Hereditary cataract in the Bengal cat in Poland

Kucharczyk, N and Cislo-Pakuluk, A and Stefanowicz, P and Bedford, P (2020) Hereditary cataract in the Bengal cat in Poland. BMC Veterinary Research, 16 (1). ISSN 1746-6148

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Background: This paper reports the significant prevalence of a presumed hereditary cataract in the Bengal cat breed in Poland. The nuclear part of the lens is affected and previous reports from Sweden and France for this type of feline cataract suggest that a recessive mode of inheritance is probably involved. Results: Presumed congenital or neonatal cataract involving the posterior nuclear part of each lens was initially diagnosed in a 12 month old male Bengal cat. As both parents and a sibling were also affected with cataract, a group of 18 related and 11 non-related cats was then subsequently examined. Eight related cats and one non- related cat were found to be similarly affected. A breed survey was then completed using an additional five centres across Poland and a further 190 related cats were examined. A total of 223 cats have been involved in this study, with 75 (33%) being affected with several types of cataract and 67 (30%) being specifically affected with the same or similar nuclear lesions. Eight cats (3.6%) presented with other cataract types and a prominence of the posterior lens suture lines was recorded in 65 cats unaffected with cataract (29%). There were no demonstrable vision problems. Neither age nor coat colour was significantly associated with the nuclear cataract, but the nuclear cataract group had a higher proportion of females than the unaffected group. Pedigree analysis has indicated probable inheritance as a recessive trait. Conclusions: These findings suggest that a presumably inherited nuclear cataract is present in the Bengal cat breed in Poland. It is considered to be either congenital or of very early onset, probably being inherited as a recessive trait. Although the lesion has no noticeable effect on vision, breeders in Poland and worldwide should be aware of the disease and clinical examination of young breeding stock prior to reproduction is advisable.

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