Gangliosidosis is a disease caused by the accumulation of a specific kind of lipids known as gangliosides. Lipids are a kind of fat. Korats are a breed of cat which has short blue hair and a low percentage of body fat. Normally cells can break down and digset this lipid, but when a defect in the cells’ ability to break them down, the accumulation damages the cells leading to the disease. Gangliosidosis is a disease known to affect to all kind of cats but what should be kept in mind is that it is genetic and if carriers are not removed, they will be passed on through breeding. There are two types of the disease that persist, namely GM1 and GM2. Both types are different from each other but then again are types of the same disease. Cats can be great pets for anyone to have and Korats especially are an intelligent and playful breed, great for any pet owner to have.
Both types of Gangliosidosis affect nerve cells and effects of the disease can be seen in cats on the basis of neurological activity. GM1 affects a little later and spreads slower while GM2 starts at an earlier age and spreads much quicker. Symptoms include head tremors in young kittens which are followed by restricted coordination before finally moving on to paralysis. If allowed to progress till the very end, it may lead to the animal suffering seizures. Tests can be conducted to discover if kittens or adult cats carry the disease and if such things are caught or discovered at an early stage, they can be treated better and chances of survival and reduction of pain reduce greatly, in some cases, they are removed completely and animals can go on to live healthy and long lives.
Both male and female korat cats are equally likely to inherit Gangliosidosis. What is important to note is that genes that are defective in the disease must be inherited from both parents, and is thus what is called an autosomal recessive disease. If the animal was to receive a normal version of the gene from either mother or father, the cat would have no visible symptoms because the body can use the normal gene to make up for the defective one. An animal with one normal and one defective gene is called a carrier, and has a chance to transmit the disease to their offspring if mated with another cat who is a carrier or has two copies of the defective gene, and hence symptoms also.
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Because treatements for Gangliosidosis are aimed mainly at symptomatic relief and are not very effective, the old adage, that prevention is better than cure is pertinent here more than ever. If you are a cat lover or breeder and suspect that your Korat may have Gangliosidosis visit your nearest veterinarian. If you would like to know if your Korat is a carrier, some centers have developed specific tests that analyze the Korat’s DNA and provide a definitive answer.