Hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy

Is a disease which is found in many cat breeds including Sphynx, it is a disease of the heart muscle. (Cardio – heart, myopathy – muscle)

The cat’s heart is a muscular pump with four separate chambers. The right side of the heart sends blood to the lungs where it picks up oxygen. The left side receives blood from the lungs and pumps it around the rest of the body. HCM  cause the  heart muscle  to thicken which  impairs  it’s flexibility, causing the heart to work faster which in turn leads to the enlargement of the heart chambers and fluid round the heart.  HCM can be diagnosed by ultrasound scanning. There is currently no genetic test for HCM specifically for Sphynx, and until genetics in cats is fully understood it will be almost impossible to eliminate the disease.  Research continues into the cause. There are very rarely any visible sign until the disease is advanced. 

In many cases until the cat develops signs of acute heart failure, which includes rapid, shallow breathing, open mouth breathing, vomiting & weakness. Blood clots may develop in the heart and travel down the aorta to block the circulation to the hind legs, causing pain and weakness.


Physical Exam – Irregular heart rhythm, or unusually fast indicates a need for investigation.

Radiography  Chest  X-rays of symptomatic cats that may appear normal or have a mild enlargement of the heart. Cats with clinical signs of HCM there maybe a greater enlargement of the heart as well as fluid build up  in the lungs and chest cavity.

Echocardiography This is the diagnostic tool which is best suited to monitor HCM.  It is a painless procedure using sound waves to give  a 3-dimensional picture of the heart in motion. A valuation of the thickness of the heart walls and the strength of each contraction of the heart muscle. The heart valves can be evaluated and look for evidence of blood clot formation within the heart chambers that could lead in circulation blockage.

Treatment – The decision of whether and how to treat a cat with HCM depends on the cat’s clinical signs and the results of a complete diagnostic  test. Very early or mild cases may not require treatment, just close monitoring. More serve cases and pronounced changes in the heart will need medical intervention. Such as Beta-adrenergic receptor blockers etc…….

The best advice and the way forward is to not to breed from known HCM positive cats  and to test existing progeny on a yearly basics. 

More in depth information can be found by linking onto the following sites:
and of course your Vet should be able to answer any questions you may wish to ask.

F.A.B Registered Veterinary. uk/Belgium

Veterinary surgeon Address Phone
Mr A Boswood MA VetMB DVC DECVIM-CA(Cardiology) MRCVS Queen Mother Hospital, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mimms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA 01707 666366
Dr S Brownlie BVM&S PhD CertSAC MRCVS Kileekie, Crosshill, Maybole, Ayrshire, KA19 7PY 01655 740236
Mr D D Clarke MA VetMB DVR CertSAC MRCVS Mill House Veterinary Surgery, 20 Tennyson Avenue, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 2QG 01553 771457
Dr D Connolly BSc BVetMed PhD CertSAM CertVC DECVIM-CA(Cardiology) MRCVS Department Veterinary Clinical Science, The Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA 01707 666366
(fax 01707 666 369)
Borders Veterinary Cardiology ServicesSmithy Cottage, Skirling, Peebleshire, ML12 6HD
01899 221321(fax: 01899 221321)
Dr J Dukes McEwan BVMS MVM PhD DVC DECVIM-CA(Cardiology) MRCVS Small Animal Hospital, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool, L7 7EX 0151 7944290
Dr Luca Ferasin DVM, PhD, CertVC, DipECVIM-CA (Cardiology) MRCVSEuropean Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology
Specialist Veterinary Cardiology Consultancy20 Old Bath Road, Newbury, Berkshire  RG14 1QL
07773 585428(fax:  01635 529826)
Ms A French MVB DVC CertSAM DECVIM-CA(Cardiology) MRCVS Small Animal Hospital, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG 0131 6507650
Mr M E Herrtage MA BVSc DVR DVD DSAM DECVIM-CA DECVDI MRCVS Dept. of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ES 01223 337621
Ms V Ironside MA VetMB CertVC MRCVS The Gables, Cressbrook, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 8SX 07970 103789
Dr C Little BVMS PhD, DVC, MRCVS, Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology The Barton Veterinary Hospital, 34 New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 3DT 01227 765522
Dr V Luis Fuentes MA VetMB PhD CertVR DVC,DACVIM (Cardiology) DECVIM-CA (Cardiology) MRCVS RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology Queen Mother Hospital, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mimms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA 01707 662255
Mr M W S Martin MVB DVC MRCVS Martin Referral Service 43 Waverley Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1JL 01926 863445
Mr M R Oakley BVM&S BSc CertSAC MRCVS Kynoch & Partners, Pinegrove Vet Centre, 51 Dukes Ride, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 6NE 01344 774314
Dr M W Patteson MA VetMB PhD DVC CertVR MRCVS Vale Veterinary Group, The Animal Hospital, Stinchcombe, Dursley, Gloucestershire, GL11 6AJ 01453 542092
Mrs S Roberts BVMS CertVC MRCVS
Torrington Orthopaedics, IES House, Mission Street, Brighouse, West Yorkshire HD6 1NQ
07850 740356
Mr P Smith BVetMed DVC MRCVS East Anglia Cardiology LtdThe Bakers CottageChurch StreetBuntingford, Hertfordshire  SG9 9AS 07818 405535(Fax: 01223 773081)
Ms S Smith MA VetMB CertVC MRCVS
Scarsdale Veterinary Hospital, 45-47 Kedleston Road, Derby, Derbyshire, DE22 1FN
01332 345191
Mr M Stafford Johnson MVB Cert SAM MACVSc DVC MRCVS Martin Referral Service 43 Waverley Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1JL 01926 863445
Ms N Summerfield BSc BVM& S DACVIM (Cardiology) MRCVS Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital , 18 Upper Brighton Rd, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 9DL 01903 234866
Mr S Swift MA VetMB CertSAC MRCVS University of Liverpool Small Animal Hospital, Crown Street, Liverpool, L7 7EX 0151 79442900
Miss N Van Israel DVM CESOpht CertSAM CertVC DECVIM-CA (Cardiology) MSc MRCVS Acapulco, Animal Cardiopulmonary Consultancy, Masta 11 BE-4970 Masta, BELGIUM 00 32 (0) 80 517 451 (Fax +32 (0) 80 511751)
Ms R Willis BVM& S DVC MRCVS Broadleys Veterinary Hospital, Craig Leith Road, Stirling, FK7 7LE 01786 445665
Dr P Wotton BVSc PhD DVC MRCVS Davies Veterinary Specialists, Manor Farm Business Park, Higham Gobion, Hertfordshire, SG5 3HR 01582 883950