Diseases of Bengal cats

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is true, especially in the Bengal realm. Breeding is expensive, and when done right, the profits are really small. The very first set of health tests and screening for each breeding pair easily starts at $1,000 and up, but the reassurance is priceless when it prevents future heart pain in their offspring. We hope that by visiting our website, you will see the passion and dedication we have for every life in our home, which we consider a serious hobby and take great pleasure in breeding Bengals. When you visit other breeders, write down a checklist of questions you may have. Your breeder should be like a funnel that filters out diseases from the parents before they are bred and can help you provide evidence and feedback. The last thing you want is to invest yourself in a kitten that won't even reach adulthood due to the lack of preventive measures that are considered standard among all ethical breeders. Before you buy bengal kitten make sure that he is not threatened by the following diseases:

HCM - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart condition for Bengal cats. HCM is a thickening of the wall of the left ventricle. Severe thickening leads to the formation of scar tissue. The thickening and scarring of the tissue makes it difficult for the left ventricle to relax. If serious, it can lead to heart failure, fluid accumulation in or around the lungs. This accumulation of fluid, if serious, leads to rapid and difficult breathing. The left atrium (*the chamber behind the left ventricle) is also enlarged in cats whose left ventricle cannot relax properly. This enlargement leads to slower blood flow through this chamber and thus to the formation of blood sludge, predisposing to clot formation. When the clot is released from its attachment in the left atrium, it moves down the aorta to the posterior legs, blocking blood flow and causing sudden paralysis and severe pain (called saddle thromboembolism). Scar tissue can also predispose to abnormal electrical activity in the left ventricle, which manifests as arrhythmias. The observed arrhythmia is thought to predispose cats with HCM to sudden death. Thus, cats with severe HCM may develop heart failure, die suddenly, or experience saddle thromboembolic pain. There is no genetic test to detect it and breeders' only option is to have a certified cardiologist perform an echocardiogram on each pair of Bengals every 1-2 years to check current function and measurements.

PRA-b - Bengal Progressive Retinal Atrophy

PRA-b causes autosomal recessive blindness in Bengal cats. The disease causes destruction of the cells that register light (photoreceptors) in the back of the eye (retina). Cell loss begins at about 7 weeks of age and gradually progresses until the cat has impaired vision by about 2 years of age. The mutant DNA variant appears to be new to the Bengal breed and originated early in the popular Bengal lineage. Two copies of the mutant DNA variant are necessary for cats to be blind, if only one parent is a carrier, the offspring will not be affected. Blindness can be detected either by a DNA test or by eye examination prior to mating age. Carriers, cats with one copy of the mutation, can only be detected with a DNA test.

PK Deficiency - erythrocyte pyruvate kinase deficiency

Erythrocyte pyruvate kinase deficiency (PK deficiency) is a hereditary hemolytic anemia caused by insufficient activity of this regulatory enzyme, which leads to instability and loss of erythrocytes. The anemia is intermittent, the age of onset varies, and the clinical signs also vary. Symptoms of this anemia may include: severe lethargy, weakness, weight loss, jaundice, and enlarged abdomen. This condition is inherited as an autosomal recessive type. Bengal cats need two copies of the mutant DNA variant to develop this disease; if only one parent is a carrier, the offspring will not be affected.

PKD1 - Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD1) is a well-documented abnormality in domestic cats. Cystic kidneys can occur sporadically in any population of cats. PKD1 is not a new disease and has been reported in the literature for over 30 years. The hereditary form of PKD1 may not have originally occurred in Persians as a new mutation, but it may have occurred in randomly bred cats. Unfortunately, PKD1 does not have a strong clinical presentation. The presentation of PKD1 is similar to one of the most common causes of death for any cat, renal failure. Thus, PKD1 went undetected for many years and spread throughout the Persian breed. Any breed that has used Persians in their foundation or breeding must have problems with PKD1. The condition has been shown to be inherited as a single autosomal dominant gene in Persians. Early onset, bilateral onset (both kidneys) and multiple cysts are indicative of a hereditary form of the disease. Renal cysts for PKD1 present early, often before 12 months of age. However, renal failure usually occurs later in life. Thus, PKD1 is considered a late-onset kidney disease. In fancy cat breeds, PKD1 is inherited as an autosomal dominant condition. This implies that it takes one copy of the gene to produce PKD1. Typically, 50% of the offspring of PKD1-positive cats inherit PKD1.

FIV - Bengal cat immunodeficiency virus

(FIV), may not show symptoms for several years after the initial infection has occurred. Although the virus acts slowly, the cat's immune system is severely weakened as soon as the disease intensifies. This makes the cat susceptible to various secondary infections. Infected cats that receive supportive medical care and are kept indoors without stress can live relatively comfortably for months or years before the disease reaches its chronic stages.

FeLV - feline leukemia virus

First discovered in the 1960s, feline leukemia virus is a transmissible RNA retrovirus that can severely suppress a cat's immune system. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed causes of illness and death in domestic cats. FeLV weakens the animal's immune system and predisposes cats to various infections and diseases, including anemia, kidney disease and lymphosarcoma, a very malignant and deadly cancer of the lymphatic system. Unfortunately, there is no cure for FeLV, and it is estimated that less than 20% of clinically infected cats survive more than three years of active infection. In the case of those cats who develop cancer, chemotherapy can help prolong life, but treatment is often aimed at providing the best quality of life.

FIP - Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Feline Infectious Peritonitis Infection (FIP) is a viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of a virus called feline coronavirus. Most strains of feline coronavirus are avirulent, which means they do not cause disease, and are called feline intestinal coronavirus. Cats infected with feline coronavirus usually show no symptoms during the initial viral infection, and an immune response occurs when antiviral antibodies are produced. In a small percentage of infected cats (5 to 10 percent), either as a result of mutation of the virus or a compromised immune response, the infection progresses to the clinical state of FIP. The virus is then referred to as feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). With antibodies to protect the cat, white blood cells become infected with the virus, and these cells then carry the virus throughout the cat's body. An intense inflammatory reaction occurs around the blood vessels in the tissues where these infected cells are located, often in the abdomen, kidney or brain area. It is this interaction between the body's own immune system and the virus that causes the disease. Once a cat develops clinical FIP involving one or more of the cat's body systems, the disease progresses and is almost always fatal. The way in which clinical FIP develops as an immune-mediated disease is unique, unlike any other animal or human viral disease. One of the most difficult aspects of FIP is the lack of a simple diagnostic test. ELISA, IFA and virus neutralization tests detect the presence of antibodies to coronavirus in the Bengal cat, but these tests cannot differentiate between different strains of feline coronavirus. A positive result means only that the cat has been previously exposed to coronavirus, but not necessarily the one that causes FIP. To date, there is no way to screen healthy cats for FIP risk, and the only way to definitively diagnose FIP is by biopsy or autopsy tissue examination. Generally, veterinarians can rely on a presumptive diagnosis, which can be made with a relatively high degree of certainty by evaluating the cat's history, presenting symptoms, examination of fluid if present, and results of ancillary laboratory tests, including a positive coronavirus antibody titer. There is currently no known treatment or effective treatment for FIP. Some treatments may cause short-term remissions in a small percentage of cats; however, FIP is a fatal disease. Treatment usually focuses on supportive care, such as good grooming and nutrition, and on reducing the inflammatory response of the disease. Cats with FIP are often treated with corticosteroids, cytotoxic drugs, and antibiotics. Supportive treatment may also include fluid therapy, drainage of accumulated fluid, and blood transfusions. Research is continuing to find other immunosuppressants that may slow the progression of the disease. Attempts are also being made to find antiviral drugs that will prevent or slow the multiplication of the virus. One promising approach, which is currently being studied, combines both an antiviral agent and an immune response modifier. As you can see, the list of diseases is quite long and these are just the main problems of Bengal cats. But don't be alarmed, if you are going to choose a Bengal cat in a cattery you just have to make sure that it has all the necessary documents and vaccinations. Don't hesitate to ask about tests and the official contract, which guarantees that you are buying a healthy Bengal kitten!