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Are Oriental Shorthairs healthy?

Like most purebred, pedigree cats Oriental Shorthairs (OSH) have inherited certain health problems due to selective breeding. One major issue for me, is that there is a family of Siamese cats which includes the Oriental Shorthair. They are all centred around the Siamese cat because the Siamese cat is in their breeding lines. And the problem here is that, on my reckoning, and based upon my extensive research, the Siamese cat has the most inherited health problems of any cat breed. So the question is: is the Oriental Shorthair susceptible to many of the medical problems that potentially affect the Siamese cat?

Oriental SH - photo: Helmi Flick

In addition to that long list of possible illnesses it is said that these animals are susceptible to respiratory illnesses and cardiomyopathy has also been reported in some lines. This information is according to Dr Ross D Clark DVM in his book Medical, Genetic and Behavioural Aspects of Purebred Cats.

A pet insurance company say that the OSH can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy and glaucoma. In addition, about nine years ago I wrote an article about hepatic amyloidosis in Siamese and Oriental cats. The article was based upon information provided by a visitor to the website, Lisa Lyons, who lives with Oriental Shorthair cats. The symptoms of hepatic amyloidosis include jaundice, a high white cell count, a low red blood cell count, vomiting, anaemia, general malaise and cyst damage to the liver causing bleeding. It is a very serious disease which is incurable and fatal. Some cats die within 2 to 3 years. That does not paint a very pretty picture in terms of the possible health problems affecting the Oriental Shorthair cat. But I have to be truthful and straightforward in answering the question in the title.

I would recommend that you read my page on Siamese cat health problems. It might surprise you. I decided at the Siamese cat was the most unhealthy cat in the world certainly amongst all the pedigree cats.

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