way to ensure that the problem is eradicated from the breed is to test and identify where there is a problem.
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All about Stylisticat, written by Kayleigh McIntosh-Lowrie