7 Birman Cat Health Issues: 15 Signs Of A Sick Cat + 11 Tips

Being a responsible cat owner, you always want to care for your Birman’s health. Therefore, knowing the common Birman cat health issues will help you tailor an individual preventive health plan. 

We will also discuss tips to help prevent some predictable risks in your Birman’s health. Many health conditions and diseases in Birman cats are genetically related. 

So many things can go wrong with our pets’ health, and of course, we can’t cover every possibility here. So, I highly recommend you check for any unusual signs or symptoms in your cat’s health & behavior. 

In this article, we will describe the most common health issues in Birman’s to give you a brief idea of what may come up in the future. 

Do Birman Cats Have Health Problems?

Yes. Like all cats, Birmans are also susceptible to many health problems. Some include obesity, bacterial infections, viral infections, dental disease, cataracts, and Hypotrichosis. Therefore, occasional visits to your nearest vet for checkups and taking care of your Birman at home are necessary. 

15 Signs Of A Sick Birman 

Here are a few symptoms or signs of sick birds. If noticed, you should always give a call to your veterinarian and ask for an urgent appointment.

  1. Progressive hair loss. 
  2. Change in water conservation. 
  3. Tatar buildup. 
  4. Lethargy. 
  5. Red gums. Bad breath. 
  6. Broken teeth. 
  7. Itchy skin. 
  8. Sudden hair loss. 
  9. Areas of shortened fur. 
  10. Excessive sleeping. 
  11. Mental dullness. 
  12. Normal behavior. 
  13. Aggression. 
  14. Change in appetite. 
  15. Fearfulness.

Let’s discuss the most common issues seen in Birman cats in detail to learn every possibility or step that can be taken for preventive measures. Further, we will learn about the General Health information on genetic predisposition for Birmans. I hope this information will help you know what you are looking for and feel better after knowing how you can take care of your Birman at best.

What Diseases Are Birman Cats Prone To?

Birman cats are prone to diseases like diabetes, tartar buildup, panleukopenia, calicivirus, feline leukemia virus, hemolytic icterus, cataract, FIP, Hypotrichosis, and many more. Below are a few more health issues and diseases that cats like Burman are prone to.

11 Birman Cat Health Issues

  1. Tartar Buildup (Preventable)
  2. Dental Problems (Common)
  3. FIP (Common & Fatal)
  4. Feline Leukemia Virus (Common But Preventable)
  5. Cataract (Uncommon)
  6. Diabetes (Uncommon)
  7. Hypotrichosis (Recessive Genetic Defect)
  8. Hemolytic Icterus (Rare Immune-Mediated Disease)
  9. Eyelid Agenesis (Birth Defect)
  10. Corneal Sequestration (Painful & Common)
  11. Portosystemic Shunt (Disorder)

7 Birman Cat Common Health Problems “Explained.”

Extremely Common & Fatal: Obesity

This is the most common and the primary disease that contributes to many sicknesses and death in the household feline. Nowadays, many owners already know that excess weight gain is also a factor in developing arthritis, diabetes, or other life straightening diseases in our pets. 

Therefore, you should never ignore the danger of extra weight gain on your cat. Unfortunately, weight gain will also shorten your Birman life. Diabetes, a common inherited disease in cats, has a higher chance of developing in overweight Birmans.

Excessive Weight gain can also lead your Birman to a fatal illness known as fatty liver or hepatic lipidosis. It can grow in an overweight Burman in as few as 48 hours when she stops eating.

Prevention 

If your Birman has a habit of overeating, you need to regulate your cat’s food intake. Always follow the instructions mentioned on the food package and never feel your Birman’s food bowl to the top.

Always feed the high-quality adult cat food your veterinarian recommends for your Birmans. If you have a habit of rewarding treats to your cat when she is bored, replace it with extra playtime or bonding. The more active your Birman seems, the healthier and happier she is.

Common: Dental Disease

Dental disease is also a widespread problem in cats. It is also a famous chronic problem in other household pets like dogs. Birmans are not very good at taking care of their teeth.

Therefore, your cat has a high potential of developing severe dental issues. Most dental problems start with food residue, which hardens into tartar. The tartar buildup will be visible.

Prevention

It is necessary to brush your Birman’s teeth from time to time to remove food residue. It will not help you prevent dental disease but also delay the need for advanced treatment. 

Advance treatment of dental disease for cats can be stressful for your Birman and expensive. Therefore, preventive care will be the best cure here. 

If you notice tartar buildup or any other chronic dental infection, get it diagnosed by your nearest veterinarian. Ignoring it may lead your Birman to lose a tooth or sustain damage to internal organs.

Cataract. 

Cataracts can cause blindness in older cats if not removed or treated early. If you notice your Birman’s eyes becoming more cloudy than clear, cataracts can be the cause. 

Prevention 

You must visit your veterinarian if your cat or Burman has developed cataracts. Veterinarians will be the best to examine your Birman’s eye closely and help you learn the treatment options.

Uncommon: Hypotrichosis. 

This is one of the most common recessive genetic defects in Birman’s and other cat breeds. It can cause balding or thinning of hair in Birmans. If a kitten is born with symmetrical hair loss, it is due to Hypotrichosis.

Your vet will need your Birman’s skin biopsy samples to learn if she has a lower than an average number of hair follicles or sweat/sebaceous glands. 

Prevention & Treatment

When a Birman develops Hypotrichosis, special care is needed to protect her skin. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment known till now. Because it is entirely genetically linked, close relatives should not be bred. Or the ones that are affected already.

Highly Susceptible: FIP

Do you know that Feline infectious peritonitis, also known as FIP, is a fatal condition and a type of coronavirus more common in Birman than in other breeds? FIP is responsible for causing extreme damage in the blood vessels and fluid buildup inside the chest of your Birman. FIP may also lead to sudden fluid buildup in the abdomen area of your car. 

Prevention 

Unfortunately, FIP is always a risk for all cats and kittens. Plus, it can get tough to treat if it is developed in a cattery population. As there is no effective treatment for FIP till now, research before adopting one is necessary. Therefore, you should look at our guide on how to adopt a healthy Birman cat. 

Extremely Painful & Common: Corneal Sequestration. 

It is a severe condition in Birman. All breeds with prominent eyes are highly prone to Corneal Sequestration. It is nothing else than the hard black patch of dead tissue that develops on your Birman’s cornea or the frontal part of her eyes. 

It is generally caused when a viral infection leads to chronic disease. Thus, it can cause sudden eyelid defects or make the eyelashes grow in the wrong direction. 

Prevention

If it is identified, examined, and treated early, your Birman can get pretty well within months to years using the topical medication. But in later stages, treatment like preventive surgery may be needed to repair the defect in Birman. Therefore, an occasional visit to your veterinarian is necessary for the biannual wellness exam.

Common But Preventable Infections: Bacterial & Viral Infections

There are many common viruses in cats that your Birman is also susceptible to. Infections like calicivirus, panleukopenia rabies, and rhinotracheitis are the most common. Feline Leukemia Virus is also another dangerous disease that is common in Birman. 

Prevention 

Talking about prevention, all of these bacterial and viral infections are preventable through vaccination. Contracting these bacterial and viral infections is high in Birmans, and vaccines are highly recommended. The veterinarian will be the best to guide you on the core vaccines according to your area, Birman’s age, and another risk factor specific to your cat’s lifestyle.

11 Tips for taking care of Birman’s at home

taking care of birman
  1. To prevent any sudden injury, keep your Birman off the appropriate surface for jumping or away from objects that she shouldn’t put in her mouth. Always try to keep her out of trouble.
  2. To prevent her hair from getting tangled or matted, always brush her once or twice a week. They are known to shed less but require grooming occasionally.
  3. Always clear your Birman’s ear weekly for the wax to keep her checked for ear infections. The same goes for debris cleaning. You can also visit a pet groomer or veterinarian to get it cleaned when necessary. 
  4. To prevent separation anxiety or depression, provide plenty of play time to your cats to stimulate their natural desire to hunt, play, and explore. 
  5. To keep her from a bacterial or viral infection, keep Birman’s bed and space clean. Maintain a clean liter box. Get her vaccinated.
  6. To prevent itchy skin or excessive shedding, provide plenty of freshwaters and ensure she is drinking an adequate amount; if she is not drinking, at some ice cube or a flowing fountain to entice her. 
  7. To keep her healthy while aging, feed her a high-quality diet appropriate for her age. 
  8. To keep your Birman’s bone and muscle healthy, exercise her by engaging her with high-activity toys.
  9. Always visit your nearest veterinarian occasionally to get your cat vaccinated. Some periodic testing and checkups may also be necessary to aid her further growth and analyze her health.
  10. Brush her teeth at least twice or thrice weekly to prevent tartar buildup or bad breath. 
  11. Always make sure to regulate her diet and only feed the recommended serving size to your cat. It will help you prevent obesity or unhealthy weight gain.

FAQ

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Birman Cat? 

Birman cat life expectancy is about 9-12 years on average. Some household Birmans that are well cared for may also live around 15-16 years. However, the average life expectancy for a domestic cat is around 9-12-14 years which depends on many factors, including health, diet, and environment.

What Cat Breed Has The Most Health Problems?

That is no one particular breed that has the most practical problem. But few specific health problems are common in breeds like Bengal, British shorthair, ragdoll, siamese, and Ragamuffin.

What Is The Healthiest Cat?

All cat breeds are healthy as long as excellent and restorative practices are performed for breeding. Breeds like Savannah, Russian blue, and American shorthair are healthy breeds. 

Conclusion

I advise you to always take your Birman to your veterinarian for regular visits and periodic testing. Routine care is the best prevention that can help you identify any potential health problem early and increase the probability of successful treatment. The Birmans that are well bred are

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