Brachycephaly, ventricular dilation and skull malformations in Persian cats

17 December 2018 – News

Brachycephaly is considered the most important breed-defining trait for Persian cats and breeders have been applying selective pressure to accentuate this morphological feature. An apparent association has been found in Persians between brachycephalic skull conformations and enlarged ventricular volumes.  This association is also seen in other species.  With this in mind, the authors set out to investigate a possible relationship between grades of brachycephaly and ventricular dilation, as well as with skull malformations in Persian cats.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (TC) and a full neurological examination were obtained from 57 Persian cats from breeding clubs. Retrospective CT and MRI studies were also collected from University Veterinary Clinics and the JLU archive of Persian cats using Domestic short-haired cats for comparison.  The authors measured craniometric parameters to characterize the grade of brachycephaly and also measured ventricular and brain volumes.

The results confirmed a correlation between high grades of brachycephaly with facial, dental and neurocranial abnormalities in Persian cats. These malformations were also linked to a reduced cranial capacity and internal hydrocephalus which can be clinically significant and cause a negative impact on animal welfare.

In The Relationship between Brachycephalic Head Features in Modern Persian Cats and Dysmorphologies of the Skull and Internal Hydrocephalus; MJ Schmidt, M Kampschulte, S Enderlein, D Gorgas, J Lang, E Ludewig, A Fischer, A Meyer-Lindenberg, AR Schaubmar, K Failing, and N Ondreka; J Vet Intern Med 2017; 31:1487–1501.