In general the Siberian breed is healthy compared to other breeds. This is because the breed is naturally occuring, they were not created by man. The unforgiving cold and geographic isolation allowed only the most fit to survive. It was not until recently that breeders became involved. Like all breeds there are some health problems associated with Siberians. In our cattery, our number one goal is to keep the Siberian breed healthy. All of our breeding cats are tested before breeding, and every year after.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is the most common diagnosed heart disease in cats. HCM is characterized by thickening of the walls of the ventricle, which is what pumps the heart. It affects cats of various ages some as young as 4 months. The cause of HCM is not known, but it is prevalent in certain breeds of cats. It is believed to be genetic, and all affected cats should be pulled from breeding programs. As the muscles thicken and the heart’s chamber volume decreases, the heart pumps a reduced volume of blood. The affected cat is at risk for heart failure or blood clots which can result in cardiac distress or death. Some affected cats will develop a blood clot to their back legs causing pain and paralysis. Cats with severe HCM can go into heart failure, and have difficulty breathing due to fluid accumulation in or around the lungs. Sadly for many cats with HCM, the first and only symptom is sudden death. Because HCM can manifest at any age, we have our breeding cats scanned every year. Unfortunatly with HCM, a breeder can scan their cats every year and when they retire the cat the disease can manifest. That is why it is important to us that you make us aware of any possible genetic problem you could have with your cat/kitten.
Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Def)
Pk Def is an inherited hemolytic anemia, which causes instability and loss of red blood cells. The anemia is intermittent and the age of onset & clinical signs of the disorder are variable. Symptoms can include: severe lethargy, weakness, weight loss, jaundice, and abdominal enlargement. This condition is inherited as an autosomal recessive. The disease can be detected by dna test. All of our breeding cats are screened for PK Def prior to breeding. Cats can carry the gene but not be affected. We do not breed carriers or affected cats of PK Def.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
PKD is a inherited disorder of the kidneys, in which small fluid filled sacs develop. These cysts multiply and grow to take over the kidney tissue. Eventually the kidney can go into failure from this disease. Sometimes the cysts can become large enough to be seen or felt during an exam. Affected cats have these cysts from birth, and can be diagnosed in kittens as young as 6 months.Clinical signs of the condition include: increased drinking and urination; diminished appetite and weight loss; nausea and vomiting; and lethargy. Their is no cure for the disease, it is at best managed by diet,fluid therapy and medications prescribed by a veterinarian. PKD1 can be detected through dna tests, but it only tests for that form of PKD. All other forms must be ruled out through ultra sound. We have our breeding cats tested through dna & ultrasound to prevent us from breeding affected cats.