Maine Coon Cat Health Problems
The following Maine Coon cat health problems can affect any cat. In general, Maine Coons are hardy and robust cats.
Responsible breeders screen for inherited conditions. Your breeder should be open to discussing any questions you may have. Since the following health issues can be genetically inherited by Maine Coon cats, it's good to be aware of them.
HCM - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
This genetic disease is usually known as HCM. It is the most serious of the potential Maine Coon Cat Health Problems. HCM is the most common heart disease in all cats.
It is not specific to Maine Coons; It is seen in other cat breeds as well. It has been confirmed that the Maine Coon and the American Shorthair can carry the genetic trait for HCM.
HCM causes a thickening of the wall of the heart. This stiffens the walls of the heart, restricting blood flow. It occurs over time. It can lead to sudden heart failure, striking the cat at a young age. Unfortunately, there are often no symptoms before this time. Possible symptoms could include lethargy, labored breathing, weight loss, or lameness of a rear leg. Or your vet might detect a heart murmur or irregular heartbeat.
Your vet has a variety of tests he can perform for diagnosis. The best thing you can do for your cat is to make it to the regular check-ups. Your vet will be on the lookout for any signs or symptoms. If HCM is detected, talk to your vet about medications and prognosis.
Ask your breeder about any testing they have done on their cats. Hopefully, they can put your mind at rest.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
When researching Maine Coon cat health problems, you may come across Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. This is also a genetically inherited disorder. It shows up in kittens, characterized by lameness in their rear end. This is caused by death of the spinal cord neurons.
The kitten is otherwise normal. It doesn't affect appetite, or use of the litter box. The cat can live years, comfortably, with SMA. They won't run and jump as well as other cats, and if you feel the rear legs and hindquarters you can feel the loss of muscle tone.
There is testing available to breeders, so they can avoid breeding any cats who are carriers.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
This is also genetically inherited. PKD is also known to affect Persian and Persian-related cats. The cat has multiple cysts on its kidneys. They grow in number and size as the cat ages, ultimately ending in renal, or kidney failure. The rate of cyst growth can be slower in some cats, but it remains a fatal condition.
Signs to look out for include depression, weight loss, increased thirst and urination, and occasional vomiting. Treatments are the same as for other cats with chronic kidney failure.
PKD is one of the more serious Maine Coon cat health problems, so be sure to ask your breeder about it.
Hip Dysplasia in Cats
Another inherited condition, Hip Dysplasia, is more prominent in large cats such as the big Maine Coon cat. A kitten inherits the genetic predisposition for it, and as the cat grows in weight in size, it becomes apparent.
It affects the hip joint, which is unable to properly bear the weight. Cartilage can disintegrate, causing arthritis and pain. This is a condition that can be managed, and some folks opt to use herbal remedies for cats to help with hip dysplasia and other health issues.
When you are choosing a kitten, it is important to ask your breeder what health screening they do. A good breeder will promptly fill you in on all of these Maine Coon cat health problems. They'll provide you with information on current medical research. They will let you know what genetic testing they provide for their cats, and how the parents of their kittens have tested.
When caring for your Maine Coon Cat, you should be aware of potential concerns. You know your cat better than anyone else, so you'll be the first to notice a change in behavior.
Taking Control Of Your Pet's Health:
These Maine Coon cat health problems are definitely serious, but by having a trusting relationship with your breeder and your vet, you'll be able to rest easy. The Maine Coon Cat breed is, generally speaking, a hearty, healthy and robust breed of cat!