Health / Illness
In order for the Neva Masquerade to be as healthy a breed as possible, it is recommended that we do health tests on our breeding animals. The tests we do are: HCM and PKD scanning, FIV and FeLV and blood grouping.
Unfortunately there is no Health Program for the breed from SVERAK.
Below is information about the diseases that it is recommended that we test against.
HCM - hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in cats
Pawpeds Applies HCM Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Health Program to Siberian Cat and Neva Masquerade.
This means that HCM scanning is recommended at one year of age, then every year up to 3 years of age, then follow-up at 5 years and 8 years of age.
HCM, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is a hereditary disease. It is the most common heart disease in cats and the symptoms usually start at 2 to 4 years of age.
You can also detect symptoms earlier, especially if both parents have had the disease. Male cats are affected more often than females, and the disease occurs in both purebred and domestic cats.
HCM is a disease that can be difficult for the owner to detect. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue and shortness of breath. The most common way to suspect the disease is in connection with the annual health check when the veterinarian listens to the cat's heart. You can hear wheezing or irregular heartbeats, in which case the cat should undergo an ultrasound examination of the heart, at which the diagnosis can be made. The changes in the heart consist of the heart muscles becoming thickened. This means that the cavity in the heart becomes smaller and a smaller amount of blood is pumped out into the body at each heartbeat. Since the blood has to transport oxygen to the body, symptoms of poor oxygenation in the form of poor strength and shortness of breath arise.
The disease can also lead to small clots of clotted blood forming in the heart and being excreted into the body. When the blood clot gets stuck in a narrower blood vessel, often where the carotid artery divides into the hind legs, this causes paralysis and pain in one or both hind legs. This is called a blood clot or thrombus.
Thickening of the heart muscle can also be caused by high blood pressure and / or too high metabolism. When diagnosing HCM, it is important to examine the cat for these conditions as well.
Unfortunately, you can not cure or prevent the actual change in the heart, but you can prevent blood clots from developing by giving blood-thinning medication. If high blood pressure or high metabolism is the cause of the heart muscle thickening, the development can be slowed down when these disease states come under control. Once a cat has been diagnosed with HCM, it should be checked approximately every six months. Cats treated with blood thinners should be screened once a year.
Fortunately, most cats that receive proper medication and regular checkups can live long with the disease without suffering from it.
SOURCE: The Blue Star
PKD-Polycystic Kidney Deases
PKD is an autosomal dominant kidney disease. Which means that the cat only needs to inherit a copy of the mutated gene to have PKD. However, it can also inherit it from two parents with PKD. Previously, it was not thought that these kittens survived.
The cats are born with a number of cysts on the kidneys that can neither be more nor fewer. However, they grow with the cat. If they are many and / or grow up, the cat will have kidney failure. The cysts contain fluid. Over time, the cysts can knock out normal kidney function and increase abdominal pressure
Symptoms of the disease are:
-Pressure / pain in the abdomen
- Kidney stones
- Decreased ability to concentrate urine
- Uremic symptoms
PKD is not part of any race Health program according to SVERAK. In the past, Persia was hit hard by it. The disease discovered in our race in January 2019 and then began a great work among us breeders in Sweden. Breeding animals are recommended to be ultrasound-scanned. The breeding animals that test positive may be taken out of breeding.
SigNeringen works actively to map the disease in Sweden and has an open register for PKD-scanned cats. Where everyone is encouraged to submit their test results.
Source: Lennart Nilfors, Leg. veterinarian, Internal Medicine
FIV - Feline immunosuppressive virus
FIV in cats is a virus that has similarities to HIV in humans. The virus cannot be fought by the body's immune system and the cat will sooner or later become ill. FIV attacks the cat's white blood cells, just like FeLV (see below), which leads to a weakened immune system. Symptoms are more common in older cats, and FIV more often affects males than females.
As FIV weakens the immune system, the cat becomes more susceptible to various infections and the symptoms can vary greatly.
When the cat first becomes infected, the pet owner does not always notice any symptoms in the cat. However, the cat may become ill for a short period with a fever and impaired general condition.
The cat is then healthy for a period, usually for several years, before the disease breaks out (compare HIV and AIDS).
Eventually, the cat becomes seriously ill from infections that would not normally have affected the cat. Sometimes the cat can become symptom-free and then fall ill for periods. In general, the cat tends to get worse and worse.
Symptoms can e.g. be:
· Respiratory tract infection
Inflammation of the oral cavity
· Weight loss
Enlarged lymph nodes
Routes of infection
The virus is spread via saliva and blood and is most often transmitted by the bite of an infected cat. FIV can occasionally also be transmitted through mating or through the uterus to kittens. The latter can contribute to reproductive problems. The greatest risk of the kittens being infected is if the cat mother becomes infected during pregnancy.
Outdoor cats have the greatest risk of becoming infected as they more often quarrel with other cats than indoor cats do.
Diagnosis and treatment
Antibodies can be detected using a blood test. An infected cat carries the virus with it for the rest of its life, but it can take up to eight weeks before the antibodies have formed. If it is suspected that the first sample was taken in the acute stage of the infection, it may therefore be necessary to take new samples a little later in order to exclude FIV. When the immune system is destroyed in infected cats, there are sometimes no antibodies left in the blood in the final stages of the disease. Then it is also not possible to diagnose the disease with the help of this blood test.
An infected cat can live healthy for many years before becoming ill. If the cat is diagnosed with FIV, however, it is very important that the cat is kept indoors and not allowed to meet healthy cats to avoid the infection being passed on.
It is also good to avoid the cat becoming stressed to reduce the risk of triggering disease.
FeLV - Feline leukemia virus
FeLV is a virus that attacks the bone marrow and the cat's white blood cells, which are the body's defenses against various diseases. Because the white blood cells become infected, the virus then spreads with the blood and infects other tissues in the body.
Kittens and older cats are most sensitive. Many cats resist the virus thanks to an effective immune system and get rid of the virus within a few weeks / months. In those who fall ill, it can take months to years before the cat becomes ill and shows symptoms.
The symptoms can be divided into tumor diseases (blood, bone marrow and lymph cancer) and diseases that weaken the immune system. The virus can also cause reproductive problems.
Symptoms vary but can include be:
· Difficulty breathing
Poor appetite and weight loss
Inflammation of the gums and mucous membranes of the mouth
Bleaching mucous membranes
Decreased immune system that can lead to secondary diseases, especially in the respiratory tract and
Early fetal death and infertility
Routes of infection
FeLV is most common where there are many cats. Infected cats are mainly transmitted through saliva, e.g. via bites or that they lick each other. They also excrete a small amount of virus through feces and urine, but saliva is the main route of transmission. Kittens can be infected in the womb and through breast milk.
Healthy cats can be carriers. Some cats can carry the virus latently for several years, ie. carry the virus without being ill or being a carrier. This latent period ends either with the cat fighting the virus or with the virus being activated and the cat becoming a chronic carrier.
Diagnosis and treatment
To detect a virus, an analysis of a blood sample is required. It usually takes at least 2 blood tests every few months to distinguish the cats that have gotten rid of the infection from those who have a persistent infection. In those cats that have a latent infection, the virus cannot be detected.
Treatment is difficult but there are now medicines, given as injections under the skin, that can reduce the risk of getting sick and premature death. There are also vaccines that can protect the cat against the virus. However, the vaccine should not be used too frequently as it increases the risk of unusual tumor diseases.
Felin Neonatal Isoerytrolys
Cats have three different blood groups, A, B and AB. A is the most common blood type while AB is very unusual. A is dominant over B and AB, while AB is dominant over B. Cats with blood group B only have predispositions for B (are thus homozygous) while cats with blood group A can also have predispositions for blood groups AB and B. The cat's different blood groups can cause problems in connection with blood transfusions.
However, a much more common problem caused by different blood groups is feline neonatal isoerythrolysis. Feline neonatal isoerythrolysis occurs if a female cat with blood group B is mated with a male cat that has blood group A and gets kittens with blood group A. Cats with blood group B form strong antibodies against blood group A, while cats with blood group A have only a weak antibody formation against blood group B These antibodies will be present in the milk of the lactating female cat. When the kittens suckle, the antibodies are taken up by the intestine and enter the bloodstream where they begin to attack the kittens' red blood cells which break down.
Gets weaker after birth
The kittens are strong and healthy when they are born but then become weaker and weaker. Symptoms may vary in severity. Some kittens with blood group A are not affected at all while others die quickly before they have time to develop any symptoms. Typical symptoms are that the kittens become weak and do not want to suckle. The breakdown of the blood cells causes the kittens to get jaundice and the urine to turn brownish red. In kittens that are mildly affected and survive, the tail tip tissue may die (necrosis) at one to two weeks of age. The earlier the symptoms appear, the worse the prognosis. The antibodies can only be absorbed by the gut during the first 24 hours of the kitten's life.
Thus, feline neonatal isoerythrolysis can be avoided by removing pups with blood group A from a female with blood group B during the first day after birth. You either let them suckle from a female cat with blood group A or give them milk substitute. After a day, you can without risk return the cubs to the mother.
Symptoms - then it may be too late
Once symptoms have occurred, it is usually too late to save the kitten. If you know that the female cat has blood group B and is mated with a male cat that has blood group A, you should therefore prevent the kittens from breastfeeding for 24 hours. If both the father and the mother have blood group B, all pups also get blood group B and in such cases there will be no problems with neonatal isoerythrolysis.
The frequency of cats with blood group B varies between different breeds. Blood group B is very uncommon in domestic cats but is quite common in some cat breeds. The spread also varies geographically, depending on which lines you have bred on. Breeds where a large proportion of cats with blood group B (25–50 percent) have been found in the USA are British shorthair, devon rex and cornish rex. In Abyssinians, Somalis, Persians and Holy Burmese, blood group B was found in 10–20 percent of the cats tested. Blood group AB is even more uncommon than B but kittens with blood group AB are also exposed to neonatal isoerythrolysis just like kittens with blood group A.
In breeds with a high frequency of blood group B, there may be reason to routinely determine the cat's blood group before the first mating. Blood group determination can be done by a serological test of a blood sample. Nowadays, it is also possible to determine blood type with the help of DNA tests (testing of the genome). In DNA testing, it is possible to find out if a cat with blood group A is a carrier of blood group B. However, it is not possible to distinguish between blood group A and AB with DNA testing. You can also use a quick test to find out the blood type directly at the time of the test. The disadvantage of the rapid test is that it is not possible to find out which antibody titer (amount of antibodies in the blood) the cat has and it is also not possible to see if cats with blood group A are carriers of blood group B.
Mortality among kittens can not be completely avoided, but if you suspect that abnormally many kittens are dying, you should definitely take action. One should think through their routines in terms of vaccinations, deworming, hygiene and prevention of the spread of infection.
An important step in the investigation is to get dead kittens autopsied. You can either contact your veterinarian for help or you can send the kitten for an autopsy together with a detailed account of the process. It is important that the kitten is autopsied as soon as possible after it has died in order to get a good result from the autopsy. If the baby is stillborn, the placenta and amniotic membranes should also be sent. Information on how to proceed to send in an animal for autopsy can be found on SVA's website ( www.sva.se ).
If you do not send the kitten immediately (for example, if it dies on a Friday and risks being left in the mail over the weekend), you should cool it to refrigerator temperature as soon as possible. Kittens to be autopsied should not be frozen as the tissues will then be destroyed.
Worth the money
Although an autopsy may seem expensive, it can be a good use of money if it leads to a solution to the problem. If it is suspected that feline neonatal isoerythrolysis may be the cause of kittens death, you should find out what blood type the female cat has. If she has blood group B and is mated with a male cat with blood group A, the cause of the problem has probably been found. You can then take measures so that more kittens do not die of the same cause again.
Veterinarian Dr. Eva Axnér works at the Department of Reproduction at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala.