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Balinese Cat Health Problems: 17 Common Issues

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	Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo

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Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

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The Balinese is a beautiful breed, but these cats can be prone to some health problems. While most Balinese cats are pretty healthy a few problems can occur. In this article, we’re going to cover all of the common issues affecting this breed.

Some of the causes of these issues are straightforward and some are not yet fully understood, but many are related to environmental factors or lifestyle choices of the owners. A healthy diet is essential to keeping your cat healthy and preventing most of these problems from developing, but there are a few other things you can do to help keep them happy and healthy. Remember that regular veterinary care is particularly essential to keeping your Balinese cat healthy.

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The 17 Most Common Balinese Cat Health Problems

1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Balinese cats are predisposed to suffer from Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a genetic eye disorder that can cause blindness. The disease has its roots in rod and cone photoreceptor degeneration. In most cases, the rod photoreceptors are affected first, causing night blindness as an early symptom. With time, the cone photoreceptors also become affected, at this point the disease typically manifests with the loss of peripheral vision.

There is no cure for PRA and affected cats will ultimately lose their sight. Treatment options are limited and mainly consist of supportive care such as nutritional supplements and topical eye medications.

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2. Mediastinal Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and helps fight infection. There are many types of lymphoma, but mediastinal lymphoma is a type that affects the area in the middle of the chest between the lungs. Balinese cats are particularly prone to developing mediastinal lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes in the chest.

This cancer can cause a number of symptoms, including difficulty breathing, coughing, and weight loss. Treatment options include chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but these treatments can be expensive and may not be 100% effective.

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3. Feline Asthma

Feline asthma is a health problem that causes cats difficulty breathing. It is most commonly caused by allergies but can also be the result of other environmental or respiratory irritants. Asthma in cats can cause wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Treatment for asthma usually involves the use of medication to open the airways and help the cat breathe more easily.

The condition can also be treated with lifestyle changes, such as reducing exposure to allergens.

balinese cat in tree
Image Credit: Fazlyeva Kamilla, Shutterstock
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4. Systemic Amyloidosis

Systemic amyloidosis is a rare, chronic disease that affects a cat’s entire body. It occurs when an abnormal protein, called amyloid, builds up in the cat’s tissues and organs. The build-up of amyloid can damage vital organs and lead to serious health problems. Amyloidosis is most often caused by a blood disorder called multiple myeloma. Balinese cats are more likely to suffer from systemic amyloidosis than other breeds.

Symptoms of the disease include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Treatment options include medications to control symptoms and surgery to remove affected tissues.

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5. Obesity

Another health problem that is commonly seen in Balinese cats is obesity. Balinese cats are prone to developing weight problems because they are bred to be high-energy, high-maintenance cats and often do not get enough exercise. Without proper diet and exercise, these cats can quickly become overweight. Some of the most common health problems associated with obesity in Balinese cats include diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and arthritis.

To help prevent obesity in your Balinese cat, make sure they have a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

balinese hypoallergenic cat
Image Credit: cornelazar, Pixabay
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6. Dental Disease

Dental disease is a common problem in cats, and Balinese cats are no exception. The most common type of dental disease in cats is periodontal disease, which is a bacterial infection of the gums and tissues surrounding the teeth. Dental disease can be caused by a number of factors, including tartar buildup, gingivitis, and plaque. Symptoms of dental disease include bad breath, drooling, reluctance to eat, and swollen or bleeding gums which can cause pain and loss of appetite and lead to other health problems if not treated.

Treatment for dental disease includes teeth cleaning and sometimes surgery to extract diseased teeth.

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7. Parasites

Like all breeds of cats, the Balinese cat is prone to parasites. These can include worms, ticks, and mites, which can cause a wide variety of problems for the cat, from skin irritation and infection to intestinal blockages. These parasites can cause health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and even death. In addition, cats can also be susceptible to other parasites, such as fleas and mosquitoes, which can spread disease.

Treatment for parasitic infections typically includes a course of antiparasitic drugs.

close up fleas on cat
Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock
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8. ​​Crossed Eyes

One health problem that is seen in Balinese cats is convergent strabismus, also referred to as “crossed eyes.” This is a condition in which the eyes are not aligned with each other, and one eye may appear to be looking inward while the other looks outward. The cause of this condition is unknown, but it is thought to be genetic in origin.

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9. Nystagmus

Nystagmus is a condition that causes the eyes to move back and forth in a rapid, uncontrolled manner. The cause of nystagmus is unknown, but it is thought to be the result of an imbalance in the signals sent from the brain to the eyes. This imbalance can cause the eyes to move back and forth uncontrollably, making it difficult for the cat to see clearly. According to neurological studies, these cats typically do not see double. They see a unified image, just as cats are able to see without nystagmus because their brains organize all the extra information.

seal point Balinese on road
Image Credit: SJ Duran, Shutterstock
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10. Separation Anxiety Syndrome

Separation anxiety syndrome is a problem that can affect Balinese cats when they are separated from their owners. This problem can cause the cats to become agitated, vocalize excessively, and even scratch or bite people. There is no one definitive cause of separation anxiety syndrome, but it is believed that genetics and early socialization both play a role in its development.

Treatment for the condition usually involves behavior modification techniques and medications such as antidepressants. Balinese cats are susceptible to separation anxiety syndrome in part because of their loving, friendly natures.

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11. Wool Sucking

Wool sucking is a compulsive behavior in which the cat sucks on fabrics, clothing, or other materials. It is most commonly seen in kittens but can occur in adult cats as well. The cause of wool sucking is unknown, but it is believed to be a form of self-comforting behavior. Cats who suck on wool may do so because they are anxious or stressed, or because they are seeking comfort and security.

balinese kitten at home
Image Credit: Cedric Crucke, Shutterstock
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12. Flat-Chest Syndrome

Balinese cats are predisposed to flat-chest syndrome. This is a condition in which the cat’s chest cavity is not fully developed, leading to difficulties breathing and problems with the heart and other organs. Most likely, it’s due to a simple recessive gene, but it may also have a more complex genetic cause. A kitten suffering from this disorder has a flattened rib cage and has difficulty breathing. The severity of the syndrome determines whether or not it is fatal.

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13. Heart Defects

Some Balinese cats are born with heart defects, which can cause a number of problems, including heart failure. Some of these defects include malformed valves, holes in the heart, and enlarged hearts. The most common heart defect in these cats is aortic stenosis, which is a narrowing of the aorta—the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This narrowing can make it difficult for the heart to pump blood out to the rest of the body and can lead to heart failure.

These problems can make it difficult for the cat to breathe and can cause them to become very ill. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the defect.

balinese cat outdoors
Image Credit: Fazlyeva Kamilla, Shutterstock
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14. Mammary Tumour

Mammary tumors are common in female cats and can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The most common type of mammary tumor in cats is a ductal carcinoma, which begins in the milk ducts. Other types of mammary tumors include adenocarcinomas and fibrosarcomas. As a breed, Balinese cats have an increased risk of developing mammary carcinomas, and affected Balinese cats tend to be younger than other breeds.

Male cats may also develop mammary carcinomas as cancer occurs equally in all glands in cats. The gland or nipple may develop one or more nodules. Irritation, swelling, or discharge from the nipple may accompany the cancerous masses.

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15. Kink

Another common problem is a kinked tail. This is a condition where the tail is twisted and curved. Although it can cause pain and mobility issues for the cat, generally speaking, this is just an aesthetic issue. Unless you intend to show your cat, it won’t present a problem.

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16. Misaligned Bite

A misaligned bite means that a cat’s upper and lower teeth do not line up properly, which can cause a number of health problems. One such problem is difficulty chewing food, which can lead to malnutrition. Misaligned bites can also cause tooth decay and gum disease. In severe cases, the misaligned teeth can cause pain and difficulty breathing.

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17. Cleft Palate

Another problem seen in Balinese cats is cleft palate, which may come from this breed’s Siamese lineage. This is a birth defect that causes the roof of the mouth to be split in two. As a result, the kitten may have trouble breathing and eating. This congenital defect occurs when the tissues that form the roof of the mouth do not fuse properly during development, causing an opening in the upper lip.

A cleft palate can lead to feeding and breathing problems and can also increase the risk of infection. Fortunately, many of these problems can be corrected with surgery.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, Balinese cats are prone to certain health problems, which can range from mild to serious. It is important to be aware of these problems, work with your veterinarian to ensure that your cat remains healthy, and take steps to prevent or treat them if they occur. By doing so, you can help ensure that their beloved pet stays happy and healthy for many years to come.

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Featured Image Credit: A__B, Shutterstock

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