Burmese kittens are the most likely to be affected
It can also pop up in other breeds, especially the ones who have used burmese in their breeding programme.These malformed kittens has been born since the 1980s as far as we know.
The most common features are: large head with overly large eyes (sometimes open) and a severe cleft palate, underdeveloped extremities and almost no tail. Almost all have big abdominal hernia, sometimes a back hernia. A few have an open skull.
These kittens are alive until the delivery but dies during or right after birth. If you see that the kitten tries to breath it is the body’s response to the hypoxia.
C-section is common as a result of kittens with these abnormalities. The absence of a normal muzzle and a overly large sized head can make the kitten being born with the top of the head first.
It seems to be inherited recessively and we are trying to find the genes and a DNA-test. It is difficult to have any recommendations how to breed not to get affected kittens. We have other diseases to have in mind and a small gene-pool so we can’t afford not to breed cats that produce these kittens. It is also hard to identify carriers, as offsprings with this condition may not be born in every litter after a carrier, but may show up after a few litters.
It is important to send every kitten to the lab, see instructions
We have for a few years had the opportunity to send the kittens to the US but is had been hard to motivate the breeders to do so. Now with help from Dr Leslie Lyons we have got hold of Swedish researcher who can collect the samples and the kittens.