Not many people are aware of the term Manx Syndrome or are entirely sure what it even means. While the term is typically associated with Manx cats, it can happen to any breed of cat, and almost any animal species. Tailless cats got coined the term as it’s believed to be part of improper breeding. So what exactly is Manx Syndrome?

What is Manx Syndrome?

Manx Syndrome is a genetic mutation that causes Manx cats to develop their spinal cord irregularly. The term is used to describe conditions found only in a Manx cat as part of a deformity. It’s believed that this is caused by bad breeding genes. Manx Syndrome is almost always Spina Bifida which can happen in any breed of cat. Complications include shortened or absent tail (missing vertebral), neurological diseases, nervous system diseases, incontinence, lack of feeling in hind legs, and severe sensitivity of the spinal cord.

The most common issues are trouble walking which you can see below in the video. The kitten’s name is Timmy and you can read more about him on his Facebook page.

Manx Syndrome vs Spina Bifida

Manx Syndrome is still debated on. Some believe it is a type of Spina Bifida only found in the Manx cat breed while others consider it normal Spina Bifida which happens to any and all breeds. Breeding Manx cats with tails won’t prevent this disease from happening because the gene which causes the tail to be “bobbed” is not the same gene that causes Spina Bifida. Inexperienced breeders who breed with cats who have shorter vertebrae increase the likelihood of Spina Bifida, not the actual breed itself

Why Are Rates Higher for Manx Cats?

There are still studies that have to be done to determine why rates of Spina Bifida are higher in Manx cats but the term seems to be here to stay. If you love the Manx breed and are curious about the syndrome, you will have a hard time finding a lot of information online at this time because it is still not widely recognized by veterinarian medicine.

Sadly, when a vet does deem a kitten to have this disease, it is almost always fatal or they fail to find a family willing to care for so many special needs in one animal. The more that people are learning about the disease, the more people there are willing to care for them. It doesn’t have to be a death sentence but it certainly won’t be an easy life for the cat or the cat’s owner.

Manx syndrome
A Manx cat

Are you caring for a cat with Manx Syndrome? Share your experiences in the comments!

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