Scottish Fold Health

Diseases of Scottish Fold cats

It is generally accepted that Scottish cats are one of the most problematic breeds in terms of health. but for some reason, no one pays attention to the words of experienced breeders who claim that all over the world they have long learned to control genetic problems and many animals live happily up to 16-19 years. Who is right? And is it worth passing judgment on the breed without giving it any chance for protection?

Many sites dedicated to the health of purebred cats list the following common diseases to the Scottish Breed: osteochondrodysplasia (OCD), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Let’s deal with everything in order.

scottish fold health problems

The Scottish Fold ear fold mutation is closely linked to abnormal skeletal development leading to the inherited disease osteochondrodysplasia (OCD). It is characterized by skeletal deformities associated with the growth of cartilage tissue.

Scottish fold cats may begin to limp, develop a stiff, “stilted” gait, and their tail “hardens”. The older the animal, the more severe the disease will progress – deformation of the hock joint and fingers, tail vertebrae will begin, difficulty breathing and spasms will occur. The best type of diagnosis of this disease is x-ray and there are no effective methods of treatment yet. Opponents of the breed consider OCD to be exclusively a fold disease, but Alaskan Malamute and French Bulldog breeds also suffer from it.

The cause of OCD in folds occurs due to improper breeding. Folded ears are a manifestation of a cartilage defect that is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. In other words, when mating fold to fold, the resulting homozygous offspring will be susceptible to OCD. Heterozygous offspring (when mating fold and straight) will be healthier and practically free from this genetic disease. The problem with OCD can be minimized with proper selection of pairs and isolation of lines in which cases of the disease have been identified, which is what responsible breeders say.

Another disease characteristic of the Scottish Fold breed is HCM – hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a pathology of the heart, accompanied by a pronounced thickening of the heart muscle and leading to the development of heart failure, up to death).

However, it’s not only a “Scottish” disease. Many breeds that are accepted and approved by all systems of the world (Maine Coon, Burmese, Siberian, Sphynx, Ragdoll, etc.) fight this hereditary disease. Moreover, Scottish folds do not fall into the top three animals at risk. The most accurate method for diagnosing HCM is echocardiography, but in some cases, additional chest x-ray and electrocardiography are also important. Of course, the carrier of the disease is not allowed to breed, and the entire line is checked, especially close relatives.

-Another ailment that is attributed to Scottish folds is polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a progressive genetic disease inherited in a dominant manner. Obstruction in the structure of the kidneys and the appearance of cysts can be observed in cats from birth – with age, the situation worsens up to the complete replacement of the normal structure of the tissues of this organ. PKD, аs a rule, manifests itself in cats from three to ten years, more often at the age of seven. Ultrasound and DNA testing for PKD carriage is recommended for all folds used in breeding programs. But folds are not alone in this disease either – it affects exotic SH, British SH, Persian cats, etc. And again, the genetic mutation of the folds has nothing to do with this disease.

As you can see, none of the considered ailments is a personal scourge of the “Scots”. They penetrated the breed and grew due to the huge number of improper breeding that gave life to many sick kittens. This is a cruel payment for popularity – many people who do not know the basics of breeding, who call themselves breeders, do not want to delve into the intricacies of the breed, but want to earn as much money from animals as possible. It is worth remembering that it is difficult to restore the reputation of the breed, but still possible. Therefore, the more responsibly breeders approach breeding, the less often they will have to give arguments in defense of their beloved cats.

Leslie Lyons, professor of genetics at Davis University in California. As a scientist, I try to remain neutral in discussions about the breed, but facts remain facts. The gene for pinched ears has also been linked to the development of osteoarthritis in cats, which leads to joint stiffness. The mutation in folds is dominant – if one of the partners had flattened ears, this trait will be passed onto offspring. The necessary studies have been carried out, and I confirm that animals obtained from matings of two folds, in most cases, suffer from a severe form of osteoarthritis. That is why we advise knitting folds with straight-eared cats. Some also think that kittens produced from fold and straight matings may have asymptomatic osteoarthritis, but serious studies have not been conducted on this issue. In the US, folds are also knitted with Persians, but breeders should be aware of polycystic kidney disease in these animals and understand that the disease can be transmitted to the Scottish breed. In addition, some folds suffer from brachycephalic syndrome, which causes them to have malocclusion and difficult airways.

My advice to breeders is to continue outcrossing for the genetic diversity of the breed, but be careful and DNA test partners to prevent genetic diseases. Breeders must maintain a database of veterinary animal testing in order to monitor the breed.

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5 Most Common Diseases in Scottish Fold Cats

Osteochondrodysplasia (OCD) – This is a genetic disease in which the formation of cartilage and bone tissue is disrupted. The animal develops disorders: deformities of the limbs, tail and in general, the skeleton. The cat may limp, move unnaturally, and in severe cases, lose the ability to walk. Movement hurts.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) – also a genetic disease and its insidiousness is that it does not immediately manifest itself. The kidneys are a patient organ, adapt well, so symptoms appear when significant changes have already occurred. With polycystic disease, the parenchyma (working tissue) is replaced by cysts and the kidneys are less able to cope with their functions. If you have a Scottish cat, it is advisable to periodically do a urine test, which will allow you to identify the disease in the early stages.

Heart diseases – The Scots have a tendency to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). With the disease, the structure of the heart muscle (myocardium) changes and the size of the heart. Changes negatively affect the functions of the cardiovascular system, blood supply to organs is disturbed. In the initial stage, the disease proceeds without symptoms however with the development of the disease, we will observe breathing with an open mouth after minor physical exertion, fatigue, pallor of the mucous membranes and other symptoms.

Ear diseases – Folds, due to the special shape of the auricle that covers the ear, have a tendency to get otitis media (middle ear inflammation). In such a closed ear, it is a favorable environment for the development of microflora. Not all folds necessarily have earaches, but there is a chance, so periodically inspect the auricle and take action if necessary. You may notice a large amount of sulfur, crusts, an unpleasant odor, as well as redness.Ear hygiene is important with the Scottish Fold.

Constipation – The tendency for constipation is associated with intestinal atony against the background of a violation of mineral metabolism, and in particular calcium. Sometimes the use of calcium preparations helps to improve peristalsis and normalize bowel movements in a cat. It is clear that calcium is not a panacea, but it can be considered as one of the possible options. Correction of nutrition, housing conditions and hair care do not always completely solve this problem.

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Before you buy a lop-eared kitten, think again if you need this particular breed. And if your decision is final, then buy from trusted breeders who value their reputation, monitor the purity of the breed, choose the right pairs …

Also keep in mind that breeding is not a cheap pleasure, a thoroughbred kitten cannot be inexpensive.

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