PK-deficiency (Pyruvat Kinase deficiency) is quite recently discovered in Maine Coons as well as a lot of other breeds (Grahn 2012). The illness is known from Abyssinian and Somali, and breeds with ABY/SOM in the lines. PK-def can cause anemia.

NB: Do not confuse with PKD

Estimates from the PawPeds database that indicate that somewhere between 5-20 % of all Maine Coons are carriers of this mutation. Testing for it is very easy, and only animals with “the double gene” (homozygous positive) are affected and can get ill.

As long as breeders do not breed carrier to carrier, the animals will stay healthy. All our breeding animals are tested for this mutation.

Pyruvate Kinase deficiency

Affected cats can develop a number of symptoms, but the expression of this illness varies a lot.

The anemia can be intermittent, with the cat showing no symptoms at all except in shorter periods. Some cats can die early, while most live to normal age. “Symptoms of anemia are often diffuse and include exercise intolerance, weakness, pale mucosa of the gums and enlargened spleen.” (PawPeds)


Submit DNA test results to PawPeds!

If you have tested your Maine Coon, please send the results to the PK registrar at PawPeds to be added to the database.


PK-def vs PKD

We often see confusion between these two disorders. For Maine Coon PKD is not a problem, and there is no reason to DNA-test for PKD unless you have Persians back in the lines.

Vi ser ofte sammenblanding av disse to sykdommene. For Maine Coon er ikke PKD noe problem, og det fins ingen grunn til å DNA-teste for PKD med mindre det ligger Perser bak i linjene.

  • PK-def = PK-deficiency
  • PK-def is a blood disease
  • enzym problem causing anemia
  • found in ABY, SOM, OCI, SIA, OSH, MCO


  • PKD = Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • PKD is a kidney disease
  • kidney failure
  • found in PER, EXO and breeds related to these (BSH, SRL etc)
  • PKD1 mutation has not been seen in Maine Coon


Maine Coons can like all cats get kidney disease, also cysts, but this is not connected to the Persian PKD mutation that you can DNA-test.


Read more about PK-def

PawPeds health programme for PK-deficiency

Grahn, A. et al. 2012. “Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency mutation identified in multiple breeds of domestic cats.”  In: BMC Vet Res. 2012; 8: 207.

Berge, Anne M. 2013. “PK-mangel og DNA-testing” In: Aristokatt 2013-2. (In Norwegian)


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