Breed-related disease: Siamese cat

John K. Rosembert

Siamese, popular short-haired breed of domestic cat originally from Thailand, a country whose official name was Siam until 1939. The Siamese is a lithe long-bodied cat with slim legs and a long slim tail. It has a long wedge-shaped head and blue eyes. They have a distinctive “pointed” coat: a light-colored background with darker points on the ears, mask, legs, and tail in the seal, lilac, chocolate and blue. Other point colors include tabby, red, cream , silver and smoke. The Siamese was first exported from Siam to the United States in 1878 and the United Kingdom in 1884. By 1902 the first cat fanciers club devoted to the Siamese cat had been established in the United Kingdom, and by 1906 the Cat Fanciers’ Association had officially recognized the breed.
The Siamese come in two types: “show and traditional”. The show Siamese is a work of modern art, all lines, and angles. He has a tubular body on long legs, a wedge-shaped head with large, triangular ears, and a long tail. The traditional Siamese, also known as the apple-headed Siamese, has a rounded head and chunky body. Both types have bright blue eyes that demand worship due to all cats. Whether you choose a show Siamese or a traditional Siamese, they should share the same wonderful personality.

They are endlessly curious but inclined to be smart and demanding. This is a cat who has a passion for his people and will involve himself in everything they are doing.

Here are some of the common health issues to watch out for in Siamese

  1. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): Siamese cats are prone to this genetic eye problem which leads to progressive blindness. For diagnosis and to help your cat lead as normal a life as possible with PRA, input is needed from a veterinary ophthalmologist.
  2. Systemic amyloidosis: This is where protein builds up in various organs, stopping them from working properly, typically resulting in severe liver damage and / or kidney failure. This is a fatal disease.
  3. Mediastinal lymphoma: This form of cancer causes a buildup of fluid around the lungs. From chemo and steroids through to possible surgery, a vet should be able to advise you on the best way forward.
  4. Asthma: Siamese are one of the cat breeds most susceptible to this disease of the airway. Treatment options include anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilator therapy.
  5. Hip dysplasia: Siamese can be predisposed to this form of lameness of the hind leg, caused by abnormal development of the hip joint. It can’t be cured-but it can often be controlled.
  6. Vestibular Disease: Some Siamese cats develop vestibular disease. This is a genetic problem having to do with the inner ear, specifically the nerves serving the ear. Cats with vestibular disease will display symptoms consistent with a loss of balance, such as head tilting.



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