Maine Coon hip dysplasia explained in an infographic

This is a cross-post. I hope that it helps to explain hip dysplasia in Maine Coon cats. The x-rays that we see are not very helpful in terms of understanding the disease. So, I decided to produce a very compact and succinct infographic which I hope people will find useful because a lot of people look at websites on their smartphones. They are looking for speed.

As I have said before, it is a great shame that this beautiful cat breed suffers from four serious inherited health problems one of which is hip dysplasia. The diseases don't come about exclusively because of artificial selection i.e. selective breeding but inbreeding is a major contributor to this disease being so prevalent at around a quarter of all Maine Coons.


I can think of three others immediately: spinal atrophy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and patella luxation. The first concerns the spine gradually atrophying i.e. becoming weaker, the second regards a serious heart disease in which the muscle thickens. It begins with a murmur and can end with heart failure and the third in this list concerns a knee cap which pops out of its groove and becomes dislocated. 

The last one is often combined with hip dysplasia as a joint condition. They are all linked to selective breeding because they are all exacerbated by Maine Coon cat breeders who justifiably and understandably seek a cat which has a great appearance and is in line with the breed standard but this should never be the goal at the expense of health.

RELATED: Infographic on extreme Maine Coon muzzle versus Grand Champion muzzle.

In fact, the cat associations state that health should not be compromised but despite it being written into the rules of the cat associations, they allow breeders to create cats which are inherently unhealthy. It mirrors to a large extent what happens in the dog fancy where there is currently a lot of criticism of The Kennel Club which is currently organising the world's largest dog show, Crufts. This event is taking as I type this. Dogs have their fair share of health problems introduced into breeds by breeders. They don't have to exist to the extent that they do.

RELATED: Maine Coon cat breeders: an instructive story of buying from a breeder.

The inability of breeders to minimise these Maine Coon health problems has gone on for many years, decades in fact. Surely it is time for the cat and dog fancy to get their act together and stop breeding cats to extreme, prioritise health over appearance and accept the fact that their cats and dogs are not going to be quite so distinguishable one from the other because their appearances will be more moderate. With moderate (more normal) appearance you create healthier animals.

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