Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is one of the most commonly encountered heart disease in cats. This disease is characterized by an abnormal thickening (hypertrophy) of one or several areas of the walls of the heart, usually of the left ventricle. The disease is caused by a variety of genetic anomalies of the cardiac muscle proteins. In cats, this disease is more prevalent in Ragdolls, Maine Coon, oriental breeds (Himalayan, Burmese, Sphynx, Persians) and Devon Rex, but it is also commonly diagnosed in Domestic Short Hair cats. A specific genetic defect has been identified in Ragdolls known as HCM3 and Maine Coon known as HCM1.
Besides HCM1 for the Maine Coon and HCM3 for the Ragdoll cat, HCM4 can now also be tested for the Sphynx. As with the other HCM tests, this variant has been found specifically in the Sphynx. Not all genetically affected cats show symptoms in the course of their life. It is also assumed that besides this variant, there is at least one other, yet unknown, variant affecting this breed, which can cause HCM. There is still no genetic test for HCM for British Shorthair (BKH) cats and other breeds.
Occurrence: The genetic variant seems to be quite common, but the number of samples is low so far.