birman breed information

common health issues

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a reaction to infection with feline coronavirus. This complicated disease has no reliable test or treatment and has a 100% mortality rate. Signs are vague and include fever, weight loss with decreased appetite, and a pot-bellied appearance. FIP has an increased incidence in Birmans.

Cataracts describes the transparency of the lens in the eye.While cataracts are a common finding in older dogs, many breeds, including Cavaliers, have a genetic predisposition to juvenile cataracts, i.e., occurring in young animals. Hereditary cataracts can occur as early as six months of age and progress to complete loss of vision by two years old. The good news is that most affected lenses can be treated surgically. Cost of treatment: $1,500 to $3,000 per lens.

Azotemia is the term used to describe elevated kidney enzymes. There are ongoing studies regarding the increased occurrence of azotemia in Birman cats. Studies suggest a hereditary component with an eventual progression to kidney insufficiency and failure. Clinical signs may not be apparent, but may include increased thirst and urination.

A dermoid is a growth of skin tissue in an unusual place. In the case of ocular dermoids, this abnormal growth occurs on the cornea or conjunctiva of the eye. The growth appears as a patch of skin, which may or may not have hair, growing on the or around the eye. Surgical removal is curative.

The Birman came from Southeast Asia (where they were kept by Burmese temple priests) and was introduced to Europe in 1916. Also known as the “Sacred Cat of Burma”, it should not be confused with the Burmese cat.

The Birman is a medium-long haired cat that comes in a variety of colors but is born white, with deep blue eyes and distinctive white gloves on all four paws. They reached a precariously low number after World War II, when only two remained. That pair, named “Orloff” and “Xenia de Kaabaa”, were heavily outbred with Persians and Siamese to increase their numbers and rebuild the breed.

The Birman is a gentle, playful breed and is great for families. They tend to be unobtrusive and will not bother owners if they are busy with something else. Their medium hair coat requires occasional maintenance.

Although great family cats, Birmans are nonetheless prone to hereditary and congenital conditions which can adversely affect their health – not to mention your family budget, something that the founders of Petplan in the United States, Chris and Natasha Ashton, understand all too well. Petplan was founded following the ill health (and subsequent large veterinary bills) of their Birman cat, Bodey. Some of the conditions and illnesses Birmans are prone to include viral diseases such as feline infection peritonitis (FIP); eye conditions such as cataracts and ocular dermoids; and kidney problems such as azotemia.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Birman has the misfortune of inheriting his father’s bad eyes or his mother’s kidney concerns, you’re covered.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)