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Identifying Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart disease usually strikes cats in the prime of their lives—around 4 to 6 years of age but as young as 1 year old. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common type of feline heart disease and the greatest cause of cardiovascular disease and death. Identification of clinical risk factors in humans has improved patient health and survival. Although feline HCM is remarkably similar to HCM in people, clinical markers that could identify at-risk cats aren’t available. Lack of this vital information inhibits efforts to develop effective preventive therapies. This study involves 27 board-certified cardiologists from 24 specialty hospitals throughout the country and is the first comprehensive, long-term clinical evaluation of HCM in cats. The team hopes to discover risk factors for HCM that could be used to improve patient care and increase survival.

Dr. Philip R. Fox, Animal Medical Center

Co-sponsor: Hal & Marty Hendershot; Hunkeler Family Fund