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Winn Feline Foundation Supports Feline Heart Disease Research

Dr. Kathryn Meurs, professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is a recipient of a Winn Feline Foundation research grant to study feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common cause of heart disease in the adult cat.

Cats with HCM are at risk of sudden death, breathing difficulties, or development of a blood clot. The Winn Feline research grant, in the amount of $24,674, supports the continued study of HCM in the Sphynx breed.

A genome-wide association study has identified a particular chromosomal region of interest associated with the development of HCM. A close evaluation of this chromosomal region of interest will follow to determine the gene and ultimately the causative genetic mutation.

Feline HCM is noted to be inherited in the Main Coon and Ragdoll breeds. In these two breeds, causative genetic mutations have been associated with the development of the disease. Ultimately, the identification of a genetic cause for HCM in the Sphynx cat be used to reduce the prevalence of the disease in this breed and provide information on this disease in many other breeds of carts as well.

Dr. Meurs, who is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology), focuses her lab’s research in the area of genetic aspects of cardiovascular disease. Research support for this project also comes from the Sphynx Cat breeders and owners.