Researchers Make Strides in Study of Cat Heart Disease

A team funded by the Winn Feline Foundation identifies a gene mutation that may be linked to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Ragdoll cats.

Researchers funded by the Winn Feline Foundation have identified a new mutation in a myosin binding protein C gene that is associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Ragdoll cats, the foundation reported. The research team, led by Kathryn M. Meurs of Washington State University and assisted by others at the University of California at Davis, has determined that the mutation changes a conserved amino acid and therefore appears to alter the protein’s structure produced by the gene.

In an earlier study, the same research team identified a mutation in the same gene in Maine Coon cats. The mutation found in this study was located in a different area of the affected gene, and was found in Ragdoll cats, a breed unrelated to the Maine Coon. These separate findings suggest that the mutations occurred independently and were not inherited from a common ancestor, the foundation reported.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease found in cats, and can affect non-pedigreed cats as well as some pedigreed breeds. These latest studies may lead to improved testing and pave the way toward creating new drug therapies, the foundation reported.

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