We are interested in examining HCM in Norwegian Forest Cats.

Pedigree analysis

We are collecting pedigrees of affected and unaffected cats to analyse the pattern of HCM inheritance in Norwegian Forest Cats. Based on reports in Persians, American Shorthairs, Maine Coons, British Shorthairs and moggies, it is suspected that HCM is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. This analysis will help us identify families of cats where a heart scan (echocardiogram) will provide particularly valuable information.

Echocardiographic phenotyping

We are inviting Norwegian Forest Cat owners to participate in HCM screening. By screening as many cats as possible we aim to identify the typical appearance of the heart in both normal and affected Norwegian Forest Cats. The information gained from this screening will potentially be invaluable to breeders looking to minimise the likelihood of HCM appearing in their lines. 

Biomarker Screening

Preliminary studies suggest that even for trained cardiologists, HCM in Norwegian Forest cats may be particularly difficult to identify with a heart ultrasound (echocardiography) test in the early stages. New blood tests (biomarkers) are showing promise as a means of identifying early heart disease in cats, and could be particularly useful in Norwegian forest cats.  We will compare the results echocardiography with the newer blood tests (‘NT-proBNP’ and ‘hsTnI’) as a means of identifying cats with HCM.

Genetic analysis

There are over 450 different mutations associated with HCM in humans, and so far mutations have been identified in the Maine Coon and Ragdoll. It is suspected that there may be a genetic basis for HCM in Norwegian Forest Cats. Using residual blood collected for other reasons, the genetic basis of HCM in Norwegian Forest Cats will be investigated.

All information gathered for this project will be dealt with in strict confidence, and will only be accessible by project investigators. If any data is published, all details will be anonymous.

If you are interested in participating in this study or would like more information, please contact NFC@rvc.ac.uk.

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