Feline heart disease:


The feline heart like the human heart is a dual pump. Blood is returned from the cat's circulatory system to its right side of the heart that pumps it through the pulmonary arteries to the lungs for oxygenation. The left side of the heart receives the oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it into the aorta, for circulation throughout the cat's body.
Causes:
HCM is diagnosed when any other disease does not cause left ventricular hypertrophy. Left ventricular hypertrophy is similar to HCM may be caused by diseases such as systemic hypertension which is most commonly associated with kidney disease or hyperthyroidism but such cases cannot properly be termed HCM. Mutations in several genes have been identified as major cause of HCM in humans. The mutations known to date are inherited as autosomal dominant traits with the variable expression and incomplete penetrance. This also means that an abnormal gene from only one parent is needed to cause the disease to develop in the child that its severity can vary and that it's possible for some people to have an HCM gene mutation but not develop the disease. The mutation is thus far identified for human HCM cause gene to produce a defective contractile protein. The resultant contractile units within the heart muscle are dysfunctional and so additional contractile units are produced by myocardium, heart muscle to compensate. The increased number of contractile units leads to wall thickening.
Common in cats:
HCM is most commonly seen in cats less than five years old, however it is by no means unusual to diagnose primary HCM for the first time in cats as old as seven to eight or even older whose hearts had appeared normal on previous echocardiograms. Familial occurrences have been observed in numerous breeds. But specific feline HCM genetic mutations have not been isolated as yet, it is appearing in families of cats, and observations that an affected offspring can be produced if there is an affected parent, strongly indicate a genetic basis. In Maine Coon cats and American Shorthairs, HCM is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait it is in humans too. In addition, the natural history of the disease and the pathology are the same as in humans. So, it is likely that the disease is caused by a mutation in a contractile protein gene.

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