Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): Gene test and negative register

Click here for AD-PKD Negative Register

Autosomal dominant Polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD) is an inherited kidney disease which has become common in Persian cats and Exotic Shorthairs and some related breeds (eg, British Shorthairs). When the disease was first recognised the only practical way to identify the affected cats was by ultrasound scanning of the kidneys. A gene test is now available for AD-PKD (performed on a blood sample or cheek swab) and this is generally the test of choice for most breeders. The test must be performed at a reputable veterinary laboratory though.

When performing the gene test, cats of any age can be tested, but if pre-weaning kittens are being tested it must be done using a blood sample rather than a cheek swab as nursing kittens will have traces of the queen's DNA in their mouthes. In older cats, collection of cheek swabs is significantly less stressful than collection of a blood sample, so it may be preferable to wait until the kitten is weaned before collecting a sample for testing.

The risk of AD-PKD in different breeds

Breeds with a high risk of AD-PKD include:

Breeds at moderate risk include:

Breeds at low risk include:

International Cat Care PKD Negative Register


Click here for AD-PKD Negative Register

The register allows breeders and owners to look up PKD negative cat, which can be useful for breeders who have prospective owners asking about the AD-PKD status of parents of kittens and for finding breeding cats.

Cats that have screened negative for AD-PKD by gene testing (with the sample collected by a vet who also verifies the microchip number of the cat), can be listed on the iCatCare PKD Negative Register.

Anyone having their cat gene tested can go on the Register as long as the swab is taken by a vet and the cat's microchip number is recorded by the vet on the sample at the time of submission to the laboratory. Breeders who wish their gene-tested cats to be eligible for inclusion on the PKD Negative Register must follow the procedures outlined below.

  • Contact your local vet practice, let them know you want to have your cat(s) gene tested and make an appointment to see the vet
  • Take your cat(s) to your local vet to be microchipped (if they have not already been done) and sampled (cheek swab or blood sample). Your vet will need to have a laboratory submission form for one of the reputable veterinary laboratories offering the test.              
  • You and your vet will need to complete all the relevant sections of the laboratory submission forms. Make sure that your vet records your cat's microchip number on the sample at the time of collection of the sample. This is essential if you wish your cat to be included on the iCatCare PKD Negative Register.
  • Your vet will post the sample(s) to the laboratory and the results will be sent back to them.
  • Ensure that your vet gives you a copy of each Submission Form, as well as a copy of each Result Form.
  • When you receive the results from your vet, cats with negative results can be included on the iCatCare PKD Negative Register. You will need to make copies of both the Submission Form and the Results Form and submit them to iCatCare at the address below, along with a cheque for £5.00 (or £3.00 per cat if two or more cats owned by the same breeder are submitted at the same time) to cover the administration costs.
  • It is essential that you ensure the sample is collected by your vet, and that your cat's microchip number is recorded on the Submission and Results forms and verified by your vet to be included on the register.