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Discussion Starter #1
I just lost my 3 year old cat to heart disease which caused his kidneys to stop working so I had to euthanize him. I didn't know anything about this disease before this but have learned plenty. Like it is genetic and affects young cats. Cubbys symptoms showed up too late to save him. Cats hide symptoms so well, I never suspected it until it was too late.

It also is known to affect Ragdolls. Which I have one.

What I want to know and I think I know the answer to is, is the only way to catch heart disease early by xrays?

If you have had any other experience with this horrible disease please feel free to share it. The more people who know the better.
 

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So sorry to hear Cubby didn't make it. :patback Such a shame in a young cat. What kind of heart disease did the vet say it was?
 

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I'm so sorry about poor Cubby...

I assume when you say heart disease that specifically you mean Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). I did some research about this when I decided to get Holly because HCM affects Maine Coons as well as Ragdolls and several other breeds. I found this article very helpful with understanding why HCM is so hard to eradicate from breeding lines:

MCBFA Health Issues

They're making progress in isolating the mutated genes and reputable breeders are doing everything they can to screen their breeding cats. HCM is the primary reason that I am very adamant about finding a reputable breeder with people who come here asking about purchasing a Maine Coon or Ragdoll. Backyard breeders just perpetuate the issues because they're not spending the money to do proper screening.

As an owner of a cat within the affected breeds, all you can do is yearly screening, it may help prolong the cat's life if found early. But eradicating it has to come from research and proper breeding. Fundraising to support research is a way you can help.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about Cubby. My heart goes out to you.

My Ninja has DCM (Dilated Cardio Myopathy) Which is basically the opposit of HCM. The heart walls are thin and weak and the left ventrical is dilated. The result is the same, sudden heart failure.

He was diagnosed at 6 months but wouldn't have been if I hadn't been concerned about him panting during play. Radiographs were suspicious but it took an Echo to confirm diagnosis. He never had a murmur.

Ninja is on Vetmedin and it seems to be helping him. But as with HCM, there is no cure, and he could go at any time. Everytime I leave the house, he gets an extra kiss on the nose. I hold my breath everytime I come home from being gone until I see him at the door.
 

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When I bought my first Devon Rex as a 4 mo. old kitten, I knew she had a "grade 1" heart murmur. I wasn't too concerned, as I did know of a friend's cat that had a grade 5 murmur as a kitten and vet said wouldn't live over a year, and he lived to be 15 yrs. After a couple of years my girl's murmur went up to grade 2. Recently she needed to have dental cleaning to remove tartar as she was 6 y.o. and had not had it done before and I was getting concerned that she may have gingivitis or periodontal disease which could aggravate her heart. I had put it off, as I was nervous about her going under anesthesia. The vet did an EKG and blood tests in her pre-op, and the results were sent off to an specialist in NY, and she was good to go and was monitored during the dental cleaning. The vet said he couldn't find a murmur when she was under the anesthetic, and said it was "transient". Her tartar was moderate, and no gingivitis or periodontal disease, so I was happy about that. I have given her a dental supplement for past three years (Nature's Dentist) which I think helped.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The vet didn't say because he needed to go elsewhere to determine that but it was too late.

I have a foster who I found out has a grade 2 heart murmur. I will be calling all of the people who adopted her kittens to let them know as I just found out. Bummer.

Kobster I hope Ninja lives many many years.

Doodlebug I will look over that link. Do you know if Ragdolls are prone to it all their lives or just the first few years? I would assume it would be their whole lives.

And thank you for all your well wishes.
 

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We lost a young male feral, about 6 months old, to a heart defect last October. He died after being given anesthesia. There is no way we could have known.
Since it can be hereditary, that was the end of TNR at that particular site. The person who was running the show there refused to catch any more cats.

I am very sorry for your loss. A heart problem is almost the last thing I would think a young healthy cat would die of.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It seems not enough people know about it and it also seems it would be hard to save them on time unless you are very lucky.
 

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My Lil-Fella died suddenly from HCM in 2009. He was only 4 years old. Sometimes it just happens, you never know. In school, they say it's more common in male cats for whatever reason. It's so hard when it's so sudden, my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry for the loss of your Cubby! :-(
 
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