The loss of our precious Willy
at such a young age (2 days before his 6th birthday) has affected us tremendously.

We've learned that Willy (Siamese mix) inherited the polycystic kidney gene from one or both of his parents. There is no cure for for the disease, but there is a genetic test available. Your vet may be able to perform it, or you can perform the test yourself with the help of U.C. Davis: The cost is $40 per cat.

We had the test performed for Willow (Willy's littermate) and she is negative for the gene!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't tell you what a relief this is to know.

Here is some info from the U.C. Davis and other websites for your consideration:

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease - PKD?
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a well documented abnormality in domestic cats. Cystic kidneys can sporadically occur in any population of cats. PKD is not a new disease and has been reported in the literature for over 30 years. The heritable form of PKD1 may not have initially occurred in Persians as a new mutation, but perhaps in random bred cats. Unfortunately, PKD1 does not have a strong clinical presentation. The presentation of PKD1 is similar to one of the most common causes of death for any cat, renal failure. Thus, PKD1 has gone unnoticed for many years and has spread throughout the Persian breed. Any breed that has used Persians in their foundation or propagation should have concerns for PKD1.

In Persians, the condition has been shown to be inherited as a single autosomal dominant gene. It is estimated over 37% of Persians have PKD1, a breed that accounts for nearly 80% of the cat fancy. Many lines and catteries have been able to greatly reduce this frequency by using ultrasound screening methods and improved breeding practices.

Which Cats Should Be Tested for PKD1?
Currently we recommend the PKD1 test for British Shorthair, Persians, Exotics, Scottish Fold, Burmillas, Himalayans and Persian out-crosses only. PKD1 is most common in the Persians and breeds that are related to Persians or have used them in breeding programs. Examples include: Exotics, Himalayans, American Shorthairs and Scottish Folds. Other breeds may have inherited PKD1 from an accidental use of either a purebred or random bred cat that had the heritable form of PKD1.

How is PKD diagnosed?
PKD is most easily diagnosed by ultrasound, which can identify the disease very early in its course. All that is required is a mid-ventral abdominal area hair-clip and a short time period for imaging to detect the possible presence of cysts. It takes a few minutes, with little or no sedation needed. It is very important that experienced personnel and proper equipment perform the ultrasound! When so, ultrasound diagnosis is 98% accurate after approximately 10 months of age. The frequency of the transducer has to be 7,5 MHz - 10 MHz, with a greyscale of 256. The higher frequency, the better details.

What does this disease cause in cats?
Polycystic Kidney Disease is a slowly progressive disease. It clinically shows up later in life (late onset), with enlarged kidneys and kidney dysfunction on average at seven years of age. The condition is inherited and cysts are present from birth. The size of cysts can vary from less than one millimeter to several centimeters, with older animals having larger and more numerous cysts. Problems occur when these cysts start to grow and progressively enlarge the kidney, reducing the kidneys' ability to function properly. The ultimate end is kidney failure.

Some of the clinical signs are depression, (Willy was never depressed) lack of or reduced appetite, (Willy NEVER lost his appetite) excessive thirst, excessive urination and weight loss. There is a marked variability in how quickly individual cats succumb, with the possibility of the symptoms of PKD developing late enough in life that the cat can survive for several years.