MT19-006: Cats are Not Dogs: Addressing Drug Failure in Cats

We are faced with large gaps in knowledge of feline gastrointestinal (GI) physiology that is necessary for designing and selecting appropriate drugs for cats. This has been particularly important for oral drugs. As a consequence of this deficiency, veterinary practitioners treat cats as they would a dog, which can result in treatment failure and adverse reactions that negatively impact the cat’s health. The difference between cats and other animals in their response to oral drugs illustrates a lack of understanding of the feline gastrointestinal system and its impact on drug delivery. In order to predict oral absorption of drugs for cats, critical factors are necessary to define including normal pH and motility of the GI tract. These factors have been available for dogs, have assisted drug development for dogs, and have allowed for extrapolations of data between dogs and people to predict drug efficacy. Unfortunately, these data are practically non-existent for cats. Cats, and their pet parents, deserve better. Accordingly, our central study objective is to better characterize feline GI physiology. pH and motility of the stomach and intestines will be measured before and after meal-feeding in eight healthy cats using a non-invasive monitoring system. We hypothesize that feline stomach and intestinal pH will be lower and that motility will be faster as compared to that previously established for the dog and human. This information will immediately help support the development of oral drugs solely and specifically intended for use in the cat.

Grant ID: MT19-006

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2019

Amount awarded: $21,294

Investigator: Katie Tolbert, DVM, PhD, DACVIM