The Devon Rex breed is know to carry an autosomal recessive gene that causes severe disease. Breeders look for it in young kittens by watching them in the litter box. Healthy kittens will assume a standard squatting posture and hold it while they empty their bladders. In affected kittens, their heads will drop while voiding until they contact the side of the litter box. What is the name of this disease?
Diagnosis: Inherited Myopathy (Spasticity) of Devon Rex Cats
Cats affected with inherited myopathy suffer from generalized weakness that worsens with exercise. They often hold their heads low and walk with an abnormal gait almost like they are drunk. The smooth muscle of the esophagus is affected as is the skeletal muscle. Many of these cats will die of laryngeal spasms after a piece of food becomes lodged in their windpipe or esophagus. To prevent aspiration, feed cats in a vertical position to let gravity help move the food down into the stomach. As you can imagine, kittens with this condition have a poor prognosis.