Hypetrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of feline heart disease and affects as many as 1 in 7 cats. It can strike any breed of cat at any age. What makes feline heart disease so challenging is the fact that cats rarely show the typical warning signs such as shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, coughing or weakness until the disease is quite advanced.

In a new and exciting project, Dr. Luke Dutton, a PHD student working in association with the Animal Health Trust and the Royal Veterinary College, is creating a novel laboratory stem cell model of feline heart disease, which avoids the use of experimental animals, to study the disease and ultimately test the suitability of new drugs. This project is the first of its kind in the world.

There currently is no cure for HCM, and while it can be managed with medication aimed at reducing the severity of symptoms and helping the heart cope under failing conditions, once treatment fails to reduce symptoms, it can severely affect the cat’s quality of life to the degree where most cat parents elect euthanasia.

Researchers hope that this study will accelerate the discovery of better screening methods and the development of new drugs to treat HCM.

For more information and an interview with Dr. Dutton, please visit the Animal Health Trust website.

4 Comments on Feline Stem Cell Study Hopes to Help Cats With Heart Disease

  1. Heart disease is a major problem that gets to see in almost all pets, particularly cats and dogs. One of my cats passed away because of this terrible disease. This study is the first major step. Let’s pray for the best!
    Best wishes,
    Lucy M.

  2. I lost one of my cats to heart disease years ago. Back then there wasn’t much that could be done for them, so I am excited to learn more is being done to help them.

  3. I have a cat who was diagnosed with HCM about 14 years ago (she is 17 now) I had a diligent vet who strongly urged me to get her an echo cardiogram when he heard a very loud heart murmur at her yearly visit, no other symptoms at the time. It was costly to get the test, but after confirmation of the disease, she was immediately started on meds. These have been tweaked through the years as we did a few more echos. I have used holistic and natural foods, Gracie did not like the perscription kidney diets they recommended at the time. She also cannot eat anything with fish or fish oil due to it making her ill so I read alot of labels. In the past year she has also developed hyperthyroidism another problem often found in cats. I give her the meds in her food in small quantities throughout the day, thank goodness she loves to eat. I have been blessed with her for more then ten years then I thought I would. I believe early diagnoses is very important, being diligent about the meds (which my vet said some people don’t want to make that comittment) and also a lot of love which I was told years ago was one of the most important things. I don’t know how much longer she will be around, but I thank God for the time I have had. Just as a final note she is an active, stubborn, trouble maker so she has had a good quality of life.

    • You might be able to use transdermal methimazole for the hyperthyroidism. It’s a bit more expensive, but easier to give. Just goes on the inside of the ear.

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