Feline diseases tracked via genetic sequencing database

Like humans, cats can inherit diseases. But the number of genetic tests available for such testing is small. Until now.   

Researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell are developing a database of cat DNA. Their goal is to identify the genetic basis of a variety of common feline diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, chronic renal disease, and diabetes mellitus.

Scientists will use the database of genetic sequences and medical information to identify the causes of many inherited diseases by cats, says Biobank director Marta Castelhano, DVM. In so doing, they hope to improve diagnosis and treatment, and understand the role genetics plays in similar diseases in other species, including humans.

To participate, cats donate a blood sample and undergo a physical exam, blood work, urinalysis, a nutrition exam, an echocardiogram, body measurements, an oncology exam, an eye exam, an oral evaluation, an orthopedic exam, and a whole-body computed tomography (CT) scan.

Forty-eight healthy domestic cats over the age of 10 are still needed.

Results are documented in the Biobank and shared with the cat's veterinarian.

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