In the News: Kitty Gastrointestinal Disease Testing

Two different disorders in cats — inflammatory bowel disease and a cancer of the gastrointestinal tract called alimentary lymphoma — have similar signs, including lack of appetite, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea.

Only some patients can be helped by trial and error changes in diet, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Others may undergo intestinal biopsies for diagnosis and treatment. “Even with biopsy samples, it can be difficult to distinguish between IBD and lymphoma in some cats,” says the Winn Feline Health Foundation.

In search of a simple test to differentiate between the two diseases without invasive biopsies, the foundation has awarded a grant to evaluate a blood test focusing on a pattern of blood proteins. Pathologist Kurt Zimmerman, DVM, Ph.D., at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine will be the lead investigator.