Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
Health Matters in Your Kitty!
Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited cause of kidney failure in cats. It is common in the Persians (40%-60% are affected) and breeds that have used Persians in breeding programs such as: Exotics, Himalayans, American Shorthairs and Scottish Folds.
This is a kidney affected with polycystic kidney disease. How can it function this way? IT CAN’T!!
Polycystic disease is a disease that shows up later in life (late onset) with enlarged kidneys and kidney dysfunction occurring between 3 and 10 years of age (on average at 7 years of age). Problems occur when these cysts start to grow and progressively enlarge the kidney, reducing the kidney’s ability to function properly. The ultimate end is kidney failure. How will you know if a kitten you buy will develop polycystic kidney disease??
PKD is not contagious. It’s a known genetic disease with autosomal dominant inheritance. Veterinarian researchers are busy on the feline genome project. In 2005, a DNA test for PKD in Scottish Folds was created! Following in 2006, they developed the same test for British shorthairs!
This is a healthy kidney.
100% of my cats have been DNA tested for Polycystic kidney disease and are guaranteed to be free from risk of developing this devastating condition. This is an expensive endeavor and many breeders just don’t care enough to test their own cats!! Many breeders will tell you they have “never had a problem with PKD”. What this means is that they stop breeding or place their cats by the age of 5, so they have never seen one of their cats with PKD (since it shows up on average at the age of 7). The only way to know for sure is to test via DNA!! Be an educated consumer!
Osteochondrodysplasia is a disease that is unique to Scottish Folds. It was discovered that if a folded ear Scottish fold was bred to another folded ear, many of the offspring developed a severe crippling lameness early in life. Cats affected had shortened, malformed legs and tail as well as abnormalities affecting the growth plates and spine. As a result, the breed is outlawed by the Cat Fancy in the UK, the GCCF, and has strict breeding rules and regulations with another European Cat Fancy, FIFe.
The breed was continued in the North America, however, and breeders determined that offspring of cats with folded ears to cats with normal ears did not have arthritis at an early age, and that half of the kittens (on average) had folded ears. Thus, if the cat has only one copy of the folded ear gene (heterozygous) they did not show the arthritis that the cats with two copies of the gene (homozygous) did.
Many reputable North America Scottish fold breeders believe that with very careful breeding practices the heterozygous Scottish fold can be free from osteochondrodysplasia.
In the meantime, PLEASE BE AWARE that Scottish folds should be bred ONLY folded ear to straight ear and are not to be bred by people who are not dedicated to the health and well-being of these animals. Make sure that if you are purchasing a kitten that it’s tail is long and flexible. Watch it run and play. And, most importantly, make sure that you buy it from a reputable breeder.
100% of my cats have been DNA tested for Polycystic kidney disease and are guaranteed to be free from risk of developing this devastating condition. Also my cats took the DNA test for folded ears gene and have only one copy of the folded ear gene (heterozygous). This is an expensive endeavor and many breeders just don’t care enough to test their own cats!! The only way to know for sure is to test via DNA!! Be an educated consumer!