In June of 2005, we published an article titled, HCM Gene Identified In Maine Coons!
The article announced that Dr. Kittleson and Dr. Kate Meurs, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Cardiology) of Ohio State University, had identified the gene which caused hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in Maine Coons. At that time, Dr. Meurs anticipated being able to offer a test to breeders within the year... and it is now available!
DNA Test for the HCM Gene
Dr. Meurs is now offering testing sample kits to breeders. Kits can be requested by emailing her at:
The sample is taken using a buccal swab with a cytobrush - no veterinarian required. The initial cost is $60/individual cat but reduces to $51 for 4 or more samples sent at the same time. The test is definitive in even small kittens.
Dr. Meurs has prepared a submission form which she will email to you to be printed out, filled in, and included with the completed sample for testing. The form contains excellent instructions, including pictures of sample collection technique, mailing info, and cat ID information.
A negative test will not rule out all causes of HCM. HCM secondary to Hyperthyroidism for instance, could still occur. But Dr. Kittleson and Dr. Meurs that this test will be very definitive for the hereditary form of HCM we see in Maine Coons. The test is definitive in even small kittens.
Good News For All Breeds
While the test is currently relative only to Maine Coons, because the breed has similar "house cat" ancestry as the Persian/Exotic, Ragdoll, American Shorthair and British SH, it is hoped that further research and testing may reveal the HCM gene and produce a viable DNA test in breeds besides the Maine Coon.