Familial cardiomyopathy in Norwegian Forest cats

J Feline Med Surg. 2015 Aug;17(8):681-91. doi: 10.1177/1098612X14553686. Epub 2014 Oct 30.


Norwegian Forest cats (NFCs) are often listed as a breed predisposed to cardiomyopathy, but the characteristics of cardiomyopathy in this breed have not been described. The aim of this preliminary study was to report the features of NFC cardiomyopathy based on prospective echocardiographic screening of affected family groups; necropsy findings; and open-source breed screening databases. Prospective examination of 53 NFCs revealed no murmur or left ventricular (LV) outflow tract obstruction in any screened cat, though mild LV hypertrophy (defined as diastolic LV wall thickness ≥5.5mm) was present in 13/53 cats (25%). Gross pathology results and histopathological sections were analysed in eight NFCs, six of which had died of a cardiac cause. Myocyte hypertrophy, myofibre disarray and interstitial fibrosis typical of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy were present in 7/8 cats, but endomyocardial fibrosis suggestive of restrictive cardiomyopathy was also present in the same cats. Pedigree data analysis from 871 NFCs was supportive of a familial cardiomyopathy in this breed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathies / epidemiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / veterinary*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / veterinary
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cats
  • Echocardiography / veterinary
  • Heart Murmurs / veterinary
  • Pedigree*
  • Prospective Studies