In order to avoid getting affected kittens, and to eventually eliminate the GM2 mutation from the Burmese breed, we need to DNA test all breeding cats. By DNA testing we can also find the healthy carriers that could pass on the disease to their offspring if they are bred to another carrier.
Of course, a cat must be tested only once in his life and you don't need to test descendants from healthy (homozygous normal) parents if you are definitely sure of the pedigree.
- Heterozygous carrier cats can be used for breeding, but they should then only be bred to partners who do not carry the mutation, as proven by gene testing.
- Kittens from such a litter should be tested to determine their carrier status. This should be done before being sold as future breeding cats, or at least before being used for breeding. Ideally only homozygous negative offspring should be used for breeding.
- It is important to make sure that no carrier offspring from these litters are being used for breeding without proper testing. How this is achieved may vary, depending on the country that you live in. Some suggestions on how to achieve this are as follows:
- Spay/neuter carrier kittens before they move to their new homes.
- Don't give registration papers to the buyers until after the cat has been spayed/neutered.
- If early altering is not an option for you, write contracts with agreements that the carrier kittens must not be used for breeding. In some countries, such contracts are however not legally binding. In such cases, it is important that the pet buyers of carrier kittens and kittens of unknown status from these litters be informed about the disease. Inform them of the fact that a parent is a carrier and the risks of using the kitten for breeding. Heterozygous carriers will never get any symptoms, so one might think it is irrelevant information for a pet buyer. However, since it isn't uncommon that pet buyers later get the idea to have a litter from their cat, and they might then do so without contacting the breeder of the cat, it is important that even pet buyers fully understand the nature of the disease and the situation with their kitten.
- The aim should be to eventually eliminate all carrier cats from breeding, thus eventually eliminating this disease from our breed.