Bengal Breed Specific Health Issues
Bengal cats have few health problems, and are known to be incredibly athletic.
However pedigree animals including dogs & cats often have breed-specific health issues due to long time line or in-breeding in order to
develop certain characteristics. A Bengal brother & sister were bred in order to secure the "glitter" gene for example.
Ethical, professional breeders avoid breeding animals with congenital issues, but just like in humans, heart, vision, or other problems
can develop in any animal, especially with age. Embrace Pet Health Insurance covers
most breed-specific illnesses and is a good thing to have. Also see Pet insurance page.
I am frequently asked for veterinarian referrals who are "experts in the Bengal breed". There are few of these, and you'll be wise to
become the expert/health advocate for your Bengal cat.
Bengal cats are suseptible to the following conditions:
Loose Stool or Diarrhia
Bengal cats and kittens are thought to have delicate systems, particularly irritated by grain-based diets and additives. Bengals are also susceptible to Tritrichomonas foetus, a tiny protozoa,
and other parasite infections
that causes diarrhea in cats. These pests can cause colitis, or inflammation of the
large intestine. Tritrichomonas Foetus is most commonly seen in cats younger than one year, but can affect any age.
Most cats overcome the infection on their own within nine months. For more information, dietary and treatment tips,
see this article from the TIBCS Health Committee. It would be a good idea to print this and bring to your vet.
This one was new to me, but after someone mentioned it, I looked it up and found that there is information
out there regarding Bengal Nose. It is a condition
where the cat has a persistent crusty nose. It is not fully understood if it dietary, allergy-related, environmental or hereditary.
First noted in kittens between 4 months and 1 year old. Antibiotics are not effective; Tacrolimus ointment seems to be the most effective
Luxating Patella (dislocated or slipping kneecap)
This condition can be accident-related, but slipping kneecaps are also congenital in many breeds including the Bengal cat,
British Shorthair, Chartreux, Devon Rex, Egyptian Mau, and Turkish Angora. This problem is not fatal, and usually does not require
treatment, only observation by a veterinarian. Severe cases can be treated with surgery and the
Embrace Pet Health Insurance covers it.
Food Poisoning & Chocolate
Bengal cats and kittens are particularly suseptible to food poisoning and can also be effectively poisoned with chocolate!
Because of this, these cats should never eat table scraps. It is also helpful to invest in a high-quality cat food instead of a discount brand.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
One major health problem Bengal cats face is progressive retinal atrophy, or PRA. This disease causes
the receptors in the eye to deteriorate, eventually causing the cat to go blind. This disease is becoming
less common, due to the fact that it is carried by a recessive gene that both parents must possess in order
to pass it on to their offspring. However, there is no known way to screen for this gene, so breeders cannot
guarantee that their kittens will be symptom-free.
Bengal cats are also more likely to develop cataracts. This eye problem, also common in humans, causes
the lens of the eye to become opaque, resulting in progressive vision loss.
Corrective surgery can restore the cat's vision. See the Pet Insurance page for coverage.
Bengal cats, like other cats and also humans are sometimes diagnosed with two common heart conditions, known as hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart muscles) and dilated cardiomyopathy (thinning of the heart muscles).
Both these diseases become more prevalent with aging, and present
with few outward signs. So cats, like people can become critically ill within just a few hours of appearing completely healthy.
Research about these diseases is currently incomplete.
Health insurance plans for your pets can be a great way to curb not only routine pet health care costs, but also
to help with emergency and unexpected veterinary expenses. See Pet Insurance page.