Kidney disease is one of the biggest killers of companion cats; it causes great pain and suffering, and there is no cure. As many as one in three cats will ultimately develop the disease. The goal of this study is to isolate and analyze genes that influence renal disease and hypertension (the two diseases often go hand in hand).
According to Dr. Jepson, "Kidney disease is one of the most common conditions that we see in ageing cats. Some of these cats also develop high blood pressure (hypertension) which can result in damage, particularly to their eyes, and can lead to blindness. We know that, in human medicine, there are genes that are involved in both kidney disease and hypertension. At the Royal Veterinary College we have been studying these conditions for over 20 years. Thanks to the funding provided by Foundation For Feline Renal Research, we are now in a position to use newly developed cutting edge technology to look for gene associations in almost 1000 cats. As far as we know, this will be the first and largest study looking at genes associated with kidney disease and blood pressure in older cats. It's really exciting to be starting new work that we hope will expand our knowledge of both of these important conditions."
This humane study utilizes DNA from blood samples obtained for diagnostic purposes from companion cats during the course of their regularly scheduled veterinary visits. The samples, after being used for the necessary diagnostic purposes, were preserved for use in this study with the consent of the cats' human companions.