Martin, P. T., G. D. Shelton, et al. (2008). “Muscular dystrophy associated with alpha-dystroglycan deficiency in Sphynx and Devon Rex cats.” Neuromuscul Disord.
An animal model for some forms of muscular dystrophy in humans has been identified in the Devon Rex and Sphynx breeds. The disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner and has been identified in cats in several countries, such as the United States, Australia, UK, and the Netherlands. In the past, the disease was erroneously called “spasticity.” Affected cats have a slowly progressive myopathy, with skeletal muscle weakness evidenced by cervical ventroflexion, a high-stepping forelimb gait, head bobbing, dorsal protrusion of the scapulae, and megaesophagus. There is no involvement of the peripheral nerves or central nervous system. Unfortunately, the prognosis is poor as many cats succumb to aspiration pneumonia or asphyxiation. Analysis has revealed a deficiency in alpha-dystroglycan protein expression, suggesting this disease may be one of the dystroglycanopathies.
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