Cardiomyopathy prevalence in 780 apparently healthy cats in rehoming centres (the CatScan study)

J Vet Cardiol. 2015 Dec:17 Suppl 1:S244-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2015.03.008.


Objectives: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) appears to be common in cats and, based on pilot data, a prevalence of 15% has been hypothesized. The objectives were to screen a large population of apparently healthy adult cats for cardiac disease, and identify factors associated with a diagnosis of HCM.

Animals: A total of 1007 apparently healthy cats ≥ 6 months of age.

Methods: In this prospective, cross-sectional study, the inclusion criteria were: apparently healthy cats, aged ≥ 6 months, available for rehoming over a 17-month period from two rehoming centres. Hypertensive or hyperthyroid cats were excluded. Body weight, body condition score, auscultation, systolic blood pressure and two-dimensional (2-D) echocardiography were evaluated. Cats with left ventricular end-diastolic wall thickness ≥ 6 mm on 2-D echocardiography were considered to have HCM.

Results: Complete data were obtained in 780 cats. Heart murmur prevalence was 40.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) 37.3-44.3%), 70.4% of which were considered functional. The prevalence of HCM was 14.7% (95% CI 12.3-17.4%), congenital disease 0.5% (95% CI 0.1-1.3%), and other cardiomyopathies 0.1% (95% CI 0.0-0.7%). The HCM prevalence increased with age. The positive predictive value of a heart murmur for indicating HCM was 17.9-42.6% (higher in old cats), and the negative predictive value was 90.2-100% (higher in young cats). The factors associated with a diagnosis of HCM in binary logistic regression models were male sex, increased age, increased body condition score and a heart murmur (particularly grade III/VI or louder).

Conclusions: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is common in apparently healthy cats, in contrast with other cardiomyopathies. Heart murmurs are also common, and are often functional.

Keywords: Echocardiography; Feline; HCM; Screening; Shelter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / epidemiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / veterinary*
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cats
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Echocardiography / veterinary
  • Female
  • Housing, Animal
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology