Saturday, March 1, 2008

HCM in Bengal Cats , hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

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My two cents worth...From the research based on HCM in Maine Coone cats, the view of the forest rather than the trees, is that there is a correlation between inbreeding & HCM...Thus, two HCM clear tested cats if related too closely could still bring forth an HCM positive kitten...As a preventative measure, the prevention of severe inbreeding will help all breeds...This seems basic, but I guess I thought it should be reiterated...The immediate spaying or neutering of an HCM positive cat could be potentially fatal, if the animal suffers a heart attack due to the general anaesthetic...Finding alternatives to surgery is a way of keeping these precious animals alive...Even the trauma of repeated testing & microchipping could further harm the health of cats with already weak hearts...most people who know animals can tell the difference between a fatigued vulnerable weak kitten & a healthy robust one...Not to discredit science, but I think some good old fashioned observation goes a long way when making decisions...allowing kittens to mature before making any decisions at all will allow everyone to know their health quotient...further, heart conditions can correct, tests can be wrong, & outcrossing far enough can yield healthy kittens from sick parents...a long time ago people bred their cats once at the age of six years old, then spayed them...this is a far cry from breeding at one year old...the availability of herbal progesterones & reversible birth control for pets is becoming a reality in Australia...I assume this will seep into the international veterinary community soon...and change our views about testing, surgery, microchipping & breeding...I have seen a rare Saint Bernard die of a heart attack at a veterinary clinic while undergoing testing to see if it had a heart problem...the circumstances are more complex than I write , but the point is that testing in & of itself is traumatic for cats, & a certain humanitarian balance must be achieved...When the kitten gets its rabies shot, did it bounce back quickly? or was it down for a week or more? possibly a symptom...what I am saying is there are external symptoms we can identify without relying on outside tests...maybe make a list of those first...if the kitten is in question, well then, not a breeder perhaps...If you absolutely have a fabulous cat & want to breed it for sure, & you really need the tests confirmation, then ok...but this should be the exception not the rule...shall all humans get echocardiograms as per a government ruling? & they cannot have children if they test positive? this reeks of Big Brother...just my two cents worth...(by the way, this is all just opinion, not to be taken as fact or expect me to defend in the least, as I am a lousy typist...)

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

i appreciate your interest in bengal hcm. i hope other people start paying attention to this disease too. it kills cats. but your description about inbreeding isn't right. inbreeding spreads diseases that are recessive. hcm is a dominant gene. if one parent has the hcm gene, it'll give the gene to 50% of its offspring. it doesn't matter how closely related or far apart the two parents are. it only takes one cat with the hcm gene to make kittens that have the disease too.

grovecanada said...

I was a member of a breeding society in England who had established a correlation between inbreeding in Maine Coone cats & HCM...though what you say is interesting & convincing, I had read about the inbreeding correlation more than two years ago & at the time read posts from other breeders over there, who also had very persuasive arguments...I think it is facile to call genes recessive or dominant & dismiss the theory of inbreeding being a factor, when we know already that Maine Coones were very inbred & that they tended to be afflicted with HCM...If we can attempt to prevent this disease, rather than write it off as genetic , which is often a word for accidental, then we can actually get breeders to take responsibility for marrying cats that are too closely related for too many generations...I am also aware of one breeder in TIBBA who is a strong advocate of linebreeding, which can often be misinterpreted by beginners as the right to not outsource...In Canada , because of border issues, inbreeding is often a closetted secret...this is why I am concerned about it...also, people tend to be lazy about housing new F or earlier wild cats, & end up with very very similar lines...I appreciate your explanation & welcome any addition to the thought process, but I had formed my opinion two years ago, & I find the British are entirely more obsessed about their cats than we are here in North America...so I am still inclined to buy their arguments...but thanks for writing...

grovecanada said...

"Taurine-related cardiomyopathy can be cured with the addition of the nutrient to the diet..." just to add this excerpt from British wikipedia...

Anonymous said...

I would dearly love to see any references to your statement about inbreeding and HCM - I also agree with other professionals that it is a dominant gene, proven dominant in Maine Coons, and has nothing to do with linebreeding, unless one of the parents is positive for HCM.
Annual Echocardiograms are essential to diagnose this disease - Most of the time there are no symptoms, not even a murmur and a cat is happy, apparently healthy, running around one day and dead the next. And since it is a dominant gene, breeding cats with this disease only cause heartache and loss for their owners. It is beyond unethical to breed without testing the breeding cats for this disease since it is known to be in the breed.
On another point, Taurine has nothing to do with HCM, but everything to do with DCM which is an entirely different matter.

Anonymous said...

Taurine related Cardiomyopathy is DCM...Dilated Cardiomyopathy, NOT HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy). Two different types of Cardiomyopathy, and not related at all. Taurine related DCM is an uncommon occurence these days with the addition of taurine to commercial diets.

For accurate information regarding HCM, please refer to such sites as http://www.cfa.org/articles/health/cardiomyopathy.html
and the Winn Foundation winnfelinehealth.org

Also, while surgery on a cat with HCM or other chronic health condition can be tricky, a knowledgeable vet can safely perform a spay. Unspayed female cats are very prone to pyometra which can kill the cat. If you have a cat with HCM, you need to use a vet who has the experience, knowledge, and equipment to utilize the safest anesthesia and monitoring during surgery. It is far safer to spay a HCM cat who does not have pyometra, than to perform emergency spay on a HCM cat who is septic with pyometra.

grovecanada said...

I posted the research on this blog a while ago (just go up the page)...It was too important to put here...you have to click on the chart to see it properly...I have already seen the information you have added..& read the articles...a long time ago...my opinion is actually based on a lot of reading & thought...though you might not know that from your misquote...