Meet George, Angela’s handsome 3 year old Persian kitty. Although George appears perfectly healthy at home, his recent Optimum Preventive Care Plan lab results found a very high proBNP level. This blood test is a great screening tool for catching strain/damage to the heart muscle in cats.
George quickly returned for follow-up x-rays which found an enlarged heart. There are a various types of heart disease in cats, so Angela and George visited the fantastic Cardiology department at MU last week for an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) to better understand George’s underlying condition, severity, and best course of action for him.
George’s echocardiogram found Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (“HCM”), which is the most common heart disease in cats and one that his breed is unfortunately predisposed to. This disease causes thickening of the heart muscle, which was found to be already severe in George. This has led to the enlargement of the upper chamber of his heart, which sets up perfect conditions for large blood clot formation, so George has been started on a blood thinner medication to reduce his risk of catastrophic complications.
Fortunately, George has not already developed any blood clots, congestive heart failure, or high blood pressure secondary to his heart disease, so his current management plan is focused on a moderately sodium restricted diet along with monitoring for progression of his heart disease.
While HCM worsens quickly in some cats, other cats will remain stable and free of symptoms for years. Fingers and toes crossed that George remains in the latter category!