Spinal Muscular Atrophy
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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in Maine Coon cats is caused by a large deletion in chromosome A1 that eliminates two genes.
SMA is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion. Affected kittens, having two copies of the deletion, will have inherited a deletion from both parents.
Carriers of the SMA deletion (carrying only one copy) show no signs of the disease. If two carriers mate then by probability, approximately 25% of kittens will have SMA.
A simple DNA test to identify the SMA deletion is now available for Maine Coons. A simple cheek swab can be sent to our laboratory to identify whether a cat is either affected or a carrier.
The test can be performed on cats of any age, so long as you can obtain a reliable sample.