Advertisements for doing genetic profiling on your dog flood the internet, claiming you can find out his breed (or breeds, if he’s a mix) and his likelihood of developing any inherited health problems. Now cats have their own genetic profiling and research group, called Basepaws.
The best part about Basepaws is that they are conducting ongoing research into cat health and have studies that cat owners can participate in no matter where you live. A quick mouth swab is all it takes for most current projects. Currently, 23 genetic diseases can be tested for in your cat’s genes. Research studies hope to expand that count.
Knowing about risks for inherited disease in your cat is obviously important if you plan on breeding your cat. But, it can also be important for pet cats. If you know your cat is at risk for some health problems, you may be able to mitigate disease with early intervention. It also alerts you to be aware of symptoms to catch things as early as possible.
Right now, some studies are enrolling feline participants. One is a longevity study. For this research, your cat needs to be 17 years of age or older. The goal of this study is to look at feline genetic profiles to try to identify genes that may be associated with cats who live long, healthy lives.
A second study is looking at feline chronic kidney disease (CKD). Cats diagnosed with CKD before 5 years of age are the ideal candidates. You must submit a copy of your cat’s veterinary records to be sure she fits. Cats who also suffer from hyperthyroidism, urinary tract infections, systemic hypertension, hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease), kidney stones, or bladder stones are currently excluded.
Cats with gastrointestinal lymphoma, atopic dermatitis, food allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease are also being encouraged to enroll in those respective studies. Ongoing studies include diabetes mellitus and dental disease risks. Go to basepaws.com to learn more.