Let’s talk about Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy also known as enlarged hearts in cats.
But with the event of well balanced commercial diets for cats – this condition is not nearly as common as it once was.
HCM can be a heredietary defect in some family of cats and no matter what you feed these animals they will develop the problem. It can affect young cats as well as old cats.
Certainly, the diet-related problems always effect older cats but the congenital form can affect cats as young as six months or as old as sixteen years.
It is caused by the heart muscles developing defective muscle fibres. These muscle fibres cannot function properly and this, in turn, means the heart must then develop more muscle fibres to do the job. So on and so on…
The result of this process is that the heart becomes very enlarged with this muscle mass and therefore the chambers inside the heart become smaller to allow for the enlarged mass (circular objects swell inwards not outwards).
Also, the arteries to the heart muscle that runs on the outside of the heart become narrow from the pressure of the swollen muscle mass. This, in turn, decreases the number of nutrients and oxygen to the muscle of the heart. This, in turn, decreases the ability of the heart to function normally
With the decreased chambers of the heart, the ability of the heart to fill with normal blood volume decreases and there is less blood being pumped to the body. It also means that there is an accumulation of blood behind the heart – especially in the lungs.
This then causes congestion of the lung tissue. The next stage of the congestion of the lungs with blood is that serum is forced out of the blood supply and into the surrounding tissue, which again compromises the ability of the cat to get oxygen to the body.
With the stagnation of the blood flow through the heart – blood clots often form and they can block major arteries, especially the arteries to the hind legs. But other arteries can be affected anywhere in the body.
These cats need very special veterinary attention to survive any length of time. Another good reason why you should some canned or dried food in your cats’ diet at least 2-3 timers per week.