Norwegian Forest Cat health: main diseases of the breed

Diseases of the Norwegian Forest Cat, the most common pathologies in this cat breed. Let’s find out what they can be.

If you have decided to welcome a cat of a particular breed into your home, it is always good to inquire about its needs, the care it needs and what pathologies it could be affected by.

In this article today we will learn about the diseases of the Norwegian Forest Cat.

What are the main health problems that can affect this breed of cat, as can be seen from the name of Norwegian origins and from the semi-long hair.

Common diseases of the Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest Cat is an imposing-looking, wild- natured cat with a large, muscular but athletic build.

Despite this powerful aspect, it is a feline breed that is still subject to certain diseases, mostly hereditary.

However, if the Norwegian Forest cat is treated with care and followed for checks and vaccinations, it can live safely up to 15 years of age.

That is why if you have decided to adopt this cat breed, it is important to know any diseases to which the Norwegian Forest Cat may be subject.

As we mentioned, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a large-sized cat with semi-long hair.

Its coat features two layers of fur: a long, water-repellent top coat and a thick, woolly undercoat. Apparently it doesn’t seem to need any special care, but its appearance hides the truth.

The Norwegian Forest cat is prone to diseases, such as:

  • Obesity and diabetes : despite its muscular and agile body it is a cat subject to obesity if it is not fed in the right way. It will therefore be necessary to control his diet and avoid that he can find himself in a situation of obesity in the cat. In fact, it needs to consume meals based on animal proteins daily, which transforms it into pure energy. Consequently minimize the amount of carbohydrates. The Norwegian Forest Cat also needs to exercise daily, perhaps providing him with different toys, scratching posts. And high shelves to climb. Therefore, to maintain its elegant, long-limbed, strong and robust appearance, it is advisable to follow its diet without ever exaggerating in portions.

Hereditary genetic diseases

The Norwegian Forest Cat can be prone to hereditary genetic conditions, such as:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats : This is the thickening of the ventricular wall in the cat’s heart. This problem occurs in cats aged 4 to 7 and has a familial origin due to one or more mutations of a gene. The increase in the thickness of the ventricular wall reduces the ventricular lumen, consequently it will be able to accept less blood, which will no longer progress and come back. This will create congestive heart failure in the cat, resulting in pulmonary edema in the cat. The affected ventricles can be both right and left, making them stiff and inelastic. Before diagnosing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy it is important to rule out other causes of thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle, such as chronic hypertension, hyperthyroidism and aortic valve stenosis. Since most cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy do not have any symptoms, the diagnosis becomes quite complicated. however, through echocardiography, the veterinarian will be able to observe the structure and dynamic function of the heart. Primary disease treatment can lead to complete resolution of heart conditions.
  • Pk-Def: a haemolytic anemia, that is an anemia in cats due to the low concentration of hemoglobin in the blood due to an excessive degree of destruction of red blood cells, in this case due to the insufficient activity of the regulatory enzyme pyruvate kinase. Anemia is intermittent, as the bone marrow rapidly produces new red blood cells to replace the destroyed ones. It is a rather mild anemia and the cat is able to adapt to compensate for the lower number of red blood cells in the blood, showing only vague signs such as lethargy and lack of appetite. In most cases, therefore, the cat does not risk life, but sometimes it can suddenly manifest itself in more serious forms.
  • GSD4 : is an inherited disorder of glucose metabolism , which can develop in this cat breed. Glycogenosis or Andersen’s disease is part of the hereditary metabolic disorders “due to accumulation” of glycogen, called GSD (Glycogen storage disease) or glycogenosis. It is an autosomal recessive disease: the parents must both be healthy carriers of the mutated gene for the puppy to be born affected by the disease. Glycogen accumulates in some types of cells (muscle, liver and nerve), causing various organ dysfunctions, which can even be lethal.

These hereditary genetic diseases are gradually eradicating as cats carrying these diseases are sterilized.

Other common diseases in cats

There are other diseases that can affect all cats in general, and certainly do not exclude the Norwegian Forest Cat. They can be the following:

  • Toxoplasmosis : Toxoplasmosis in cats is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which finds its final host in the feline where it can reproduce;
  • FeLV (feline leukemia): It is a disease caused by a virus of the Retrovirus family that affects the bone marrow. Transmission occurs through the exchange of blood and saliva, even if not direct. Fortunately, vaccination exists to prevent the problem in domestic cats;
  • FIV: It is a feline immunodeficiency syndrome, caused by a virus similar to human HIV which, like the latter, affects the immune system of cats and causes immunosuppression. It is transmitted through saliva and blood. Unlike FeLV, there is no vaccine but if you intervene in time, you can extend the life of the cat;
  • Periodontitis is : A disease of the cat’s mouth which, if not treated in time, can even be fatal. It particularly affects older cats;
  • Otitis: is the inflammation of the epithelium that covers the ear canal of the auricle. It occurs mainly in cats with low immune defences;
  • Mange: It is also called scabies and is caused by a mite of which there are several species and subspecies. It causes eczema-like symptoms: itching, scabs, patchy hair loss. It is transmissible to other animals and to humans.

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