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HCM in Cats


Savannah Child
...Just lost Marcus, my 7-year old F4 Savannah...

He was suddenly diagnosed with advanced HCM and CHF less than 2.5 months ago when rushed to the ER after showing signs of difficulty breathing... But then seemed to be doing well after staying in ER and being put on meds. ...suddenly progressed this morning from totally normal "good morning Mom" to respiratory distress which extra doses of furosemide didn't relieve this time...

Savannahs seem to be a very healthy breed, and before getting him I interviewed many breeders. The one I got him from was very health-conscious, told me that she did not have problems with her breeding, there was a health guarantee, and he never showed any signs of any problem. Except that he always was constipated, and in retrospect I am thinking that this could have been a sign which was never connected by my vet with HCM -- but now I know these often develop together.

As a cat parent, there is not much we can do even if the cat is diagnosed early except slowing down the disease, but it is incurable and progressive. But I wonder what the breeders can do because after several generations of other domestic cats' breeding, the same genes that cause it in other breeds can start to show...


Staff member
I am so very sorry for your loss, I know Marcus will be missed. You didn't specifically mention it, so I hope you have communicated to your breeder the findings of HCM as that indicates that she has it in her lines and those cats should be pulled from her breeding program. Unfortunately at this time it is the only way to prevent HCM - the only genetic tests for HCM are for Ragdolls and Maine Coons, and a surveillance echo is only good for the time it was scanned as HCM can develop at any time in a cat.


Staff member
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Marcus. As Patti stated, I hope you have informed the breeder. Some breeders scan for hcm early, but one would have to scan every year or two and not much is seen on the scan. I do a baseline scan on my breeding cats because the early out crossing used bengals, even though I have few Bengals in my lines...and those were many generations ago.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thank you...

...yes, I email the breeder but have not heard back. I could no longer find her Website and saw somewhere on the Web that she closed the cattery.

I am wondering: in addition to echocardiography there is a biomarker test, NYpro bnp available(I think, it is done by IDEXX). If both are used together, wouldn't it be more predictive?


Staff member
An NT-proBNP is only going to (maybe) tell if the cat is in heart failure, but a cat can have HCM (for years) without having symptoms, so not necessarily predictive. I have worked with NT-proBNP in humans for years and personally have very little faith in it's accuracy as a measurement of heart failure.