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Qu'est ce-que c'est la PKD ?

Polycystic Kidney disease (PKD) is a slowly progressive, irreversible, hereditary kidney disease, which implicates that there are already cysts present at birth and usually in both kidneys. These cysts are cavities filled with fluids that originate from normal kidney tissue. In kittens these cavities are in the majority of cases very small (1 to 2 mm). As the animal matures these cavities will become larger (even larger than 2 cm) In one kidney there can be as many as 20 to 200 cysts present.

The average age of kidney failure in cats with PKD is 7 years, but some cats will suffer from kidney failure at an earlier age and some cats much later, and in fact succumb to something other than PKD. Ultimately, PKD can result in renal failure, with clinical signs similar to those of cats with naturally occurring kidney failure.

La génétique de PKD

Genetic studies in cats have shown that PKD in cats is autosomal dominant. This means only one parent needs the gene to pass it onto the offspring. With a recessive inheritated disorder both father and mother have to pass down the abnormality to show the disease. If a cat is genetically free of PKD it is not possible to pass it onto offspring.

La diagnostique de PKD

DNA test

Recently the gene responsible for PKD in cats has been isolated by researchers in the US. A commercial test, which is said to be very reliable, is now available. Whether or not a cat is positive for PKD can be determined through a saliva or blood sample. At this moment the test is only developed for Persians and Exotics. So a DNA test is not yet reliable, and not necessary for Maine Coon cats.


PKD is most easily diagnosed by ultrasound, which can identify the disease very early in its course. All that is required is a mid-ventral abdominal area hair-clip and a short time period for imaging to detect the possible presence of cysts. It takes a few minutes, with little or no sedation needed. Small cysts can be detected as early as six to eight weeks of age. After the age of 10 months of age ultrasound diagnosis is 95% accurate.

It is important to have the ultrasound done by a veterinary who is familiar with this kind of examinations and who has the right equipment (7,5 – 10 MHz Transducer). The higher frequency, the better details.


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