The Selkirk Rex is a comparatively new breed only being recognised in 1987 and arriving in the UK in 2002 but longevity of at least 18 years is already known in the breed. The breed generally is pretty robust and hardy and are no more prone or susceptible to health problems than any other breed. There are various health tests that can be done on the Selkirk on diseases which have been identified in some of the outcross breeds.
PKD was widely prevalent in British and particularly Persians, and as both were used as outcrosses PKD can, by default, occur in Selkirks. It was decided to include testing for PKD in the GCCF registration policy so no cat can be bred from unless it has been dna tested negative from PKD. This Is Only Required With GCCF. There are now other registries in the UK that may not have this requirement. If you are looking to buy from a non-GCCF registered breeder please bear this in mind.
The incidence of PKD dropped dramatically between 2005 and 2014 - graph provided by Langford Laboratories.
Breeds which can be affected by PKD are
High risk of PKD
Persian, Chinchilla, Exotic Shorthair, British Shorthair, Himalayan
Moderate risk of PKD
Asian, Birman, Burmilla, Bombay, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Selkirk Rex, Siberian, Snowshoe, Tiffanie
PRA.(Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
This is a relative new dna test and is of very minimal risk to Selkirks even though Persians are used in outcrossing- Anyone with PRA in their lines would be aware as kittens cats in their lines will have gone blind. This has not been identified in any UK Selkirk Rex or any outcrosses in the UK. Out of Around 750 Persians have been tested for PRA and 30 were found to be carriers and all Selkirks tested to date have tested clear of any carriers ( Langford statistics) . Other breeds known to have Persian PRA are Exotic Shorthair and Scottish Fold. For there to be any risk of PRA both parents need to be carriers and even there is no certainty they will develop PRA. There is a 25% probability of two carrier (heterozygous) cats producing affected (homozygous) kittens. Breeding carrier and
normal cats will produce around 50% normal and 50% carrier kittens. Obviously those breeders who have concerns of PRA being in their lines will test for PRA.
Breeds At Risk Of PRA
Persian, Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair, Chinchilla
Other breeds with Persian ancestry may also be affected
HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
HCM has been reported in Selkirks, just as in many other breeds and the domestic cat or moggy, but as yet no proven genetic link, and no reliable genetic test is available. The club welcomes breeders who are scanning their cats but would advise potential kitten buyers that HCM free status cannot be declared. However, please be aware that even a scan is not conclusive proof of HCM but can only give an indication. If someone says their cats are scanned for HCM ask to see the certificate of proof and evidence of subsequent yearly scans and be aware it is only a snapshot on the day and no guarantee of any future health. As yet there is no known test or scan that can pinpoint how or where HCM comes from. Once there is conclusive proof it will be included in our registration document. HCM is something that can be in any breed of cat, human etc.
All breeders need to be aware of blood groups of their females and males as any kittens from B females to A males will need to be fed for the first 18 to 24 hours because of maternal antibodies. Once this initial period has passed the kittens can be fed as normal from the mother. There is no health risk to the mother or father and the only thing to be aware of is that kittens must not feed from mum for the first 18 to 24 hours.
In line with solid white cats in all breeds under GCCF, white Selkirks also need to be BAER tested for deafness. From GCCF Rules 1g. Before any progeny may be registered from any breed of white cat, male or female, this cat must have had a BAER or OAE certificate of freedom from unilateral or bilateral deafness submitted to the GCCF Office. White cats without such certification will be registered on the non-active register until such time as the required certificate is sent and an application for transfer to the active register is made. Cats should be microchipped when tested with the number recorded on the test result and the cat’s own veterinary records. (Added 24.02.2016, Effective 01.06.2016) Note: Vendors must advise buyers/potential buyers in writing that white cats may be deaf from soon after birth in one or both ears. (Added 19.6.19)