New Study Underway on Feline Diabetes

Winn Feline Foundation awards 11 grants for feline health studies.

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The incidence of feline diabetes is increasing, and dietary components may play a role in its development, according to two veterinarians at Michigan State University. They will be studying whether or not dietary trans-fatty acids play a role in the disease; their research is funded by a grant by the Winn Feline Foundation.

Trans-fatty acids (TFA), a type of fat, have been shown to contribute to diabetes and other health problems in humans, according to the veterinarians. TFA, which do not occur naturally, are produced during processing of fats and oils for inclusion in foods, including pet foods. Because little is known about TFA in animal diets, the studys objectives are to determine the levels of TFA in 90 commercial diets commonly fed to cats, and to correlate the dietary TFA intake to serum indicators of diabetes in 60 cats.

The veterinarians say the results may lead to specific dietary recommendations regarding TFA levels in feline diets.

The foundation awarded 10 other grants:

1) A study to determine if skin CO2 and O2 values can monitor critically ill cats effectively, as opposed to blood samples which may stress the cat

2) The relationship between feline hyperthyroidism and liver disease in cats

3) A study to determine whether cidofovir, a topical medication, is useful for feline herpesvirus treatment of naturally infected cats

4) A study on targeted gene mapping in cats

5) A study on the progression of an inherited blindness in Persians, and to decipher which gene results in the disease

6) The use of carvedilol, a third-generation beta-blocker agent, in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

7) A study to find out if changes in bone density are associated with high blood calcium in cats

8) A study to see if bacterial infections play a role in some liver diseases in cats

9) The use of calcimimetic drugs on whether or not it can prolong the life of cats with chronic kidney failure

10) A study on the mutation of genes associated with the development of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Ragdoll cats

Posted: March 8, 2006, 2 p.m. EST

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