Spinal Muscular Atrophy In Maine Coon Cats

Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a genetic defect that occurs in Maine Coon Cats. This disease occurs when the spinal cord nerves that control the skeletal muscles of the cats body and legs die off. When Maine Coon kittens are about 3 to 4 months of age, this is when the disease becomes apparent. The kittens will begin to move with a sway in the rear end, and will be unable to jump up completely by 5 or 6 months of age. Their muscle mass becomes decreased. Although there is no treatment for this disease, the cats do not appear to be suffering in any kind of pain and can lead fairly normal lives as indoor cats only.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy in Maine Coon Cats is an autosomal recessive trait. The Laboratory of Comparative Medical Genetics at Michigan State University has developed a DNA test so that cats may be tested before being bred by sending in a cheek swab to see if they are carriers.

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