Our on-site Diagnostic Laboratories has developed a new Feline Genetic Test to quickly and accurately identify a recently discovered mutation found to cause blindness in Bengal cats. This test will help inform Bengal breeders to avoid blind kittens being born.
Bengal Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA-b) causes loss of photoreceptors in the eye and ultimately results in blindness. Clinical signs typically become evident between 8 and 20 weeks of age and the disease progresses so that by around one year of age complete retinal degeneration is apparent in most cats. At this age, the affected cats also show behavioural signs of blindness.
The Molecular Diagnostic Unit within our Diagnostic Laboratories has developed a PCR-based pyrosequencing assay to quickly and accurately identify the Bengal PRA-b mutation.
This assay will allow owners and breeders to identify affected and carrier cats and will inform breeding programs to reduce the prevalence of PRA-b by selective breeding. A preliminary study of around 650 UK and European Bengals, undertaken by our Molecular Diagnostic Unit, has shown a prevalence of Bengal PRA-b of up to 24% in some countries.
Dr Chris Helps, Senior Research Fellow and Head of our Molecular Diagnostic Unit, said: "I've been involved in the research of this recently discovered mutation and am excited that we are the first lab in the UK to offer this genetic test. In fact, we're the second lab in the world to offer this as an in-house genetic test, with the first being in the USA. Being able to offer such a test in-house is of great benefit to our customers since it's quicker and cheaper than sending samples away. Results for this test are delivered in a 3-4 day turnaround and it costs just £33.60*."
For more information or to request the test, please visit: www.langfordvets.co.uk/PRA-b
*The test costs £28.00 + VAT. For members of breed clubs registered with us, the cost is only £26.88 (£22.40 + VAT).