"Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a challenging and complex heart condition. Veterinary cardiologists struggle to treat cats with the disease because signs vary significantly from cat to cat and breed to breed. HCM causes thickening of the walls of the left ventricle and the papillary muscles that anchor the heart’s mitral valve. As the muscles thicken and the heart’s chamber volume decreases, the heart pumps a reduced volume of blood. Affected cats are at risk for development of heart failure or blood clots that can result in cardiac distress or sudden death. Some cats throw a blood clot to their back legs causing acute paralysis and pain. Cats with severe disease usually go into heart failure and have problems breathing due to the accumulation of fluid in or around their lungs. For some cats, the first and only sign is sudden death.
HCM affects a wide range of ages, making it frustrating for breeders to determine which cats are safe to breed. Cats are usually middle-aged when clinical signs are first detected, but HCM has been found in cats as young as 6 months and as old as 13 years. The best clinical test for HCM... is an echo cardiogram, or ultrasound screening of the heart. Echocardiography is a good way to detect moderate to severe HCM, but it doesn't always detect the minimal heart changes in mild forms of the disease.
Annual screenings are recommended for all breeding cats, but this can be challenging..." (Winn Feline Foundation)
Annual screenings of cats will help detect those more minor, gradual changes to the heart before any clinical signs are presented. We screen all our breeding cats and include some of our more recent retirees who still have offspring in breeding.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Polycycstic Kidney Disease or PKD is the feline form of a disease that also affects humans. It is an autosomal dominant illness ,meaning it only takes 1 copy of the gene for a cat to have the disease. PKD causes the development of fluid filled sacs in the kidneys. Quite often clinic signs do not present until the cat is older - often 5-7 years old.
PKD-1 is a mutation of the disease most commonly associated with Persian and Persian related breeds but found in some other breeds as well. PKD-1 can be tested for by using a simple DNA test. However, it is not the only form of PKD.
PKD-1 has affected some Siberians although it is clustered around a handful of lines. There have been some isolated cases of PKD-2.
Ultrasound can be used to detect very early stage PKD of any form and can be used with 96% accuracy as young as 10 months.Because PKD is a dominant illness, if the parents of an offspring have both tested negative by ultrasound (or by DNA for PKD-1 only) all offspring are negative by default.
Our breeding cats have been screened negative for PKD-1 by DNA and Samarga's parents were both screened negative by ultrasound and she is therefore negative for all strains of PKD. We will begin testing via ultrasound in 2013.
This is an inherited form of hemolytic anemia. While it is found predominantly in Abyssinian and Aby related breeds such as Somalis, Bengals, etc. It is also found in Domestic Shorthair and Domestic Longhairs as well as many other pedigreed cats including the Maine Coon, Wegie, and Siberian. This is a recessive disease and 2 copies of the mutation are required to produce a clinically positive offspring. So, a cat can be a carrier and not develop the disease themself but can carry it forward almost indefinitely until bred to another carrier.
This can be tested for by a simple DNA test.
All of our current breeding cats have tested negative for PK Def.