HCM. Why do you test?

I wonder about one thing. Do all breeders know what HCM is? Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common form of heart disease in the cat. In many breeds it is an inherited disease. However, it should be noted that in human beings with the same disease, there are many different genetic mutations (2-300. Same number in cats)which can cause this disease. It is likely the same in the cat but additional mutations have not yet been defined.

Very importantly, the absence of the mutation in a cat, DOES NOT mean that it will never develop the disease. It means that it does not have the only known mutation that can cause the disease in the cat at this time. In the future, additional mutations may be identified that may be tested for as well.

The most common types of heart disease found in cats are dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). DCM is associated with taurine deficiency in cats, while the cause of HCM in cats is genetic or has an unknown etiology. The presentations of these two diseases are easily distinguished by ultrasonic and ECG examinations. Both diseases are progressive but only DCM can be corrected by dietary supplementation. Heart murmurs are also common in cats, but of different severities. Although a murmur is indicative of a heart abnormality, they do not indicate the exact type of the heart problem. Most congenital murmurs resolve by the age of X weeks and are generally no more severe than a Grade Y murmur. (Murmurs rank from Grade to Grade 3 being the most severe). Thus, persistent and severe murmurs generally do indicate a heart abnormality.

Researchers have studied both DCM and HCM in cats for many years. HCM has been proven to be inherited as an autosomal dominant, single gene in Maine Coon cats. But, this DOES NOT mean that all murmurs indicate HCM in cats and DOES NOT indicate that HCM found in other breeds is the same genes as found in Maine Coons. The genes could be different in different breeds. Since the genes could be different, there may be more than one gene in a particular breed that causes HCM, and the inheritance pattern may be different. If a gene is found for one breed, it would have to be tested in the other breeds that have heart abnormalities.

I wonder why breeders test their cats. Is It because of the test itself or becauseother test their cats? Or maybe to avoid rumuous? The Siberian community are full of people that spread rumours about other breeders. I think many breeders test their cats because of this.They test because they wan`t to publish their HCM results on their websites. This is away to stop rumuors. We loose the focus of the problem. To stop HCM to develop in our lines. The focus is to save the cattery from people that speaks nasty things about them.

We test our cats but we don`t publish the results on our website. The results are not for everybody to read. Only for us because we don`tuse sick cats in our breedingprogram. People that doesnot trust us can go to other breeders and buy a Siberian. Trust is important for the kittenbuyerand for the breeder. When someone buys a cata breeder need to be there for 12-15-20 years If thenew owner needs advice.People need to trust us foras long as the cat is alive. If we start with no trust we can not work together for the benefit of the Siberian cat.An other thing is if the trust is broken. That is why we plan our breeding programs and puts all our effort in breeding good Siberians. There are breederswho says that Cirkumpolare does not test their cats. That is not true. The results are not for everyone to see. I don`t publish my bloodtests on my website. That is private and between me and my docktor.Breeders are affraid of each other. Breeders don`t trust other breeders because everyone knows how It feels when someone goes behind their back.

We refuse to go in that direction. We do what WE feel is the best for our cattery. We wan`t people for our catswho trust us. People who have seen what we have done for the Siberian Cat. People who see what results we have, breeding Siberiansfor this years.

It will be exiting tosee in about 5-10 years who is still around breeding Siberians. I belive in hard work, not short cuts.If we do bad combinations we will have to pay for that for many years in order to getIt out from our lines. It is not easy to breed quality Siberians when almot all lines in the world are unstable.

If you breed Siberians or other cats, don`t belive in gossip.It takes years to learn to breed cats and even then we learn new things all the time. See whatkind of results the breeder have. Look at the cats and type. Look at litters. Study the lines and see what the lines give. Visit the breeder and see how the cats live.

To test the cats are important. Don`t missunderstand me. I just askwhy you test.


Healthy cats are wonderful and playful cats.



6 kommentarer

Judith Johnson

18-Sep-2008 kl.16:14

I test for HCM because I won't use any cat that tests positive for HCM into my breeding program. I test annually, and if a cat would test positive, I would have no problem actually posting that on my website. I think being open and honest about it gets you much further then trying to hide it. It's a problem we all have to deal with. Getting it out in the open would be much more helpful. Just my 2 cents:)


18-Sep-2008 kl.17:36

Thanks for your comment Judith. I also test my cats but I have seen other reasons for testing as well. People are affraid Judith and I don`t like It. There are so many nice people in the Siberian Community and only a few that ruin this nice hobby we have. We should test for the right reasons.


23-Sep-2008 kl.09:00

I test because nobody can say that these lines does NOT have HCM,
I test because I want all the best for my cats, and if one is positive we can give this cat what it needs.
I test because I only want to use helty cats in my breeningprogram and I write it on my homepage because I think it is for the better of the breed that we are open about it.

If eeryone is going to keep these test for them selves, as you are, it only hurt the breed. I think mostly breedes can see this, and therefore they are open about the tests.
NOT because they are afraid. I have never heard about a breeder that are afraid of roumers and therefore they has to be open about theire HCM-tests. No, I dont think so..

I always give my kittenbuyers a copy of the parents tests. THIS is the right way to do it, I think.
I could never refuse to give a buyer a copy and say that the buyer must trust my word??!!


23-Sep-2008 kl.09:37

When we test, the result only say that the cat has no HCM to day. This is why we do not publish the testresult. The result will then be on the webside until the next test, for a year or more.
We think this is false info because no one can be safe untill we have a genetic test for all mutations that give HCM.

Judith Johnson

24-Sep-2008 kl.13:24

I put on my website the date that the cat tested free of HCM and I also have on there I test for HCM annually. I think being open is not so much about the cats that test negative but the cats that actually test positive. I know there are cats that positively have been diagnosed with HCM and are still used in breeding. The breeders are denying it rather then being open and honest about it. It all depends on how ethical you are, and whether your goal is to actually improve the breed or just make money. I encourage people to donate to siberian research, I think we all have our fingers crossed for that genetic test we're all waiting for. I am still planning on making a page on my website dedicated to HCM, but I haven't gathered all the information and facts I want on there yet. Working on it!


28-Sep-2008 kl.22:45

Yes, that is true. Many people do that.
But, I still think it is a good thing to be open about it, and it can be solved if we all can be a little bit better to write on our homepage that this testresult only means that the cat was free from HCM that date the test was taken..

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