Ricky and Heart Disease in Cats


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Steve and Ricky

One cat – he was my cat, named Ricky, is responsible for so much of what we know about one of the most common causes of death in cats. A heart disease, called feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is not uncommon and there’s no cure or effective treatment.  I recall here on the national Steve Dale’s Pet World  radio show how Ricky became an international celebrity, well before the online cat influencers. I explain how after Ricky’s death 20 years ago, I launched the Ricky Fund with the Winn Feline Foundation, now the EveryCat Health Foundation.  We’ve raised over $30,000 – so far.

And the $1,000 I receive from the American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA Steve Dale Excellence in Media Award is being donated to the EveryCat Health Foundation Ricky Fund.

As a result of funding from the Ricky Fund, a simple genetic test now exists to determine the presence of an HCM-related gene defect in Ragdoll and Maine Coon cats (with more breeds likely to come. A study that showed cats would tolerate wearing a Holter monitoring device allowed veterinarians to have a 3-day continuous ECG on HCM cats, which improves disease management. Medications have been studied to help manage or alleviate clinical signs, like high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure and to help prevent the formation of blood clots. And arguably, most promising is Dr. David Connolly in the UK who may be the closest to breaking through and finding an effective treatment. If you want to learn more, you most certainly can watching this webinar (from 2021).

It’s this same non profit called EveryCat Health Foundation that after many decades of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) being considered fatal has supported funding that has discovered a treatment that is curable. It’s this same organization that discovered the cure to another heart disease, feline dilated cardiomyopathy, which was common decades ago and today hardly exists (and when it does occur is typically avoidable). Do consider helping EveryCat Health Foundation have the funds to support studies to cross the finish line to finally find an effective treatment for HCM. Contribute Here to the Ricky Fund.

Just for fun, here are two commentaries from radio legend Paul Harvey’s about Ricky.