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MT17-006: Using biomarkers of aerodigestive disorders involving reflux for diagnosis of reflux in cats

Reflux and small volume-inhalation of stomach contents are frequent sources of acute and chronic respiratory disease in humans. In humans, reflux has been associated with chronic cough, inflammation of the upper and lower airways (e.g., rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma) and other serious lung diseases. However, studies have also shown healthy adults reflux without developing any clinical signs or evidence of disease. Understanding the frequency and severity of reflux and aspiration in healthy individuals is critical to determining their significance in patients with respiratory disease. In cats, asthma is a common but serious condition that shares many characteristics with asthma in humans. The association between reflux and respiratory disease in cats is poorly understood. Reflux studies in cats demonstrated narrowing of the airways, increased mucous production, and decreased protective mechanisms against aspiration. This may suggest, as in people, that reflux may contribute to respiratory disease in pet cats and clinically useful tests need to be developed. A type of x-ray test (fluoroscopy), has allowed visualization of swallowing to document reflux events in 41% of healthy dogs and the protocol could be adapted to cats. Reflux may also extend beyond the esophagus and could be detected by identifying stomach proteins in the throat. The investigators propose evaluating 15 cats for reflux using both fluoroscopy and by evaluating the throat for markers of stomach contents. Their study will allow assessment of prevalence of reflux in healthy animals as a first step to understanding how reflux is linked to respiratory disease ultimately providing new treatment options.

Grant ID: MT17-006

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2017

Amount awarded: $21,164

Investigator: Megan Grobman, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Carol Reinero, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; University of Missouri