Amyloidosis is a rare condition in cats. In this condition, improperly formed proteins (amyloids) build up in an area of the body causing systemic issues. The accumulation of proteins primarily affects the kidneys, and can rapidly lead to kidney failure. Cats showing symptoms of kidney failure require prompt veterinary attention to begin treatment and slow the progression of disease. Many cats with amyloidosis have a poor prognosis, and survive less than a year after diagnosis.
Siamese and Oriental shorthair cats are more prone to amyloidosis and are prone to developing liver fractures as a side effect of it.
Amyloidosis in other organs can cause additional symptoms.
Amyloids have an abnormal shape that cannot be broken down by the body, causing it to accumulate within the tissues. The main sources of amyloid are antibodies (primary amyloidosis) and inflammation (secondary amyloidosis). Secondary amyloidosis is the most common type in cats.
The main causes of primary amyloidosis are multiple myeloma and plasma cell tumors.
Some breeds of cat have inherited forms of amyloidosis, including Abyssinians, Siamese, and oriental shorthair cats.
The symptoms of amyloidosis depend on the tissue affected. In most cases, the kidneys are the main site of amyloid accumulation.
Diagnosis of amyloidosis involves identifying the misshapen proteins in the tissue, and the underlying cause leading to amyloid accumulation. Diagnostic tests include:
Treatment focuses on managing the underlying condition. In most cases, the kidneys are affected, so treatments include:
Cats with amyloidosis require regular follow-up appointments.
Amyloidosis is typically a progressive disease with no definitive cure. Many cats with kidney failure due to amyloidosis survive less than one year after diagnosis. Cats with amyloid deposition in other organs, such as the liver, have a grave prognosis due to a high risk of sudden, uncontrollable bleeding.
Some forms of amyloidosis have an inherited component, so removing affected animals from the breeding population is recommended for prevention. Other forms cannot be prevented, however routine check-ups by a veterinarian can help identify the signs of amyloidosis early, potentially leading to better outcomes.
Amyloidosis is not contagious.
Amyloidosis is rare in cats.