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Illnesses of Finnish Cats Revealed in a Unique Survey

Sep 03, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

A team of researchers has unveiled the most prevalent illnesses in Finnish cats through a unique survey. The group discovered that the cats' most common health issues involves the mouth, skin and kidneys.

According to Science Daily, in Finland, the most beloved domestic animal is a cat. Even though most of the Finnish housecats are mixed-breed, there are over 4,000 purebred cats that are registered in the country every year. Despite such large population of felines, there are actually little information about their health issues.

So what makes this survey unique? Unlike doing series of experiments, the researchers, led by Professor Hannes Lohi of the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Research Centre, turned to social media to ask cat owners about their pets' health issues.

"There is much less information about feline illnesses than, for example, canine ones. We used social media to gather our data, and the study benefitted greatly from the active participation of cat enthusiasts. Most of the data was collected in just over six months. Our research material is unique in its structure and scope, and it highlights important breed-specific genetic illnesses which are ripe for further study," explains researcher Katariina Vapalahti, one of the study's authors.

The research material's scope is broad. It includes studies of more than 8,000 cats, 1,500 of which are housecats. According to the researchers, their study also touches new information about cats that can be used as a basis for genetic study. Lohi said that they discovered nearly 60 breed-specific or hereditary diseases and six genetic mutation associated with six cat breeds, Newslocker reports.

"The study provides useful information for preventing disease and developing breeding programmes. The results reflect the findings of previous research in part, but they also provide a great deal of new information on the health of purebred cats and housecats alike," Lohi concludes.

As for these felines' prevalent disease category, dental and oral diseases come on the first spot with 28 percent, according to the journal published in Frontiers in Veterinary. It is followed by skin disorders with 12 percent, the urinary system with 12 percent, the digestive tract with 11 percent, eyes, and the musculoskeletal system (10 percent). For individual diseases, the most common are dental calculus and gingivitis, parasites, vomiting, urinary tract infection, kidney disorders, urinary stones, diarrhea, and cystitis.

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