Youngest Maine Coon cat with hip dysplasia was 4 months old (study)

This is a study I have visited before. Perhaps like others, I had the impression that hip dysplasia in Maine Coons arrived perhaps in middle-age and got worse as the cat got older. However, in this study of 2,732 cats of which 2708 (99.9%) were Maine Coons, they found that the youngest cat with feline hip dysplasia (FHD) was for months old. This information may interest people with Maine Coon cats if they are wondering whether their cat companion has hip dysplasia because they are young.

Note: these kittens are here to illustrate the page. I have no knowledge of their health.

We are told that Maine Coons don't become adult until they are about four years old so we have a cat with this inherited disease who is still a toddler in cat years.

The study scientists said that they performed 96.2% of the radiographs on cats between the age of four months and 60 months.

Overall, they found that 635/2548 (24.9%) of the cats suffered from FHD. There was a tendency for males to have it more than females (a prevalence of 27.3% for males and 23.3% for females).

The percentage of cats who had FHD in both hind legs was 56% and in these cats the hip dysplasia was more severe than cats with the disease in one leg only. And the age of the cat did not make any difference.

In comparison, one website (Michigan State University) tells us that just over 5% of mixed breed shorthair cats contract hip dysplasia in their life.

Hip dysplasia is not a known inherited disease in the other cat breeds. Why is this? As it is a genetically inherited disease, the only reason, as I see it, is because in the early days the creators of the breed used foundation cat that carried the genes causing the disease. And they magnified the disease through inbreeding.

Perhaps in those early days they were less tuned into inheritable genetic diseases and simply chose the cats on appearance alone. But this failure as I would describe it must be placed at the feet of the early breeders of this cat which is the second most popular currently according to the CFA after the Ragdoll.

Why isn't it eradicated by 'culling' cats carrying the disease? Answer: because it would damage the breed as a whole as the disease is so well established. The appearance is so refined now after many decades of artificial breeding. To remove the FHD cats would be to start again more or less. I can't happen. If they could do it, they'd have rectified this major health issue years ago.


  1. Hi Michael, my 7 month old MC mix does have hip dysplasia. I am going through the processes now

    1. Wow. I am sad to hear it. Bad news for you both. Thanks for telling me. There are several posts on this site about hip dysplasia. I wish you the very best on this difficult journey.


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