PawPed, provides a health program for the Maine Coon breed, the health program was created in the late mid-'80s, you can see great advances in the lines tested over several generations. Test results can be seen in the database www.pawpeds.com

 

The health program means the following:

HCM – Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – Here are two tests to do:

  • DNA – They have found one mutation of what they believe is about 12 mutations or more and this gene we are working to eliminate via DNA testing. 33-35% of all MCO's have this gene. 

Test results

Maine Coon  HCM Status

N/N

Normal

N/HCM

The cat is Heterozygot and is at 1.8 times greater risk of developing HCM than cats without the mutation.

HCM/HCM

The cat is Homozygous and is at 18 times greater risk of developing HCM than cats without the mutation.

Source: https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/cat/MaineCoonHCM.php

 

  • This test is done only once and if the parents are free, no test of the offspring is required since they are free by the parents.
  • Ultrasound - Since the DNA test can only be applied to 1 of quite a few mutations, it is easy to understand that further tests are required. Ultrasound on the heart is performed before first mating at about 1, 2, 3 and 5 years of age. The list of veterinarians approved to do tests for the health program is listed in PawPed.  There can also be found how a veterinarian gets approved. If you have any questions just contact me.

 

HD – Hip dysplasia:

  • This can be done earliest at 10 months of age and are done before the first mating, this only needs to be done once and is done by x-ray the hips of the cat, the x-rays are then sent to a specialist who makes the assessment. The test itself can be done at any veterinarian doing x-rays and all information and forms used are found att PawPed.
  • Cats with degree 1 can be used in breeding but then the other party should be completely normal on both hips. Cats with degree 2 or 3 are not recommended to go breed.

 

PK – Pyruvate Kinase:

  • Performed by DNA tests and done once, cats free by parents do not need to be tested.
  • The recommendations are that all cats are tested before the first litter if they are not free by the parents.
  •  Carriers can be used in breeding but then the other party needs to be completely free.
  • Affected cats, with both PK genes (PK/PK), should not be used for breeding.

 

SMA – Spinal Muscular Atrophy:

  • Performed by DNA tests and done once, cats free by parents do not need to be tested.
  • Carriers can be used in breeding but only be mated to cats who do not carry the gene. One should then be aware that 50% of the offspring will be carriers. A heterozygous carrier will never get any symptoms of the disease, but new owners should be informed to be aware of this if they would later mate their offspring.
  • Affected cats, with both SMA genes (sma/sma) should not be used for breeding.

 

IMPORTANT!

Never forget that how well a cat or its pedigree has been tested and checked, there is never any guarantee that this cat will not be affected anyway by HD or HCM, sometimes it may be coming from far behind in the pedigree.

But the risks that the kittens get sick, are much less when it is well-tested behind the cats and as a breeder, you have done everything in your power to prevent this from happening.



By: Malin Sundqvist

Dagdrivarn (www.dagdrivarn.se)