Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is now available through Langford Vets to determine coat patterns, colours and also a number of genetic deseases. One that has been highlighted as of concern for both the Siamese and Burmese is the PRA rdAc Progressive Retinal Atrophy).

Feline progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is characterized by progressive degeneration of the photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the retina.

Affected cats typically develop late onset blindness; having normal vision at birth but developing clincal signs at 1 to 2 years of age and blindness by 3 to 5 years.

A single nucleotide polymorphism (rdAc) in the CEP290 gene produces a defective protein that is associated with PRA. This is an inherited genetic disease.

There is no way of knowing that a kitten has this problem without genetic testing and it is only likely to develop if a kitten receives two copies of the gene.

A Normal result on the PRA genetic assay means that the cat does not have the rdAc genetic mutation. It is possible that some cats may go on to develop retinal atrophy due to other, as yet unidentified, genetic mutations.

A Heterozygous result on the PRA genetic assay means that the cat carries one copy of the rdAc genetic mutation. This cat is a carrier of PRA.

A Homozygous result on the PRA genetic assay means that the cat carries two copies of the rdAc genetic mutation and will be affected by PRA.

I am now testing all my studs and a number of my queens in order to control the spread of this genetic problem. If any of my studs are show to be Heterozygous (carrier) then I will be asking that all queens wanting to visit that stud be tested and I see a copy of the result. Any kittens going into a breeding programme and born to parents where it is know that one is a carrier will be tested prior to leaving me and the adopting Breeder advised of the result.

These genetic tests are available at a small cost and responsible breeders should make use of them to ensure that they are doing their best to produce healthy kittens that will live long and happy lives. Members of Breedclub that have registered with Langford can obtain a discount when quoting the Promotion code.