One of the most important things to find out before getting a bengal is what health problems it has or may potentially have.
Bengal cats, just like any other animal, may be subject to different health complications and more prone to certain diseases and allergies.
Generally, bengal cats are a healthy breed and live long, content lives.
In some cases, bengals may have health conditions that prevent them from living contently and fully.
The most common health problems that bengal cats have are cataracts, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, flat chested kitten syndrome, progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation, and anesthetic sensitivity or allergies.
Bengal Cats and Eye Diseases
One of the hereditary health problems that bengal cats may have is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
PRA can not be tested for, so it’s possible that bengal kittens who are otherwise healthy may have this genetic health problem.
Since PRA is not able to be tested for, this disease is not included in any health guarantees from breeders.
PRA is a condition characterized by worsening blindness that can begin with the first 3-6 months of a bengal kittens life.
This blindness is caused by deterioration of the retina and grows more severe as the bengal ages.
There is no current treatment for PRA, however there have been reports of dogs with similar retinal diseases being cured by bilberry capsules.
Another eye disease that bengal cats may develop is cataracts.
Cataracts usually occur in old age but it is possible for a bengal to get a cataract when it’s still young.
Cataracts are a hereditary disease that causes the lens of the eye to lose transparency, leading to cloudy vision and blindness.
Cataracts, unlike PRA, can be treated successfully with surgery.
Bengal Cats and Heart Diseases
A third major health problem that bengal cats can have is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a hereditary heart condition that is common among cats.
HCM causes the heart to grow in size and thicken.
Once the heart has grown, it is forced to work harder to pump blood. This can lead to thrombosis, congestive heart failure, and immobility of the hind legs.
HCM mostly affects bengal cats in old age and may be fatal even with treatment.
The available treatments for HCM are blood clot prevention, heart rate supervision and slowing, and lung decongestion.
Bengal Cats and Joint Health Problems
Bengal cats may also have joint-related health problems.
Bengals can have patellar luxation which ranges in severity from case to case.
Patellar luxation is a condition where the kneecap slips out of place.
This condition is noticeable because the bengal will walk with a limp if they are affected by it.
If the patella luxation is serious, it can be treated successfully with surgery.
The risk of patella luxation can be minimized by making sure your bengal is at a healthy weight and gets enough exercise.
Staying at a healthy weight is critical for healthy joints overall and can ensure the bengal has a normal life span as well.
Bengal Cats and Flat Chested Kitten Syndrome
A final health problem that bengal cats may be affected by is flat chested kitten syndrome.
Flat chested kitten syndrome (FCKS) is a condition where a kitten will have a narrow chest caused by a flat rib cage.
FCKS is genetic, however the majority of kittens with FCKS can function and mature into healthy cats without any surgery, medication, or other treatments being needed.
Bengal Cats and Anesthetic Allergies
Bengal cats that have health problems and require surgery may have a negative reaction to the anesthetic being used.
Bengal cats tend to be highly sensitive to anesthetics and in extreme cases may go into cardiac arrest from an allergic reaction to the anesthetic.
To keep your bengal safe and prevent this from happening, you should always assume that your bengal could have this allergy and talk to your veterinarian before any medical procedures are done.