Beta blockers have proven effective in treating some people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but their effectiveness in cats with asymptomatic HCM has not been established. However, researchers at North Carolina State University are now studying cats being treated with the beta-blocker atenolol to better determine if early medical therapy improves their quality of life.
HCM, the most common feline heart disease, causes thickening of the heart muscle, reducing blood flow and, in more advanced cases, oxygen levels throughout the body.
The disease most commonly occurs in middle age, with males, Maine Coons and American Shorthairs especially predisposed. The cause is not known.
Beta blockers slow the heart rate, allowing more time for blood flow to the heart muscle, and reduce the amount of oxygen the heart uses. In some cases, the incidence of arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, is also lessened. ❖