Using modern genomics to better understand the causes of gastrointestinal and respiratory disease in cats


GP West Fund



Research Period


Area of study



Principal investigator: Alan Radford
The syndromes of respiratory disease and gastrointestinal disease represent significant health and welfare burdens to cats, both owned and in shelters. There is a lack of genetic sequence information for known feline pathogens associated with these syndromes, especially when compared to equivalent pathogens in other species such as the dog. In addition, current conventional diagnostic methods fail to identify specific pathogens in well over half of affected cats. This project will apply state-of-the-art next generation sequencing (NGS) to feline clinical samples to both sequence known feline pathogens and discover new potential pathogens.
Improved understanding of the role of pathogens in these feline syndromes is a prerequisite to developing better diagnostics, to controlling transmission, to improving vaccination, and to enhance feline welfare. At the end of the project co-investigator, Maria Afonso, will have expertise in applying these state-of-the-art technologies to the cat, a species that to date has been relatively neglected in such studies, and which is not currently benefiting from the systematic application of these novel research technologies.
Published sequences from this work will provide a legacy to feline welfare well beyond the duration of this project.