Common Diseases of Persian Cats

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: September 2, 2018
Common Diseases of Persian Cats

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Persian cats are one of the oldest and popular breeds in the world. Due to their peculiar physical build, Persian cats suffer from certain recurring problems. This does not mean that Persian cats are necessarily unhealthy, but you should be aware of their risks and needs in order to prevent diseases and notice them in time.

In this AnimalWised article, we will go over the most common diseases of Persian cats so that you can learn how to prevent them. Take note and don't forget to visit the vet regularly to ensure your cat is perfectly healthy.

You may also be interested in: Common Diseases of Siamese Cats

Hairballs and trichobezoars

Persian cats are known for their long and dense coat. Therefore, they are more likely to suffer from trichobezoars than other cats with shorter hair. Trichobezoars are hairballs that form in the cat's stomach and digestive tract.

Cats can usually regurgitate hairballs, but occasionally they accumulate in the stomach. When this happens, cats suffer badly and may even have serious health consequences. The veterinarian must urgently intervene to solve the problem.

In order to prevent hairballs and trichobezoars you should comb your Persian cat daily and ensure you remove all dead hair. If you suspect your cat may suffer from hairballs, give them some malt for cats or pharmaceutical paraffin oil. Here you can learn more about caring for a Persian cat's coat.

Common Diseases of Persian Cats - Hairballs and trichobezoars

Polycystic kidney disease

Persian cats are very prone to polycystic kidney disease. This means that cysts develop in the kidney area, growing and multiplying if left untreated. It is estimated that 38% of Persian cats suffer from this hereditary disease.

This high probability is why Persian cats should have annual ultrasounds after they are one year old. Un-monitored affected Persian cats often suddenly collapse at 7 to 8 years old and die due to kidney problems.

If you find that your Persian cat has renal cysts, the veterinarian will apply the appropriate treatment to alleviate the condition.

Common Diseases of Persian Cats - Polycystic kidney disease

Respiratory problems

Persian cats are easily recognizable for their flat face and huge, round eyes. Sadly, these features make them susceptible to developing health problems.

Having such a small nose causes the nasal passage to be very short and more sensitive to the cold, heat, moisture or dry environment. This affects the efficiency of the cat's breathing, which is the reason why Persian cats are less active than other breeds. The respiratory system of Persian cats is not so effective, which makes oxygenating their blood more difficult.

Common Diseases of Persian Cats - Respiratory problems

Heart problems

One consequence of the lack of correct breathing is that it is quite likely that your Persian cat will sooner or later develop a heart problem. This situation is still more likely if the cat suffers from obesity.

Less than 10% of Persian cats suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This heart condition means that the left chamber of the heart muscle is more developed, which can cause the cat to suddenly die. This disease affects almost only male cats, while female Persian cats are much less affected by it.

Common Diseases of Persian Cats - Heart problems

Eye problems

The special shape of a Persian cat's eyes can also cause problems. The most common ocular diseases of Persian cats include:

  • Congenital ankyloblepharon is an inherited abnormality that usually occurs in blue-eyed Persian cats. It consists of the union through a membrane between the upper and lower eyelids.
  • Congenital epiphora consists of an excessive tearing of the tear duct, which results in oxidation of the hair around the eyes and infection by bacteria or fungi in the affected area. There are specific medications to alleviate this anomaly. It is an hereditary disease.
  • Entropion is when the eyelashes rub and irritate the cat's cornea as a result of the inversion of the eyelid edge. It causes excessive tearing, where the cat has narrowed eyes and a corneal vascularisation which produces ulcerations. It requires surgical treatment.
  • Primary glaucoma. Excessive blood pressure in the eye which results in opacity and vision loss. It should be treated by surgery.
Common Diseases of Persian Cats - Eye problems

Less common diseases of Persian cats

These diseases and conditions are much rarer than the common ones described above, but your Persian cat is still at some risk of suffering from them.

  • Oculocutaneous albinism is a recessive trait that causes a mild autosomal kind of albinism which affects the cat's fur, making it lighter than normal. The effects of this anomaly are more evident when the cat suffers from photophobia and is more sensitive to infections. The veterinarian should treat the symptoms. Here you can learn all about caring for an albino cat.
  • Skin fold dermatitis refers to irritation of the Persian cat's facial creases as a result of excessive tear overflow.
  • Oily seborrhea. Symptoms include scaly and/or greasy skin. Oily seborrhea should be treated by a veterinarian.
  • Patellar luxation causes lameness and prevents the cat from jumping without hesitation.
  • Hip dysplasia appears when the joint between the top of the femur and the socket of the hip fails. It causes lameness and pain when moving.
  • Kidney stones must be removed through surgery. 80% of obese Persian cats suffer from this ailment.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Common Diseases of Persian Cats, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.

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