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Maine Coon cats are generally a healthy breed. A medium to large sized cat, they are muscular and sturdy. As with any animal, there are some Maine Coon health conditions that you need to be aware of; some are potentially life-threatening conditions that can affect certain purebred cats.
Genetic health disorders affect many types of cats. Sometimes hereditary illnesses are seen more often in a particular breed than in others. In Maine Coon cats, there are three conditions associated in this breed. Reputable breeders have worked hard to prevent these problems and there is a blood test available to screen for HCM.
1. Hypertrophic Cardiomypathy (HCM). This condition is a common form of heart disease for cats. HCM is an enlargement and weakening of the heart muscle, which causes breathing problems. Its symptoms can be subtle or nonexistent. It can show up as a relatively minor condition, like a heart murmur, or as a severe and ongoing condition, like heart disease. HCM can also be a common cause of sudden death in purebred Maine Coon cats. HCM can be minimized with an overall, healthy diet and lifestyle. If you live in a heartworm area, it is advised that your cat take heartworm prevention medication. Your vet may recommend fish oil like Omega 3 fatty acids, which regulate blood pressure and reduce blood clotting. It is essential to have a good working relationship with your local veterinarian.
It is also important to talk to a breeder about your cat’s parentage to determine any hereditary conditions. Responsible breeders are willing to discuss problems with diseases, what screening tests they use, and what actions they’re taking to prevent future problems in the offspring.
2. Hip dysplasia and dislocation. Large breeds of cats like Maine Coons are more likely to develop hip dysplasia, which occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly. Dysplasia causes difficulties in walking, running, or climbing.
3. Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This is also a genetic disorder that can occur in Maine Coon kittens. It is usually seen when kittens are about three months of age. The muscles tighten and contract, which can cause problems moving or controlling their muscles. They may have difficulty walking.
Finding out about the (un) common problems associated with the Maine Coon breed will make you a better pet owner. You should try to find out as much information about these conditions from your breeder, the vet, and your own research. Rest assured, Maine Coons do not have greater illnesses than any other breed of cat. As a responsible owner, it’s important to know about your cat’s potential health problems and symptoms. Your knowledge will help your cat live a healthy and happy life.
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