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Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Cats

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

Diagnosis In-depth

Diagnostic tests are essential in recognizing HCM. Tests may include:

  • Complete physical examination and medical history review. This includes a stethoscope examination of the chest.

  • Chest X-rays to detect heart enlargement, identify fluid in the chest and exclude other causes of difficult breathing (such as pneumonia, asthma or tumors).

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG - a recording of the heart's electrical action) to screen for irregular heart rhythms and/or assist in identifying heart enlargement.

  • Thyroid test especially in cats older than 7 years of age to detect thyroid tumors.

  • Arterial blood pressure measurement to diagnose hypertension (persistently high blood pressure) as a cause of abnormal heart findings.

  • A complete blood count to diagnose anemia (low red blood cell count).

  • Blood tests that test organ function and blood electrolytes (blood particles capable of conducting an electric current), such as potassium, especially important in severe cases of heart failure, clot formation or complications in other body systems.

  • An echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) is the definitive diagnostic test required to establish proper diagnosis of HCM, after excluding other causes of heart enlargement. A veterinarian with skills in this area or specialist in cat heart disease is the best person to administer this test and draw conclusions from it. This is often a referral procedure.

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