Pyruvate kinase deficiency in cats: symptoms and remedies

Pyruvate kinase deficiency is a very rare pathology in cats: let’s find out what are the symptoms and remedies of the pathology.

There are several pathologies that can affect both humans and our four-legged friends. Some of them are poorly understood, such as pyruvate kinase deficiency, which affects cats quite rarely. In any case, it is always good to learn to recognize the symptoms, to be ready for the eventuality.

What is that

The pyruvate kinase (PK) is an enzyme used by the body in the process of glycolysis.

The substance plays a fundamental role in the production of energy for our cells, and consequently for the body. The pyruvate deficiency affects this aspect; in particular, the number of red blood cells in the blood falls below the ordinary level.

This can lead to the onset of certain diseases, such as haemolytic anemia, myelofibrosis and reduced liver function. It is a hereditary disease, which the cat inherits from its parents. Its appearance in the cat is rare, and even more rare in the specimen that is less than five years old.

On the other hand, there are some breeds that are more predisposed to being affected by the disease:

  • Abyssinian
  • Egyptian Mau
  • Bengal cat
  • Somali
  • Siberian
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Maine Coon

Symptoms of pyruvate kinase deficiency in cats

As mentioned, the pyruvate kinase deficiency acts on the correct functioning of the energy production process in the cat, therefore the main symptom is to be found in the lethargy and fatigue of the feline.

Another typical sign of the disease is the cat’s lack of appetite, related to the decrease in weight, especially if action is not taken promptly. Another symptom, usually secondary and connected to those already described is jaundice.

Therapeutic treatment

In the presence of the symptoms described, it is necessary to contact your trusted veterinarian to intervene promptly.

It is also true that, where the pyruvate kinase deficiency occurs in the already elderly cat with only the symptom of lethargy, it may not be particularly easy to identify the disorder, which could easily be associated with the advanced age of our four-legged friend.

Also for this reason it is always necessary to carry out a routine visit, at least once a year. The diagnosis is usually quite simple: PK deficiency or lack is detected by the cat ‘s blood tests. Unfortunately, to date there are no effective treatments in definitively eradicating the disease.

Fortunately, many animals are healthy carriers of the disease, not experiencing any symptoms or still managing to lead a normal life. Certainly it is possible to act in a preventive way, preventing the mating of the specimens that are affected by it.

A test on cats belonging to the species most vulnerable to pyruvate kinase deficiency is generally recommended.

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