Study Seeks to Identify Signs of Heart Disease

Human medicine has made strides in identifying clinical risk factors in heart disease. Now veterinary research hopes to do the same for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats. It’s the most common feline heart disease and cause of cardiovascular death.

The Animal Medical Center in New York City, with participation from a team of 27 board-certified cardiologists at 24 specialty hospitals in the U.S., wants to identify risk factors for HCM that could help improve prevention, treatment and survival.

Early signs of the disease, such as a heart murmur and increased heart rate, are vague, as are later signs like reduced activity. The disease usually strikes cats in the prime of their lives — at 4 to 6 years of age — though some as young as a year old can be affected.

The study, funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, would be the first comprehensive, long-term clinical evaluation of HCM in cats. ❖