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Sphynx Cats and HCM


Staff member
Jan 13, 2009
What is Feline HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy)?

HCM is a disease that causes a thickening of the sphynx heart muscle, and is believed to be largely genetic in origin, with several breeds considered suspect including the Sphynx and is still under study. Although there is no known cure for this condition, with quick diagnosis and early treatment, Sphynx cats may live on for years after they are diagnosed with this horrible disease.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) results from HCM or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Do not be mislead by certain sites and articles that unfortunately leave new Sphynx owners in a panic frenzy to begin making phone calls to their vet and setting up appointments for their Sphynx cat to schedule an X-Ray, ECG (Electrocardiogram) or an Echo because they read of this horrible "Sphynx cat disease" on the internet that everyone is talking about. "YES," it is a horrible disease and "NO," it's not only a "Sphynx cat disease!". HCM is a disease that affects animals like cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits and even humans can be diagnosed with HCM. There is no "guarantee" that any animal including Sphynx cats will or will not contract this disease so do not let any one tell you different.

For instance, two breeding Sphynx parents can live full healthy lives with no symptoms of HCM, scanned yearly HCM free but one of their kittens can be diagnosed 2 years down the road into its life. So if HCM is something that bothers you, or keeps you up at night, then by all means see your vet, get your regular check up and ask his opinion on the matter and go from there. Some people do scan their Sphynx yearly for HCM pet or non- pet. It's best to begin scanning after the cat reaches 1 year of age unless something is found earlier in his or her vet check up like a heart murmur, your vet will help in making that decision.

How is Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Treated?

The Treatment for HCM will depend on the progression of the disease in the Sphynx cat, and includes:

Beta Blockers: atenolol and metoprolol
These drugs have been known to help improve the "filling" function of the left ventricle, which will increase the volume of blood flowing to the lungs of the cat, helping to decrease pulmonary edema.

Calcium Channel Blockers : diltiazem
Also help improve the heart function in the cat, by reducing the heart rate and myocardial oxygen consumption.

ACE Inhibitors:enalapril or benazepril
Their have been clinical trials with some cats that seem to indicate that these drugs may work better than Beta Blockers, for improving heart function of the sphynx.

Diuretics: Have been known to help to reduce pulmonary edema in the sphynx. Because of the potential for negative side effects. Renal function must be monitored carefully when diuretics are used on cats.
Treat underlying conditions
Most often Hyperthyroidism and/or hypertension (high blood pressure).

How Long Can my Sphynx Cat Live with HCM?

Every Sphynx cat will carry their own history of the disease, and it is impossible to predict the prognosis of any Sphynx cat with HCM. However, existing technology offers great possibility of several more months to several years, and depending on the overall condition of your cat at diagnosis. A dedicated Sphynx owner can help by working closely with their vet, and by providing a warm, stress-free environment for their Sphynx companion and their Sphynx could have a long and enjoyable life with their human.

Disclaimer: I am not a vet. This article is just my opinion, as always refer to your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment of any feline disease.
This thread in no way says do NOT to scan your cat. If you as an owner make that choice or your personal vets recommends a scan, than of course do it!
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