Feline hereditary myopathy is a rare genetic disorder that affects a cat’s muscles. It’s caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for producing a protein called myosin. This protein is important for muscle function. When it’s not produced correctly, it can lead to muscle weakness and wasting.
Symptoms of Feline Hereditary Myopathy
Symptoms of Feline Hereditary Myopathy can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty walking or jumping
Affected cats can also have trouble standing up from a lying position or climbing stairs. As the disease progresses, muscle wasting can become more noticeable, particularly in their hind legs.
Diagnosing Feline Hereditary Myopathy
Diagnosing hereditary myopathy is typically made through a combination of a physical examination, medical history, and genetic testing. Your veterinarian can perform additional tests such as blood work or imaging to rule out other possible causes for your cat’s symptoms.
Stages of Feline Hereditary Myopathy
Feline hereditary myopathy is a progressive disease, meaning that it gets worse over time. There are three stages of the disease:
In the early stage, cats can have mild muscle weakness and stiffness. They can have difficulty jumping or climbing stairs and may tire easily during exercise.
In the middle stage, muscle wasting becomes more noticeable, particularly in their hind legs. Cats will struggle to stand up from a lying position and can have difficulty walking.
In the late stage, cats might be unable to walk or stand without assistance. Muscle wasting is severe, and cats can have respiratory problems because of muscle weakness in the muscles used for breathing.
Treating Feline Hereditary Myopathy
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for feline hereditary myopathy. Treatment options are focused on managing their symptoms and improving your cat’s quality of life. Your veterinarian can recommend a combination of treatments, including:
1. Physical Therapy:
Regular exercise and physical therapy can help maintain their muscle strength and flexibility, as well as improve their mobility.
Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to help manage their pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms.
3. Nutritional Support:
A balanced diet and nutritional supplements can help support muscle function and slow the progression of their disease.
4. Assistive Devices:
Wheelchairs or other mobility aids can help your cat move around more easily and maintain their independence.
5. Palliative Care:
In advanced stages of the disease, palliative care might be necessary to keep your cat comfortable and manage their symptoms such as difficulty breathing.
Preventing Feline Hereditary Myopathy
Feline hereditary myopathy is a genetic disorder, meaning it’s passed down from parents to offspring. Because the disease is genetic there are no known preventative measures that can be taken to stop the disease in cats that carry the gene mutation.
If you know that your cat is at risk for feline hereditary myopathy due to their breed or family history, genetic testing can be performed to identify carriers that have the mutation. This can help prevent the spread of the gene and reduce the incidence of the disease in future generations.