Too many pet parents have known the heartbreaking loss of a beloved pet to cancer. As part of our commitment to helping all pets live healthier, happier, and longer lives, Basepaws is studying the genetic and oral microbiome factors associated with certain types of cancer. We welcome your participation in this research, which could inform the development of new screening tests for earlier detection of cancer in pets.
The Need for Earlier Disease Detection
The Animal Cancer Foundation indicates that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in dogs and cats. It also highlights the importance of early detection for improving pet health outcomes and quality of life.
Within the mouths of our pets resides the oral microbiome—a community of bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and likely other microbes yet to be discovered. The feline oral microbiome holds valuable information about a cat’s health, and Basepaws began accessing and interpreting these messages with the world’s first at-home cat oral health tests.
This is where the potential of the oral microbiome lies—early detection of signs of disease. It turns out that the types and quantities of certain microbes in the mouth at any given time can be indicative of a disease state.
Basepaws conducts research that informs the development of oral microbiome screening tools for the earlier detection of active disease states (e.g., our oral health test for cats) and of a pet’s genetic predisposition to disease (e.g., our Breed + Health Cat DNA test). These tools offer pet parents and veterinarians more opportunities to address issues sooner and collaborate on personalized treatment plans so that pets can get the targeted and timely care that they need.
Basepaws Cancer Research
Gastrointestinal (GI) lymphoma is known as a hard-to-diagnose disease. Symptoms of this cancerous condition—weight loss, decreased or increased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea—are vague enough to be easily associated with a range of other illnesses. This includes the non-cancerous condition called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
This makes it very challenging to accurately distinguish between IBD and GI lymphoma with physical exams alone. An intestinal biopsy—costly for pet parents and invasive for pets—is currently the primary method of confirming IBD versus GI lymphoma.
There are studies that have shown that the state of the oral microbiome is associated with both gastrointestinal cancer and IBD in humans. Basepaws began analyzing the oral microbiomes of cats, and our preliminary findings have also confirmed that the oral microbiome is a reliable predictor of IBD.
We’re actively recruiting citizen scientists and their cats for additional GI lymphoma and IBD studies to help us build upon this preliminary research. Our goal is to direct the study findings toward the potential development of a non-invasive and painless oral microbiome screening test that could reliably distinguish between IBD and GI lymphoma. Such a tool could offer pet parents greater peace of mind as well as support veterinarians’ efforts to implement targeted treatments that are disease-appropriate.
How to Participate
Your participation can help change the future of IBD and GI lymphoma diagnosis and treatment in cats. If you are a pet parent with a cat who has a veterinarian-confirmed diagnosis of GI lymphoma or IBD, please click on the applicable link below to be considered for one of our research programs:
- Basepaws citizen science IBD application link
- Basepaws citizen science GI lymphoma application link
Pet parents of qualifying cats in the U.S. (who are not already Basepaws customers) will get a free oral swab kit to collect a DNA sample. Shipping is also free both ways! Qualifying participants who are not current Basepaws customers will also receive a free signature cat DNA report as a huge thank you for contributing to this work.
If you are a veterinary professional and would like to learn about joining our clinical research programs for feline (and canine) IBD, GI lymphoma, and more:
- Please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate;
Through these collaborative research programs, Basepaws continues to co-create a vibrant community with pet parents like you. Thank you for being a part of this important work. Together, we are ushering in a new era of proactive pet health that supports the health, wellness, and longevity of all pets.