Hereditary, Non-Inflammatory Muscular Disease in Cats

Non-inflammatory Myopathy—Hereditary X-Linked Muscular Dystrophy in Cats

Muscular Dystrophy is an inherited, progressive, and non-inflammatory degenerative muscular disease caused by a deficiency of dystrophyin, a muscle-membrane protein. This generalized muscle disorder is primarily seen in newborn cats or those less than one year old. Domestic short-haired and Devon Rex cats are also more prone to this form of muscular dystrophy.

Symptoms and Types

  • Vomiting
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Stiff gait
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weakness
  • Downward flexion of head and neck


Dystrophin deficiency due to inherited defect.


You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then conduct a complete physical examination as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC). Creatine kinase enzyme levels may be elevated due to the dystrophin deficiency. Liver enzymes are also elevated in cats with this disorder.

The most hopeful test for reaching a definitive diagnosis, however, involves taking a muscle biopsy. The muscle tissue sample is sent to a veterinary pathologist to verify abnormal levels of dystrophin.


The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


The term used to describe the movement of an animal


A substance that causes chemical change to another


A condition in which a muscle or body part grows defectively


The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

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