Hip and hearth scans completed

We got happy news this week from Carolina Demoor in Belgium: Perfect results on both the HD / hip scan and the HCM / hearth scan of beautiful Alterskjaer Dan. This photo of him was taken last summer just prior to his departure to Belgium. Dan's sister Alterskjaer Chloe and his half brother Alterskjaer Brutus PP who is living with Ingunn Storstad-Henriksen and Richard Storstad-Henriksen have also completed their health tests and will continue in breeding with us at Alterskjaer Maine coon. Sadly we could not use Alterskjaer Lucifer PP in our breeding due to the results from his hip scan (graded 2).

PawPeds health program 

I follow PawPeds recommendations for testing and breeding of our Maine Coon cats. Consequently as part of the evaluation prior to breeding, we do radiographs at our vet to check for Hip Dysplasia (HD).

The Swedish Maine Coon Cat Club has kept a public register of hip radiographs since Jan 2000. This register has been administered by PawPeds since June 2010. The recommendation is that all breeding cats should be tested for HD as part of the evaluation for breeding in order to minimize HD in the breed. Result are send to the cat owner as soon as PawPeds has received payment for the evaluation, and evaluated radiographs together with the results from these are sent to PawPeds and published in the open / public register.

Hips are graded as follows: Normal (good hips, no anomalies), Grade 1 (the mildest form of dysplasia), Grade 2 (moderately affected hips), and Grade 3 (badly affected hips). 

Geneticists have advised against excluding cats with HD entirely from breeding as it this will narrow down the breeding stock too much. PawPeds therefor recommend that cats with the test result "Grade 1" can be used in breeding in combination with cats that have "normal" hips. Feline Hip Dysplasia is inherited through multiple gene pairs, and this in turn means that two cats with "normal" hips may produce offspring that develop HD. Similarly cats with HD may also produce kittens that have "normal" hips. Each generation of a breeding stock should consequently be tested for HD so that the risk of developing HD is reduced. Compiling 20 years of data from 5038 pedigree-registered Maine Coon cats from the PawPeds helath programme shows a hip dysplasia prevalence of 37.4% with no difference between males and females, but an increasing severity with age and body mass (Low et al. 2019). Selective breeding reduced the severity of the hip dysplasia symptoms in the offsprings, but these cats were also smaller compared to their ancestors (estimated to a reduction of 33 grams per generation). 

Low M, Eksell P, Högström K, Olsson U, Audell L, Ohlsson Å (2019) Demography, heritability and genetic correlation of feline hip dysplasia and response to selection in a health screening programme. Nature Scientific Reports 9: 17164 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-53904-w 

Results back from the hip scan of Brutus, Chloe, Lucifer and Dan

Four of the offsprings from our A-litter (Bellona x Inferno) and B-litter (Puma x Inferno) have been evaluated for breeding: Alterskjaer Brutus PP, Alterskjaer Lucifer, and Alterskjaer Chloe had their hips scanned with veterinarian Vigdis Børset Rædergård at AniCura Dyresykehuset Dec 31 2020. And Alterskjaer Dan had his hips scanned in Belgium where he is evaluated for breeding by Carolina Demoor at Carolina's Kattenkribbe. Below are the radiographs of the four cats.

Alterskjaer Brutus Born Dec 9 2019
Xray date Dec 30 2020 at AniCura Dyresykehuset Tromsø
Evaluated by Elisabeth Ball Jan 25 2021, registered Jan 31 2021
Left side: Grade 1
Right side: Grade 1

Alterskjaer Chloe Born Dec 13 2019 
Xray date Dec 30 2020 at AniCura Dyresykehuset Tromsø
Evaluated by Elisabeth Ball Jan 25 2021, registered Jan 31 2021
Left side: Grade 1
Right side: Grade 1

Alterskjaer Dan born Dec 13 2019
Evaluated by Elisabeth Ball
Left side: Normal 
Right side: Normal

Alterskjaer Lucifer PP
Xray date Dec 30 2020 at AniCura Dyresykehuset Tromsø
Evaluated by Elisabeth Ball Jan 25 2021, registered Jan 31 2021
Left side: Grade 2
Right side: Grade 2

HCM scanning

Following the hip scans, Alterskjaer Chloe and Alterskjaer Brutus PP also had their hearths scanned by specialist Liva Ihle Vatne at AniCura Dyresykehuset Tromsø Feb 18 2021 as recommended by PawPeds Health Programme. Perfect results on both Chloe and Brutus - both of them with normal hearths. Similarly Alterskjaer Dan also had perfect results on his hearth scan in Belgium. 

Daddy Inferno with his two sons Dan og Brutus and his daughter Chloe

Love is in the air

We have such exciting times ahead and are keeping our fingers crossed for matings and kittens as soon as the ladies are ready. Right now we have Brutus visiting "Love Island" (Håkøya) to date Puma. She is a very intimidating lady, keeping her young admirer on his tip toes. But he seems like a very persistent boy and we are hoping that he will finally win her over. If not - we will just have to try again later.

It is a great privilege to work with these unique US bloodlines in collaboration with Taschanas and Lynx Luna in Sweden. We are so pleased that three of the offsprings after F2 poly Maine coon boy, Lynx Luna Inferno PP of Taschanas, who visited us in Tromsø in 2019 and "produced" eight lovely offsprings with our girls Bellona and Puma, will be able to continue in breeding with us at Alterskjaer Maine Coon and with Carolina's Kattenkribbe in Belgium. 


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