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Maine Coon Kitten - problem with joints

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by MCOwner, Apr 16, 2020.


  1. MCOwner

    MCOwner PetForums Newbie

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    My dream was to own & show a Maine Coon and after 10 years of research, I finally bought an exceptionally beautiful pedigree girl from a breeder of good reputation.
    My kitten is now 6 months old but needed surgery as her hips popped out (confirmed hip dysplasia) and her knees are also not good. Such pain for her! The hips will need later surgery now as the knees ended up priority.

    I was told there were no problems and the breeder says none of his other cats have had this problem and seems disinterested.
    Although the kitten is insured, the insurance company is playing up as she’s only weeks into her insurance and they’re doing everything to get out of paying up.((only had the kitten 6 weeks). We’ve already forked out £1400 so will have to deal with the financials later although her health is the priority.

    I know MC can have hip problems but I was confident she was clear.
    I can no longer show the cat. She will have continuous vet visits, a limp and all the other problems associated with hip dysplasia. I am absolutely gutted for my little baby. She’s was such a loving character but her whole personality has changed and she can barely walk. She has lost such a lot of weight too. She’s not the same cat since the problem. I’ve not even had her 2 months.

    Does the breeder have any responsibility or should the owners of the rest of the litter be informed or have I just been stupid by not asking for testing to be done?
    I’m probably being naive (I can’t find a definite answer) but can 1 cat get the HD but not the others in the litter?
    I won’t give my little girl up but if the insurance company does get funny that’s a huge amount of money I don’t have.
    Some advice on options would be great if anyone has any please.
     
  2. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

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    Did the breeder have their cats hips tested and provide the results? That's standard for breeders where I am (along with the HCM scan, HCM DNA, SMA, Pk-Def and any other test results)
    It may well be true the others are fine, I would expect proof of the parents tests.

    Ethically the breeder should offer a health guarantee, legally may be another matter.

    Such a disappointment for you, I hope she's feeling better soon.
     
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  3. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Depending on where you are depends on the quality of HD testing and prevalence amongst breeders. In the UK, it's not the norm to HD test, and the tests themselves are pointless in some ways. They require specialists to view and score, there are only two places in Europe these specialists are: PawPeds and I can't remember the other. They mainly score dogs.

    HD in cats hasn't had a whole lot of investigation done but what investigations have been done have shown that HD's inheritance is random. You can have 10 generations of cats that have perfect hip scores and suddenly one crops up with a bad score. You can have two parents with a bad score that produce cats with perfect hip scores.

    The breeder is correct in that this isn't their fault. However, their disinterested behaviour isn't great. Were it one of my kittens, I would be at the very least offering regular support and I would be offering some financial assistance if I could. It's bad luck, but the insurance should cover it - it was not a condition known at the time of sale and is very unusual in such a young kitten.
     
  4. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I don't think it's entirely accurate to say the genetics of HD is random.
    For one, we know it shows up more in certain breeds, and I believe too, it shows up in females more than males. That points to pretty specific genetics.
    I would say it's more accurate to say that hip dysplasia is a polygenetic trait, meaning it's the function of multiple genes. This is why testing is so important, as it helps build a genetic map if you will of where the gene might be in certain lines. Until breeders start testing regularly, keeping a record of those tests on pedigrees, and building that picture of where the gene might be, there will continue to be situations like the OP's with a poor kitten who will live the rest of her life in pain.


    I absolutely agree that the owners of the rest of the litter should be informed. Especially if they're planning on breeding. Even if their own kittens test clear, they carry some of those genes and IMO should not be bred from. If MCs were a rare breed that would be one thing, but they're not. The only way to stop HD in certain breeds it to stop breeding from affected lines.
     
  5. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    The most recent study indicates that there is no difference between male and female, but there is a difference in age and size.

    I agree testing is important, but the accessibility of testing and scoring for cats is dreadful. You can't have a canine specialist look at the x-rays, it has to be a feline specialist. The xrays have to be done in just the right way, in most cases the cat needs to be sedated which carries its own risks. For an accurate score, they can only be sent to PawPeds and this other clinic in Europe, as they require experienced specialists to give an accurate score. A regular vet cannot hip score in cats. We need more accessibility to testing to increase the prevalence of testing.

    The PawPeds health programme has been running since 2000 and they are still only looking at small numbers of cats. The most recent study looked at just over 5000 cats, in the UK alone there were 1980 kittens registered in 2019. The study numbers are too small, but that then goes back to my previous points.

    I also agree that it's polygenetic, as does much of the research, what I meant by random is that there is no obvious signs of inheritance. As I said, two healthy parents can produce a badly suffering kitten and two parents with horrendous hip scores can produce generations of perfect hip score kittens. Of course we don't know until parents are tested, but then it goes back to my previous point.
     
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  6. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Also no, geneticists have advised the PawPeds health programme that breeding with Grade 1 score cats is acceptable, provided they are mated with cats graded Normal
     
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  7. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

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    It would be very helpful if you and the other people mentioning 'a study' could give a URL for it.
     
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  8. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Just because something is difficult to do right doesn't mean it shouldn't be done right.
    Ethical breeding - not breeding cats who will suffer for life because of malformed joints, is not easy. If it were there wouldn't be so many irresponsible, unethical breeders out there!
    Of course sedation is required, of course you will need a specialist to read the x-rays. That's part and parcel of doing the right thing when it comes to deciding which cats are suitable for breeding.
    Breeders need to step up and do the right thing IMO. That's the only way things will change.
     
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  9. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    I would agree if it were difficult, however in many areas it is nigh on impossible. Testing needs to be more accessible if breeders for breeders to do it.
     
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  10. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    What is so impossible about it? The only difficulty is finding a vet who knows how to place the cat but other than that, you're just talking downloading a form and sending in x-rays. Of course the cat has to be permanently identifiable via microchip but don't all registries already require that?

    The more breeders test, and ask for tests, the more vets will learn how to take x-rays. It's not terrifically hard, they just have to follow the guidelines.
     
  11. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    And therein lies the impossibility for most. Many vets don't know how to place the cat
     
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  12. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Well according to PawPeds, it's the same placement as for dogs, and there are plenty of vets who perform dog hip x-rays.
    "The same routines should be used as radiographing a dog’s hips. The pelvis and the knee joints should be seen on the radiographs. The legs should lie parallel and the knee joint should lie in a straight line with the thighbone. The legs should not to be rotated inwards or outwards." (from https://pawpeds.com/healthprogrammes/HDinfoVet.html)

    I think sometimes 'it's hard' becomes a convenient excuse for breeders who don't want the hassle and expense of hip scoring. And of course breeders may not want the results published either. But that is the only way to eventually stop the disease from spreading throughout the breed.
    Right now HD is not a huge issue - yet. Unless breeders work together to keep it from becoming one, I see MC's ending up like some breeds of dogs where you hope the HD just isn't severe :(
     
  13. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    For my part, I have struggled to find a vet that will do it. I am absolutely behind testing, I'm in full agreement with you that breeders need to test test test.
     
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  14. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I hope you did eventually :)
    I would imagine that this is where breeder contacts and a good mentor can really help.
    Clearly there are breeders who are hip scoring. They would be the best ones to help find a vet who is doing those x-rays I would think.
     
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  15. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    Sadly I am still struggling. Very few breeders in the UK hip score, no demand so no supply (I'm not sure I know any actually). I have a mentor and extensive breeder contacts, both in the UK and Europe but no joy. Vet care in the UK is woeful.
     
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  16. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Rufus15 - "vet care in the UK is woeful" is a sweeping generalisation. Many people, including me, have a very different and much more positive experience of UK vet capabilities.

    I assume your low opinion of UK vets is based upon your experiences when you lived outside the UK and used the vet services in other countries? I am curious to know which countries those were.
     
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  17. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @Rufus15
    If someone who claims 'ethical' breeder status, is not testing their breeding cats for hip dysplasia in a breed known for hip dysplasia, that is worrying.

    Why not rather than making excuses, you take a bit of initiative and be a better breeder and try to get your fellow breeders to join in. Versus giving buyers of your cats a potential ticking time bomb in terms of their cats health and well being. Plus the well being of the cats you are breeding.

    Everything has to begin somewhere.
     
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  18. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    My opinion is based on working with other breeders elsewhere and seeing examples of far superior vet care across a number of different countries. The great thing about breeding is having access to people across the world who have 30-40+ years of seeing everything and anything possible in cats.
     
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  19. Rufus15

    Rufus15 Banned

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    I'm not making excuses, nor is hip dysplasia a "ticking time bomb".

    At present I am working on finding a vet who will do the checks I need. What's that saying, getting my own house in order first.
     
  20. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    It is a ticking time bomb, if you are possibly breeding cats who have the genetic predisposition to hip dysplasia, which you very well might be. You don't know, so the people you sell your cats to, will not know.
    Unfortunately, you have already had at least one litter. But good, you will hopefully get checks before breeding further.
     
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