Your Cat Can Help Genetic Research

The Cornell Veterinary Biobank and Feline Health Center are seeking healthy purebred cats 10 years of age and older as part of their research on genetic diseases. The cats will serve as controls — those without illness — in genetic mapping studies.

Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and diabetes mellitus may have a genetic basis, and by comparing DNA from affected and healthy cats, the Biobank hopes to locate the responsible genes. Its work could lead to identifying cats at risk of disease and aid in developing more effective treatments.

Owners participating in the study take their cats to Cornell for one to two days of screenings at no charge. Specialists conducting the exams represent cardiology, dentistry, nutrition, oncology, ophthalmology and orthopedics. Tests include a complete blood count, chemistry panel, urinalysis, retrovirus and thyroid hormone testing, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and blood pressure. If patients are determined to be a good candidate for sedation and their owners are interested in pursuing a CT scan, the patient will return the following day.

For answers to questions on qualifications or for more information, please email Liz Wilcox, DVM, or Marta Castelhano, DVM, director of the Biobank, at The Biobank is a database of DNA and medical information for genetic research.