Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome How to manage the incurable syndrome in cats?

BY | January 04 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome

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Feline Chediak-Higashi syndrome (FCHS) causes progressive neurological degeneration and abnormal pigmentation of the skin and hair follicles, leading to abnormal blood cell production in the bone marrow.

Feline Chediak-Higashi syndrome (FCHS), also known as mucopolysaccharidosis type 1B or MPS1B, is a rare hereditary disease. This condition can affect young kittens and older cats, though it's more common in those younger than six months old when diagnosed with FCHS. 

What Is Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome?

Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome (FCS) is a rare inherited disorder that affects the immune system. The body does not make an essential protein called P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1 (PSGL-1), which helps blood cells stick together. As a result, abnormal blood cells are produced and are seen in the bloodstream. This can lead to skin and eye problems as well as neurological problems. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome?

The symptoms of Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome vary between cats, but many have low platelet counts and anemia. The low platelet count may cause nosebleeds and, as well as accessible and excessive bleeding from cuts or wounds.

Some cats with this disease have abnormal coloring on their fur and skin that looks like a sunburn. They might also have a slightly blue tinge to the skin in areas where they can't get enough blood, such as around their ears. 

What Causes Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome?

The HBB gene is located on chromosome 1. It’s responsible for producing a protein called hemoglobin B. Hemoglobin B is the subunit of hemoglobin that carries oxygen throughout the body. So, if your cat has a mutation in the HBB gene and doesn’t produce enough of this protein, it may experience symptoms associated with Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome. 

How Is Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome is made through several tests. The first test is a blood test to look for the mutation in the HPRT gene. This test can be done at any time, but before it is performed, it's essential to wait until your cat has been sick for at least two weeks. 

The blood work will also be used to check your cat's red blood cells and white blood cells, as well as their platelet count. To make sure that other diseases don't cause similar symptoms, other tests may be recommended:

? Tissue biopsy - This involves taking a sample of tissue from your cat's body

? Cytology smears - These are used to examine cells under a microscope 

How Is Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome Treated?

Your cat will need lifelong pet medication for FCHS. The goal of treatment is to reduce the immune system's response to cytoplasmic inclusion bodies and prevent organ damage. Treatment may include:

? Medication in tablet or injectable form. This is usually started when your cat is around six months old or earlier if symptoms start appearing earlier than this.

? Regular blood tests to monitor how well the pet medication is working - these should be carried out every 3–6 months until your cat reaches adulthood, then annually after that point. 

Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome Is Treatable

Feline Chediak-Higashi syndrome is a genetic disease that is not curable. However, treatment can be successful in many cases of FCHS. The goal of treatment for this disease is to maintain the cat’s quality of life and prevent complications from developing. Treatment usually involves a combination of drugs, including:

? Prednisone for cats or Prednisolone for cats to relieve them from pain.

? Azathioprine or Mycophenolate Mofetil

? Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG)

You should also take care of your cat’s diet and remember to add food rich in vitamin C, like Hills Prescription diet,  Hill's Science diet, and other supplements to give them a healthy life. 

Conclusion

In cats, around 25-40% of total blood is made up of red blood cells. Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome is a genetic disease that causes abnormal red blood cell production.  The best way to manage your cat's condition is by regularly administering medication to help keep its symptoms at bay. If you think your pet might suffer from Feline Chediak-Higashi Syndrome, talk to your veterinarian about it.

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