The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationship between various types of dry cat food and heart size and function in healthy cats. The results of this study will help to determine optimal diets for cats to minimize the risk of heart disease.
Sex: Male or female; intact or neutered
Age Range: 2-15 years
Weight Range: > 2.5 kg
Cats will have been fed a commercial dry cat food for at least six months (ideally, for at least one year) and eating mostly dry food (at least 70% of total calories).
Healthy (no medications) – cats known to have heart murmurs are not eligible
Easy to work with (doesn’t mind going to the vet)
Cats <2 years or >15 years of age
Cats <2.5 kg
Pre-existing heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, or significant illness (e.g., diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer)
Not eating any commercial dry food
Eating a commercial dry food for less than 6 months
The study will cover all of the costs of the measurements (EKG, echocardiogram) and all blood tests (chemistry profile, cardiac biomarkers, taurine levels, and, if over 7 years old, a thyroid level). We will provide the owner and primary care veterinarian with the test results.
Sample or Data Requirements
To determine whether your cat qualifies for the study, we will ask you to complete a diet history form (see below). If your cat qualifies, we will also ask you to complete a second survey about your cat’s environment and medications. Your cat will have an electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) performed and may have blood pressure measured using a cuff around the leg depending on the echocardiogram results. You cat will then have 9 milliliters (approximately 2 teaspoons) of blood drawn. Once the blood is drawn, your cat’s participation in the study will have ended. This study requires one visit to the Foster Hospital for Small Animals in North Grafton, MA.