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July 26, 2022 – Personalized medicine – care tailored to individual needs of patients – is rapidly gaining traction in human health care and veterinarians are embracing the concept as well. The Foundation has several studies in progress that could help veterinarians customize treatment and optimize care for cats.

A core feature of personalized medicine is understanding a patient’s genetic makeup – their DNA. Without this information, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to deliver personalized care.

Since 2006, we’ve funded 52 studies on all aspects of understanding the feline genetic code. Our studies fall into two basic categories: studies looking at genetic mutations associated with specific diseases and studies on determining the genetic sequence (code) of all the DNA present – almost 20,000 genes in our feline friends!

Our researchers found a gene responsible for heart disease in Sphynx cats, a gene linked to the cartilage abnormalities seen in some breeds, and even a suggestion of a genetic link to diabetes.

In addition, our researchers have made a huge contribution to decoding the complete genetic make-up of the cat – a massive feat of genetic wizardry!

Current research includes work on learning more about how genetics influences a cat’s response to clopidogrel, a drug used to prevent deadly blood clots.

Although the cat is finally catching up to the dog when it comes to genetic research, we still have a long way to go. But we’re confident that the secrets we’re unlocking now will make a big impact in the future for feline health.