Cornell recruiting healthy older cats for study on common feline disorders

What is it about some cats' genes that allows them to lead longer and healthier lives than others?

Researchers from Cornell University are making a concerted effort to answer that question, and they're in need of healthy older cats to help with their studies.

Cornell Veterinary Biobank and Cornell Feline Health Center announced that they are collaborating on an effort to collect samples from eligible cats, which will be used as controls for scientists who are studying various common feline disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, chronic renal disease, and diabetes mellitus.

According to the two organizations, scientists will use the genetic samples and other medical information collected to determine underlying contributing, protective, or causative genes. Their discoveries can then be turned into improved diagnostic methods, treatments, and novel drugs, Cornell said. 

Discoveries made in feline genetics might also translate into breakthroughs for human medicine, the Biobank said on its website.

Criteria for potential feline participants

According to Cornell, cats must be 10 years of age or older to be eligible, and a recent veterinary exam must have revealed that they are in good health. All purebreed and domestic short- and long-hair cats are eligible.

Cats enrolled in the program will spend one or two days undergoing the following procedures:

  • A general physical examination with a clinician from the medical genetics service
  • Blood sample drawn after fasting to collect information such as complete blood count, chemistry panel, Factor XII/coagulation testing, and DNA collection for Biobank
  • A urinalysis
  • An examination from the oncology service
  • Full orthopedic examination
  • Full ophthalmology examination
  • Complete oral/facial examination by the dentistry service
  • Cardiology consultation including an echocardiogram (in select cases)

Cornell is encouraging people who own or know of cats eligible for the study to contact Dr. Marta Castelhano or Dr. Liz Wilcox at [email protected].

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