Cystic renal disease occurs with a low prevalence in Maine Coons

I think this point needs to be made. 'Cystic renal disease' is referring in this instance to polycystic kidney disease or PKD. The Maine Coon Expert site incorrectly states that the Maine Coon has a predisposition to developing this disease. I base that assertion on a study published online which has been referred to by other websites. The headline to this article is the exact words taken from the study.

Feline PKD ultrasound scan
Feline PKD ultrasound scan. Image: Clinician's Brief.

The scientists also stated that the PKD in Maine Coons, when it occurs, is unrelated to the PKD observed in Persians and related breeds. However, they do conclude that ultrasonographical findings compatible with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are not uncommon in juvenile Maine Coons.

I interpret that to mean that young Maine Coons can show indications that they will develop chronic kidney disease. But this is not PKD. CKD is common in all elderly domestic cats and a main reason for euthanasia.

The study checked out 187 healthy Maine Coon cats (MCs). They say that chronic kidney disease was indicated in 5.3% of the cats i.e. 10 of the cats participating.

They also state that renal cysts were found in seven cats. That is seven out of 187. They were mostly single cysts and on one side i.e. on one kidney. They had an average size of 3.6 mm. They were located at the corticomedullary junction. Genetic tests on six of the cats for PKD were negative for the mutation and they did not demonstrate any common genetic sequences.

I interpret that as meaning that there were no common genetic inherited causes for PKD in MCs which supports the notion that this is not an inherited disease in MCs and therefore not prevalent in this breed.

The study took place over eight years at one institution. The research is published on the Pub Med website and is dated 2013. It is called: Maine Coon renal screening: ultrasonographical characterisation and preliminary genetic analysis for common genes in cats with renal cysts.

The purpose of this article is to, I hope, reassure anybody who is thinking of adopting a Maine Coon cat who is doing due diligence on health issues that this beautiful cat breed does not have an apparent predisposition to PKD as is the case for Persians where the disease is present in about 35% of all contemporary Persian cats.


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