PK Def stands for Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Def). Pyruvate kinase deficiency is an inherited lack of the enzyme pyruvate kinase, which is used by red blood cells. Without this enzyme, red blood cells break down too easily, resulting in a low level of these cells (hemolytic anemia). There are three outcomes of PK Def testing and every responsible savannah breeder should test their breeding cats for this genetic mutation.
N/K does not affect pet kittens at all, but breeders should try to stop using carriers (n/k) as soon as they possibly can, to avoid continuing to produce carriers that affect the breed.
N/N = Normal – the cat does not have the genetic mutation causing pyruvate kinase deficiency.
N/K = Carrier – the cat has one copy of the mutation. The cat will not have pyruvate kinase deficiency, but may pass the mutation to their offspring. A carrier is unaffected by the disease.
K/K = Affected or Positive – the cat has two copies of the mutation. The cat will have pyruvate kinase deficiency.
A cat or kitten that is positive for PK Def (K/K), can live a normal life for the most part. However, in some cases, the cat or kitten develops anemia and/or lethargy and can become quite ill. The cat can be treated and recover, but be sure to see your vet if any of these symptoms develop.
Most responsible, ethical savannah breeders test their breeding cats for this gene. Please be sure to ask your breeder if testing was done and for the written results. Testing is paramount for the welfare of ALL savannah breeding cats and ALL savannah cat buyers and owners should always request results.