We recently got the results back from some more Genetic tests we had done and I'm pleased to report that ALL our cats have now tested clear for Bengal Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK def).
PRA causes an autosomal recessive blindness in Bengal cats. The disease causes the destruction of the cells that register light (photoreceptors) in the back of the eye (the retina). The loss of the cells begins around 7 weeks of age and slowly progresses until the cat has very compromised vision by approximately 2 years of age. However, blindness develops at different rates in different cats. The mutant DNA variant appears to be novel to the Bengal breed and occurred early in a popular lineage of the Bengals. It is expected to be a worldwide condition and there are reports of affected cats in the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA. Bengal PRA is autosomal recessive, thus two copies of the mutant DNA variant are required for the cats to be blind. The blindness can be detected either by the DNA test or by an eye exam prior breeding age. Carriers, cats with one copy of the mutation, can only be detected by the DNA test.
PK Deficiency is an inherited hemolytic anemia caused by insufficient activity of this regulatory enzyme which results in instability and loss of red blood cells. The anemia is intermittent, the age of onset is variable and clinical signs are also variable. Symptoms of this anemia can include: severe lethargy, weakness, weight loss, jaundice, and abdominal enlargement. This condition is inherited as an autosomal recessive.
Our cats are also screened for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) once they reach 1 - 2 years old and then are screened yearly thereafter. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopath means enlargement or thickening of the myocardium – the muscular heart wall. Our Stud boy Monty had his screening done in May and No evidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) was found. You can view his Echocardiography report on his page. The results of all health / genetic testing can be found on our website on each cat's own page.
Just as an aside, we used the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis for the recent genetic tests. From posting the DNA swabs to getting the results back, took less than 7 days (even though they were posted to the United States). This compares extremely favourably to testing we've done in Australia when it usually takes 3 or 4 weeks to get the results.