Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is an inherited condition that causes multiple cysts to form in the kidneys. It has become quite common amongst certain cat breeds, like Persians, but is still rare in other breeds.
Persian cats have the highest risk of PKD, with roughly one-third of all Persians diagnosed with the condition.
The cysts are present at birth and are initially very small, but they will gradually grow through the cat’s life.
The number of cysts and the growth rate varies in every cat, but in most cats the cysts enlarge slowly, so signs of the disease don’t appear until later in life, often around 7 years old.
Extreme cases may disrupt kidney function, resulting in kidney failure.
Diagnosis can be made via blood, urine and genetic tests. If you’re looking at purchasing a Persian, make sure they have been tested for the defective gene first. If they have the gene, they should not be bred.
There is sadly no specific treatment for PKD, but special diets, fluid therapy and nausea reducing medication can help treat the symptoms.