Hypercard for Cats (10mg) is indicated for the therapeutic treatment of feline primary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Hypercard is a benzothiazepine derivative which acts as a calcium channel blocker and exerts its effect by selectively inhibiting the inward movement of calcium ions across the cell membrane into vascular smooth muscle cells and myocardial cells.
Hypercard contains the active ingredient Diltiazem and is available in the following strengths: 10mg Hypercard
A Veterinary Pet Prescription is required for Hypercard
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM is a type of heart disease, and is the most commonly diagnosed acquired heart problem in cats. The condition occurs when the muscles of the heart’s ventricles become much thicker than normal, affecting the left side of the heart particularly and impairing the normal function of the heart as a whole.
If you are concerned about your cat’s heart health, or your vet has given your cat a diagnosis of feline primary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, it is important to learn about the basics of the condition, why it occurs, and what can be done to treat and manage it.
Are certain types of cat predisposed to HCM?
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is thought to be hereditary, and a mutation that leads to the condition has been found within both the Ragdoll and the Maine Coon cat gene pools. Some other pedigree breeds including the Persian and several oriental breeds also seem to produce more than their fair share of affected cats, although the simple domestic moggy remains the most likely type of cat to be affected with the condition.
The condition is usually not diagnosed until the cat is mature or elderly, although it can sometimes be identified below the age of five in affected cats.
What are the symptoms of feline primary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?
HCM can be a difficult condition for the cat owner to identify, as the symptoms of the condition may be very mild in the earlier stages. Added to this, cats are very good at masking pain and discomfort, and until the condition becomes particularly pronounced, it may not be apparent that anything is amiss.
Some of the potential symptoms of the condition include:
- A slightly elevated rate of respiration.
- Loss of appetite.
- Respiratory distress.
- Paralysis of the legs when the condition is advanced.
How is HCM diagnosed?
If you have any concerns about your cat’s heart health, you will need to take them along to the vet for a thorough investigation. Your vet will use a stethoscope to listen to your cat’s heart, listening out for signs such as a heart murmur, fast heart rate and gallop rhythm that will all require further investigation.
It is then likely that your vet will need to perform an echocardiogram and potentially, radiograph to get a full picture of your cat’s heart health. This may be performed in your usual clinic, or your vet may wish to ask a specialist veterinary cardiologist to take a look.
Can feline primary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy be treated?
The damage and changes to the heart that occur with the thickening of the ventricles cannot be reversed or corrected, but in some cases if the thickening is caused as a side effect of another condition, such as hyperthyroidism, treating the underlying condition can in some cases partially resolve the thickening.
The hypertrophy itself affects the left ventricle’s ability to fully relax, which is necessary for normal functioning, and so your vet may prescribe medications such as Hypercard or Cardisure to help the left ventricle to relax normally. This can help to regulate and improve the function of the heart, easing discomfort and improving your cat’s quality of life.
Your vet will also likely instruct you on how to monitor your cat’s condition at home, and what changes or problems to look out for as part of the condition. Very laboured breathing or paralysis of the front or rear legs indicate a serious upswing in the problem, and will require urgent veterinary treatment to give your cat the best chance of survival.
What is the prognosis for cats with feline primary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?
The prognosis for any given cat will largely depend on factors such as the age of the cat, how old they are when they are diagnosed, how advanced the condition is, and how well they respond to treatment. In some cats, the normal function of the heart will only be lightly affected, and may continue for many years without worsening, while in others, the condition may be very acute, or progress very quickly.
Cats with HCM may feasibly be able to live a relatively normal life for many years after diagnosis, however, in a significant amount of cases, the condition ultimately proves fatal in just two years or less.
One serious potential complication of HCS is thromboembolism, a condition that occurs when a blood clot is formed that obstructs the normal circulation of the blood throughout the body. This can lead to sudden paralysis, particularly of the hind limbs, and often, cannot be corrected and proves fatal.
However, if a problem is promptly identified, medications may be able to thin the blood and break down the clot, averting a potential fatality. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify and treat a clot in time to save the cat, and cats that have successfully survived one clot are exponentially more likely to develop additional clots at some stage in the future.