Every breed has genetically related health predispositions. Abys are no different. Here is a partial list of afflictions that are most often associated with Abys. The genetic link to some of these has been well established (e.g. PKd). The other conditions may or may not have a proven genetic link. What diseases are hereditary in Abys are a hotly debated subject among breeders.
Whether genetically linked or not, common in all cats or just familial in a few breeds including Abys, we take no position. However, the following can occur in Abys.
Note: click on the topic titles to link to go to reference websites
PKd : Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency
A genetically transmissible condition that manifests itself as anemia. PKd affects several breeds of cats and dogs, among them Abys. Testing for this disease became available several years ago. A cat that can carry the mutant genes responsible for this condition can be either a normal ( no gene), a carrier (one gene) or an affected (both genes). Only the affected can develop anemia. All our Abys have been tested and by selective breeding we can prevent the occurrence of an affected so none of our current Abys will ever develop this anemia. Unfortunately before we knew of PKd we produced at least three affected Abys of which we are aware. One passed away from this condition at age four. The other two are still alive and currently doing fine.
Renal (Kidney) Amyloidosis
Often called RA, it is a condition that strikes all breeds but is often described as familial in Abys. How often it occurs is difficult to say as renal failure in cats is common and RA can only be accurately diagnosed if a necropsy is performed.
We lost one stud a few years ago to renal failure and we did have a necropsy performed. No amyloids were found in his kidneys.
Based on our relationships with other breeders we tend to think that the number of RA occurrences are very low. We may be wrong since few owners who lose their cat to kidney failure are willing to pay for a necropsy. Also we can't neglect the possibility that some breeders may be reluctant to divulge occurrences. This leaves open the possibility that RA could be under-reported.
Good dental care is important so don't neglect it. Look and smell (yes, smell) your Aby's teeth occasionally. Decaying teeth in a cat can cause anything from severe personality changes to serious health consequences brought on by infection byproducts.
Gingivitis occurs in many breeds and certainly in Abys. The possible causes are almost endless and some are scary. Good dental care is important so don't neglect it.
To reduce the likelihood of dental problems limit the intake of dry food and have you're Aby's teeth examined by your vet often.
Basically this is a condition where the kneecap can be easily dislocated. Grades are assigned to denote how easy the kneecap will be moved out of place. This condition is most often associated with dogs but it does occur in cats. In more severe cases a cat may be unable to climb or jump.
Our vet checks all our kittens for this condition. Some vets do not know that this can be a feline condition and therefore do not include this check in their examination. Make sure your vet checks.
PRA: Progressive Retinal Atrophy
A hereditary eye disease that causes blindness in cat. It is rare in cats but Abys seem to be predisposed. Like PKd a cat be either be a normal ( no gene), a carrier (one gene) or an affected (both genes). Only the affected can develop this condition. In the winter of 2008 a genetic test for this condition became available from UC Davis. All our breeding Abys were tested and the results for all tests were normal.
Psychogenic alopecia or overgrooming: Are Abys more predisposed than other breeds? Probably not but I'm sure this condition does occur in Abys. Our pet (spayed) Aby, BBC, has a habit of overgrooming a spot on her body anytime we have a new litter that takes too much of our time. Stress or is it her way of telling us she needs time too?
Is there a genetic link? I could not find any supporting evidence. Likely the overgrooming is a natural feline response to stress and anxiety. If it is genetic, it may be the result of an indirect effect caused by lines that produce overstrung cats.