This is the first I have ever heard about a cat being sedated for an ultrasound of the heart. I have had this done for over 6 years, with many cats, and sedation has never ever been mentioned.
I do agree, I wouldn't put my cats though a yearly sedation, that would be a risk I wouldn't take.
I should also mention that in the TICA SC region, we have a tech that scans all of the different cat breeds at the show, and then sends the scans off to be read by a board certified cardiologist. Again, the sedation is not something I would have ever thought would happen. We lay the cat on the table, and the scanner is placed over the top of the heart, and a hole is under the table, to place the scanner below, so he gets different views of the heart.
Is there other vets that you trust, that doesn't use sedation? Even the vet I called about years ago, for a price, which was $300 at the time, also didn't use a sedation. That is about as strange as a vet who wanted to put a cat under for a simple microchipping.
I thought Mimosa made a great point, having regular scanning allows for continuous measuring of the heart, to account for any changes. I also agree, about necropsy of a breeding cat, as well as the offspring. I have a 4 year genetic guarantee in my contracts, if a kitten/cat did pass, we do ask for a necropsy to be done. We do understand that it would be hard on a family of that loved pet, but it is so important for the breeder to know.
I also want to say regarding the DNA testing, for certain diseases, doesn't mean I can say I have an HCM free cattery, that would be false. I can only say my cats are found normal/negative for the current found mutations in MY breed. If your breed has a breed specific DNA test, then one should use it, I am not saying everyone should go and have their cats HCM DNA tested, as these found mutations are only applicable for the Ragdoll and Maine Coon breed. There is also a PKD test, but that isn't applicable to my Ragdolls, unless there is Persian/Himi in the background. There is place in TX, called www.catgenes.org
that has many DNA tests for one price, however, not all tests will be accurate for all breeds. I used PKD as an example, even though my tests were negative, doesn't mean anything, except my cats do not carry that PKD marker, because I have no Persians in my line. As I said in a previous post there are over 200 found mutations of HCM in humans, so it would be assumed there are mutations that have not beed discovered in cats. That is why having my cats still scanned is so important. I still can't say I have an HCM free cattery, as I could always have a cat with an undiscovered mutation, but I can say I have done everything I can to ensure the health of my cats/kittens.
Right now, the places I know to get my cats blood typed, are saying now that the blood tests are not accurate for my breed. I don't know of a lab I can use that would be accurate, so I assume more research will be done, so that we can know for future breedings, what blood type we are working with.