Merosin muscular dystrophy in Maine Coons?

I'm going to refer to what I think is a rare inherited condition in Maine Coon cats. I'm referring to it because Sarah Hartwell in her website refers to it and her website is a good authority.

Merosin muscular dystrophy apparently can affect all domestic cats including Maine Coons and Siamese cats. The symptoms are progressive hind-limb weakness from 2-5 months old.

Maine Coon kitten
Maine Coon kitten. This kitten did not have merosin muscular dystrophy. Photo: Helmi Flick.

Online, there is a study concerning a follow-up to a Persian-mixed cat that suffered from merosin deficient muscular dystrophy. It began at six months of age and progressed over the next three years. The cat had difficulty walking at eight months of age and died at the age of five years and three months. The cause of death was acute respiratory disorder. This individual was born in an inbred colony. A related cat showed similar clinical signs. The study confirms that it is rare as only a few cases of this disease have been reported in cats.

Another word for merosin is laminin α2.

I have a full page on inherited diseases which may affect a Maine Coon cat (click this link to see that page). For the sake of completeness, I'm going to list the genetic diseases/conditions that might affect a Maine coon cat as set out by Sarah Hartwell on her website:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;
  • haemophilia;
  • hip dysplasia;
  • luxating patella;
  • merosin deficient myopathy (as stated above);
  • polydactyly (a benign condition not a disease);
  • reproductive issues (Maine Coons tend to have larger kittens on average);
  • spinal muscular atrophy.


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