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Selective Breeding Only Solution to Feline Genetic Disease

| October 16, 2010
Selective Breeding Only Solution to Feline Genetic Disease

Selective Breeding Only Solution to Feline Genetic Disease

“Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited disease that affects cats, particularly Persian and Persian crossbreeds,” says Dr. Sonia Crochik, a veterinary radiologist at the University of  Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana. Dr. Crochik is involved in a clinic where they will screen cats for the disease. “We hope to screen 100 Persian cats to see what percentage of the cats have polycystic kidney disease and therefore help control and eliminate it. Presently, there is no way to stop the progression of this disease if the cat has the associated gene.” Although studies have established the genetic component, the mechanism that develops the cysts is still unknown. Basically, the cysts enlarge, compress the kidney causing the kidney to have irreversible renal failure.

“Clinical signs related to renal failure include anorexia, lethargy, and dehydration,” says Dr. Crochik. “However, these signs may not appear in early years of life.” Polycystic kidney disease is most likely to affect middle-age to older cats. An ultrasound examination of your cat will show whether your cat is developing the cysts characteristic of the disease.

There is no way to prevent cysts from forming if your cat has the gene for polycystic kidney disease. If your cat does develop the disease, it is your responsibility to prevent the continuation of the disease by having your cat spayed or neutered.

There are two types of genes, dominant and recessive. All living creatures have two gene factors-one from each parent-for any given trait. Therefore, in the case of polycystic kidney disease, cats could have two dominant genes, one dominant and one recessive gene, or two recessive genes. Only cats with two recessive genes will not have the disease.

If your cat has two dominant genes, all its kittens will be affected, even if you breed it to a recessive cat, because your cat will donate a dominant gene to the kittens. However, if your cat has one dominant and one recessive gene and you breed it to a recessive cat, each kitten will have a 50 percent chance of having the disease; the kittens that inherit the disease will be heterozygous-having one dominant and one recessive gene.

Controlling the reproduction of your cat is the key to eliminating this disease. Veterinarians hope that breeders act conscientiously and consult with their veterinarian before breeding their Persian cat. A combined effort of veterinarians and owners will aid people like Dr. Crochik who want to see this gene and this disease eliminated from the Persian cat population.

For more information about polycystic kidney disease, contact your local veterinarian.

Copyright & Credit:
Source: Sarah Probst
, University of Illinois – College of Veterinary Medicine
Photo copyright and courtesy:
Cristian Popescu
– stock.xchng

Category: Feline Health, Feline Health and Care, Feline Resources

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