Monday, August 11, 2014

Manx Syndrome and Arthritis In Manx Cats

Manx cat
Manx cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Black Manx cat. "GOLFSTICKS." OWNED ...
Black Manx cat. "GOLFSTICKS." OWNED BY Miss SAMUELS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: This cat was named Minus as a nicknam...
English: This cat was named Minus as a nickname for Minus-Tail. She is a Manx and mother to: Beatrice, Dante, Beatrice 1 week, and alternative picture :This is obviously a "riser" Manx, not a "rumpy". She has a bit of cartilage at the end of the spine causing a tail bump (though not a full stump) to rise from the back. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 04:06, 15 October 2011 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was surprised to find out of the level of health issues that you can have with the Manx cat breed. I have always had a healthy Manx and compared to his adopted plain ole domestic cat siblings, my Manx has always had exceptional health.
Manx Syndrome is a spinal defect that occurs in Manx kittens. It is part of the package as the syndrome is part of the genetic mutation breeders seek in order to produce tail-lessness.

The syndrome includes fused vertebrae, gaps in the vertebrae and spina bifida.
The Symptoms for this condition appear between birth and four months. Breeders often will not home Manx kittens, until they are sure they are free of Manx syndrome. The symptoms include fecal incontinence, bladder problems, bowl blockages, hind leg paralysis and a crippled gait.

Obviously, if you use a reputable breeder to obtain your Manx you will not see these problems in your kitten. Manx syndrome is less common today as breeders take actions to prevent the birth of kittens with the syndrome. The syndrome is actually linked to having the tail be breed to be too short. Not having a tail at all is not such a problem, as having one that is too short, but not totally missing.
I do not have a show Manx so I am not sure about showing breed standards.

 Many breeders now amputate in-between tails to avoid arthritis. Again my Manx has no tail and I am not sure if the breeder took of a stubby tail or if he was just born completely without one. Docking the kittens tail is probably falls under best practice for partial tailed Manx as arthritis in the tail, can lead to the cat having to have the tail remains amputated as an adult cat. Obviously, that is a situation most Manx owners would want to avoid. There is such a thing as a whole tailed Manx offspring. These cats are called longys but are not true genetically because they do not carry the tailless gene. Our Longy is named Loki, he is about two and half and already has significant tail arthritis. I am not sure since he did not carry the Manx gene why this is true. Our vet indicated that just being an offspring of a pure bred Manx might account for the situation. He is not a cat specialist so I can not vouch if this is the reason Loki has arthritic tail or not.

The amputation of partial Manx tails is actually illegal in some places like Cornwall. They breeders do not want non-Manx cats sold as Manx. However, the over roundness of a Manx and their unique ears , makes identifying them from cats who are tailless for other reasons then genetics pretty easy. Manx mixed kittens are a good option for people with an appreciation of the breed for a pet. Loki has a much more dog like disposition than our other cats, despite the fact a Manx was his father and a run of the mill domestic short haired tuxedo cat was his mother. He was the only off spring of his father’s we ever kept, because of temperament. Loki is very dog like and a neighborhood favorite. Our Manx is a pet and not a breeding cat, so he produced a few stubby tailed kittens. They were always scooped up by neighbors who liked the look, even if they were not pure bred Manx.

I do not recall any health problems with the half tailed cats. In retrospect, I would not have let my Manx breed because of cat over population, but he was a porch cat up until age 15, and fathered his last litter at 18. They have all been well placed kittens. He came in off the porch at 15 and at 21 is more than happy to be an indoor cat. His son however, is an outdoor cat. He is a favorite of the neighborhood and was fixed.

A cautionary note, he was fixed two young. Loki had a third ball( not a Manx trait) or the vet missed one. Now we have to go back and have him fixed again. Like amputating a arthritic tail, it will be much more traumatizing to an adult cat. Loki supposed offspring is Cosmo , who is a round headed tiger cat. He is now about 14 weeks. He looks like a Manx with a tail, so denying my neighbor’s claim of Loki paternity is futile. If anyone who reads this would like Cosmo kitty and lives near Anderson Indiana, he can be yours. Email and I will tell you more. He is free but I have to make sure he gets a really good home.

The best financial investment I ever made pet wise was a breed Manx. In general the health risks are outweighed by the fact most owners who have pet Manx that enjoy exceptional health for a very long time.

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