Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency or PK Def is deficiency in the enzyme Pyruvate Kinase (PK). This enzyme normally is important for red blood cell energy metabolism but in PK Def is mutated and impairs the red blood cells' or erythrocytes. Due to this mutation, hemolytic anemia is the result. Hemolytic anemia is where red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before the completion of a normal lifespan.
As with humans, blood is a major component in the body. Without a proper functioning blood supply, Bengals will often become lethargic and weak, lose weight, develop jaundice and have an enlargement of the abdomen.
Carriers are healthy cats but if bred with another carrier will produce offspring with the deficiency.
Luckily there is a genetic screening for PK Deficiency that is easy to obtain with blood tests or cheek swabs. Responsible breeders will have their breeding cats tested and readily provide the test results.
Please see each of our cat's individual pages to view test results
*Note PK Deficiency and PKD or polycystic kidney disease are two different things