Purebred cats, such as Persians, may show a greater predisposition to suffer from a series of hereditary pathologies. This does not mean that all cats of this breed suffer from them, but it does mean that they are more likely to suffer from them than other breeds.
If you are thinking of adopting a Persian cat, it is recommended that you first know what the diseases they usually suffer from may be.
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Respiratory problems in Persian kittens
One of the most outstanding characteristics of the Persian cat is the shape of its face, specifically the arrangement of the nose and eyes, which gives it its typical flattened profile. This type of nose favors the appearance of respiratory difficulties .
And it is that the breeds that we know today are due to a selection process made by human beings and that has been based on highlighting the physical or psychological characteristics that they found interesting, which has led to problems for the cat .
Persians are more prone to chronic rhinitis , precisely because of their nasal anatomy. Some of these cats have such small nostrils that when they breathe in, the holes are plugged. Also keep in mind that obesity exacerbates these problems.
Polycystic kidney disease
Also known by its acronym in English PKD, this hereditary disease consists, as its name indicates, in the formation of cysts that contain fluid in the kidneys , which will grow until they block normal kidney tissue, preventing its function and causing death. These cysts can also appear in the liver.
Performing annual ultrasounds will help to discover the disease early. Without this control, cats can die suddenly from kidney failure. Some kittens are born with the cysts, while in others they develop with age. In those affected, it is recommended to repeat 1-2 ultrasounds a year.
The symptoms that they can produce are those of kidney disease : weight loss, anorexia, apathy, increased urination and water intake, poorly maintained coat, vomiting, bad breath, anemia, etc. There is no cure but the symptoms can be controlled.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Persian cats
This heart disorder, the most common in Persians, consists of a thickening of the heart into the chamber, which reduces the amount of blood it can pump. It is a hereditary disease that affects almost exclusively males of any age, but it must also be ruled out that it is caused by hypertension or hyperthyroidism .
If the cat is also overweight, heart problems will worsen. Periodic ultrasound scans are recommended, since cats suffering from this ailment tend to live asymptomatic. In others, alterations in heart rhythm can be detected during auscultation. Some will be listless, listless, lose weight, or vomit.
When the heart fails, the supply of oxygen is compromised. Consequently, the cat will breathe agitated, trying to get more air, which is why it will also stay with its mouth. This is a veterinary emergency. Sometimes the failure ends in sudden death.
Common eye problems
It is easy for us to discover in Persian cats a dark spot running through the tear groove . Its particular facial anatomy causes difficulties in the drainage of the eye and obstructions, due to malformations of the tear ducts.
Tears spill out of the eye and this excessive secretion, which oxidizes on contact with air, looking like a stain, is known as an epiphora . Permanent humidity in the area can mean the appearance of bacterial or fungal diseases.
Another disorder that can occur is entropion , when the eyelid is directed towards the inside of the eye and permanent contact with the eyelashes causes irritation, forming ulcers. Produces intense tearing and squinted eyes. It is operable.
Persians have large, round eyes which, together with their flattened nose, makes them prone to drying out and suffering from common eye diseases in cats that can lead to injuries such as corneal ulcers.
This congenital disorder consists of a defective union between the femur and the hip, which will eventually cause other conditions such as osteoarthritis . It can go completely unnoticed and be detected by chance when the cat is X-rayed for another reason.
Other cats will be reluctant to climb to heights or will be less active, but these are nonspecific symptoms. The appearance of lameness in some of those affected does allow us to think about a bone or joint problem. It can be diagnosed with an X-ray.
The goal of treatment is to alleviate pain , which can be done with medication or surgery. It is very important, too, to avoid being overweight.
Digestive problems in Persian cats
Another celebrated feature of the Persian is its spectacular cloak of long, silky hair, prone to knotting if not properly cared for. All cats spend time daily on self-grooming and in this process it is common for them to ingest hair. A longer length of this hair favors the formation of hairballs throughout the digestive system.
In it these hairs are going to mix with food and gastric acids, while they are displaced by peristaltic movements. All of this can form hairballs, more technically known as trichobezoars , which can grow to a considerable size, harden and cause an obstruction.
It is prevented with frequent brushing, a balanced diet, good hydration and the administration of malt from time to time.
Lastly, cats of this breed can have problems receiving blood transfusions. In addition, kittens with a different blood group from their mother suffer from what is known as natal isoerythrolysis , which is triggered by ingesting colostrum, because it destroys their own red blood cells.