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Chediak-Higashi Syndrome

Chediak-Higashi syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects Persian cats with a dilute smoke-blue coat color and yellow-green irises (though it can also affect some white tiger Persians and arctic foxes), which causes the cats to bleed excessively immediately after an injury or minor surgery. Cats with this syndrome may also have an extreme sensitivity to light (photophobia).

Despite the affects brought on by Chediak-Higashi syndrome, affected cats usually have a normal lifespan.

SYMPTOMS AND TYPES

A cat with Chediak-Higashi syndrome will bleed for an abnormally long period, often due to minor surgery or injuries. The cat's eyes will reflect a red eyeshine when exposed to light; excessive blinking and eye watering may also occur.

CAUSES

  • Genetic inheritance

DIAGNOSIS

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam and take a background medical history of your cat's health leading up to the onset of symptoms. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis.

Other diseases will need to be ruled out, but if your cat fits the genetic type, your veterinarian will do a smear test for Chediak-Higashi syndrome using a sample of the blood that was taken.

TREATMENT

Your veterinarian will give your cat vitamin C to improve blood cell and plateletfunction and help decrease bleeding time. If your cat is having trouble with prolonged bleeding, a transfusion of platelet-rich plasma (from healthy cat blood) will be given to your cat to temporarily normalize the bleeding time.

LIVING AND MANAGEMENT

You will need to remain aware of your cat's condition and maintain an environment that prevents accidents as much as possible so that your cat does not suffer an injury that would cause bleeding. Any scrapes or cuts could become a life-threatening issue, so it is best to try to avoid them. You will also need to keep this in mind when seeking veterinary care for your cat, making sure that the caregiver knows of your cat's disease so that precautions can be taken to prevent prolonged bleeding after having blood drawn.

Because this is a genetically acquired condition, it is strongly advised that cats that have been diagnosed with Chediak-Higashi syndrome be neutered or spayed immediately to prevent it from being passed on to offspring.