WHAT IS HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY (HCM)?
HCM is the most common heart disease amongst felines. While HCM is common for all breeds (purebred and mixed), certain breeds are at higher risk, such as the Bengal, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Persian, and Sphynx (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 2014). It is the thickening of the left ventricle wall and overall enlargement that can lead to heart failure (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 2014). While most cases of HCM are hereditary, there are instances where it can occur for absolutely no reason. This is why HCM screening is so important, especially from reputable breeders.
Some breeders may argue that HCM screening isn't worth it because it can occur at any time (Why do we heart test our Bengal cats for so many years?, 2018). However, annual screenings can be used to in early detection. If we can detect early signs of HCM, the cat can be removed from the breeding program and offspring can be monitored. Pet owners may feel more comfortable and confident in purchasing their Bengal from a breeder that screens and can notify them of any change in status from their kittens parents.
There is not a specific test that exists for HCM, however, the heart can be screened, measured, and monitored using an echocardiogram from a certified veterinary cardiologist. HCM prevention cannot be guaranteed, however screening annually as a precautionary measure can assist in early detection of the disease.
Bengal-data.com is a database that many breeders have used to contribute HCM data from the genetics of their cats for the public to track.
HCM. (n.d.). Elysian Bengals. Retrieved from https://www.elysianbengals.com/hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. (2014). Cornell University College of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy
Why do we heart test our Bengal cats for so many years? (2018). Quality Bengal Kittens. Retrieved from https://quality-bengal-kittens.com/blogs/information-for-bengal-owners-about-health-behavior-and-other-interesting-bengal-related-subjects/posts/why-do-we-heart-test-our-bengal-cats-for-so-many-years