Heart problems are not as common in cats as they are in humans, but cats are by no means immune to heart disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (cardio = heart, myo = muscle, pathy = disease), more easily referred to as HCM, is the most common acquired heart disease in cats. HMC is an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, and is believed to be largely genetic in origin. Although there is no known cure for this condition, with prompt diagnosis and early treatment, cats may live on for years after diagnosis.
- Sudden difficulty breathing
- Lack of appetite
- Coughing or gagging
- Lethargy or weakness
- Rear leg paralysis
- Sitting upright or a reluctance to lie down
The expectation of a cat with HCM is highly variable and directly relates to how fast and thick the muscle walls of the hart become which determines the severity of the disease. While there is no cure, symptoms can often be controlled successfully with proper treatment and most cats will have a good prognosis.
For more information on HCM:
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