Idexx Laboratories Inc. of Westbrook, Maine, has launched a national field study on cat cardiac health to better understand the prevalence of feline heart disease and the profile of cats at risk for this health concern.
“Current literature, based on existing cardiomyopathy studies, finds that one in six cats could have heart disease,” said Leif Lorentzen, DVM, the company’s senior medical affairs manager. “We are inviting general practice veterinarians to participate in this field study so we can better understand how cats present, and classify the common traits of cats that do present. We will use our findings to quantify how feline cardiac biomarkers, when added to current blood-screening protocols, provide veterinarians with more comprehensive screening tools that advance patient care.”
Unlike humans, where diet and lifestyle can be predisposing risk factors for heart disease, cats are believed to have genetic predispositions that can arise at any age, according to Idexx. Heart walls thicken over time, affecting the cat heart’s ability to provide adequate oxygen to tissues and can lead to similar medical complications as those seen in some types of human heart disease.
“This national study will aggregate experience so that we can begin to establish sensible recommendations for when and how often to test, as well as how to discuss heart disease with pet owners,” Dr. Lorentzen said. “Most importantly, this study will help us determine the right time for pets to see a cardiologist.”
Idexx anticipates enrolling more than 3,000 general practice veterinarians in the study, which will continue through 2010.
Veterinarians interested in participating in the study can visit Idexx Laboratories’ website for more information.