2016 Symposium Overview
Published: June 30, 2016
Winn Feline Foundation
Winn Feline Health Symposium | 38th Annual Symposium on Feline Health

"Cat Tales" of Genetics and Behavior
June 30, 2016; 4:00 - 6:30 PM
Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa
Las Vegas, NV

Leslie A. Lyons, MS, PhD
Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparatie Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia

"Genetics and Precision Medicine: State of the Art Health Care for Cats!"
Dr. Lyons will present a review of her work, then lead into a description of “Precision Medicine”, which is now available for humans, and its role in the future of feline medicine. A growing proportion of the general public understands that an individual’s good genetic make-up can be squandered by poor lifestyle and bad habits, the same is true for our cat companions. Gene-specific DNA-based tests for inherited diseases have been available for veterinary health care in cats for over 25 years. Now over 40 genes with nearly 70 DNA variants have been documented to cause phenotypic, disease or blood type variations. More recently, the entire genomes of dozens of cats have been sequenced, rapidly gleaning the genetic information that is controlling health and what an animal looks like. In the coming years, veterinarians will be performing whole genome screens of some kind as a routine component of a disease diagnosis. Whether for tumors or other diseases, the DNA results will routinely direct future therapies.



Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

"Feline Compulsive Disorders"
Dr. Dodman will provide information on the common presentation of three compulsive behaviors in cats - wool sucking/pica, psychogenic alopecia and feline hyperesthesia syndrome. He will address the cause and treatment of each disorder, including genetic foundations, environmental pressures that trigger them, and environmental and pharmacologic therapies that have been shown to reduce, or in some cases practically eliminate their expression. Outlining a phenotypic study of wool sucking funded by Winn, he will list potential causes and preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the occurrence of this troubling and occasionally lethal condition. Also, he will discuss findings of a Winn-funded study to locate atypical genomic regions in Birman cats affected with this condition.