Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy and Hyperthyroidism in the Cat

Liu S.K., Peterson M.E. and Fox P.R.

J Am Vet Med Assoc, 1984. 185(1): p.52-7.


In a 21/2-year period, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was found at necropsy of 23 cats that died (13 cats) or were euthanatized (10) because of problems associated with hyperthyroidism. Of these, 4 (17%) also had evidence of cardiac failure (pulmonary edema or pleural effusion). The mean body weight of the cats with hyperthyroidism and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was significantly less (P less than 0.001) than that of clinically normal cats and cats with primary cardiomyopathy (congestive or restrictive) or excessive moderator band cardiomyopathy. In addition, the ratio of heart weight to body weight was significantly greater (P less than 0.001) in the 23 hyperthyroid cats than in the normal cats and cats with primary cardiomyopathy. Twenty (87%) of the cats had symmetric hypertrophy of the ventricular septum and left ventricular free wall, whereas the remaining 3 cats had disproportionate thickening of the ventricular septum, compared with the free wall, similar to what is found in cats with asymmetric hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Histologic cardiac abnormalities included large, hyperchromatic nuclei, interstitial fibrosis, endocardial fibroplasia, fibrosis of the atrioventricular node, and marked disorganization of cardiac muscle cells. The study showed that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy develops in most hyperthyroid cats, some of which also develop congestive heart failure. Although the signs of heart disease in primary myocardial disease and thyrotoxic disease are similar, the characteristic signalment and clinical signs of hyperthyroidism should lead one to suspect the association of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with the hyperthyroidism.