Important Facts About Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency In Cats That You Need To Know


A Pyruvate Kinase deficiency in cats is an enzyme deficiency, which impairs the ability of the red blood cells t0o metabolize. This, in turn, might cause anemia and some other blood-related conditions. The breeds that are more prone to the condition include the domestic shorthair cats, Somali cats, as well as the Abyssinian. Give this article a read and get to learn more about this feline condition.

Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency in Cats: What is this feline condition?

The pyruvate kinase deficiency in cats is a hereditary hemolytic anemia, which is being passed down from parents to their offspring. An affected cat has the absence of the guiding enzyme, pyruvate kinase. Moreover, this particular enzyme is responsible for the energy metabolism used in creating more red blood cells. Deprived of this enzyme, the body of the cat might not be able to make enough erythrocytes, in order to meet the body’s demands. A cat with this abnormality in red blood cell might be mild to sternly anemic. The condition is typically seen in Somali and Abyssinian cat breeds.

Causes of Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

The Pyruvate kinase deficiency in cats is a malady a cat may be is born with, yet the symptoms don’t commonly arise up until the cat gets to reach three years old. The condition is also a genetic mutation associated to certain cat breeds, just like the following:

  • Domestic longhair,
  • Domestic shorthair,
  • Egyptian Mau,
  • LaPerm,
  • Maine Coon,
  • Norwegian Forest,
  • Savannah,
  • Siberian,
  • Singapura,
  • Somali,
  • Bengal, as well as
  • Abyssinian cats.

Moreover, the Somali and Abyssinian cats are stated to be the uppermost carriers of the defective gene as it’s assessed that about 15% – 30% of these two breeds’ populations are affected by the condition.

Symptoms of Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

The most protuberant sign of the pyruvate kinase deficiency in cats is actually –anemia. Further, the deficiency of the circulating red blood cells commonly begins as a mild condition and gets worse over a period of time. Nonetheless, some cats might stay with the mild case of anemia, never falling. The prognosis of anemia might change, as cats with pyruvate kinase deficiency frequently come in and out of the anemic state. A paucity of pyruvate kinase may have various effects on a cat than the other, thus making the indications of this condition inconstant. Consequently, the symptoms of Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency in cats might or might not include: 

  • An enlarged spleen
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of interest in foods
  • Pale mucous membrane
  • Presence of a swollen abdomen
  • Rapid breath
  • Seizures
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness, as well as
  • Weight loss

Prognosis of Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

You’ll need to provide a complete medical history of the cat’s health, comprising the nature and onset of the symptoms, to the veterinarian. He will then conduct a thorough physical examination, as well as a urinalysis, biochemistry profile, and CBC.

Moreover, blood testing might also reveal an increase in the number of platelets and white blood cells, anemia with the strangely large, abnormally-shaped red blood cells, pale red blood cells, and a deviation in the color of red blood cells. Meanwhile, the biochemistry profile might show a spare of iron in the blood, slight increase in the bilirubin, as well as a slight increase in the liver enzymes. Finally, urinalysis might help in revealing high levels of bilirubin.

Treatment for Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

The Pyruvate kinase deficiency in cats has no healing treatment option. The treatment plans for cats with the condition are focused towards the management of the symptoms, as well as the prolonging of the lifespan of the cat. Cats with austere anemia linked with this condition may receive a blood transfusion therapy, in order to replenish the erythrocyte supply of the cat. As the red blood cells carry the oxygen to the different organs in the cat’s body, a cat might be hospitalized, in order to receive an oxygen therapy. In addition, the spleen might enlarge so much in cats with pyruvate kinase deficiency. In this instance, the vet may recommend a splenectomy, or the removal of the spleen.

Moreover, the diagnosis for a cat with pyruvate kinase deficiency varies on the austerity of the condition. A cat that has a mild anemia or an anemia, which comes and goes has a high risk of living a relatively normal, long life. Nevertheless, cats with austere cases of the condition related to anemia possess a high peril of hospitalization, as well as a reduced lifespan. Vets recommend that all of the offspring produced by the detected male or female cats must genetically be tested for the genetic mutation. Additionally, yhe cats with a positive end result on PK Def DNA test must be neutered or spayed, in order to prevent passing the mutation on the future generations.

Management and Living

Cats, which undergo a bone marrow transplant might have a normal life. Unluckily, the cats that are left without any treatment may commonly die by four years old, as a result of the bone marrow failure or a liver failure. Most of the patients may develop austere anemia and buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity during the fatal stage of the condition.


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