Finding answers for heart disease in Birman cats

Winn is seeking donations of $250 and up to sponsor specific projects from the 2015 Winn grant review. Sponsors will receive progress reports as they are available and copies of any publications that result from the project that are provided by the investigators. Your help in sponsoring these projects means Winn can fund even more research next year.

One project will help understand what phenotype characteristics and family background might contribute to heart disease in Birman cats. Sponsorship is easy!

W15-044:  Phenotypic characteristic of cardiomyopathy in Birman cats. $10,169
Principal Investigator: Virginia Luis Fuentes, VetMB, PhD, DACVIM, DECVIM; Royal Veterinary College, University of London

Birman cats, primarily in Europe, are predisposed to heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy). A crucial question that must be answered before a genetic mutation can be identified is whether the three forms of heart muscle disease are three different diseases with three different causes or whether they are part of a spectrum of one disease with one genetic cause. The plan here is to study Birmans with cardiomyopathy using a combination of cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography), pathology and pedigree analysis, so that the research team can determine the features of these heart muscle diseases. If there is substantial overlap in their ultrasound and pathology characteristics, or they find families of Birmans with multiple members affected by more than one type of cardiomyopathy, they can be more confident that they are dealing with one disease, and so can proceed to genetic research.