Diabetes in Burmese cats – can we blame the genes?

The Burmese breed has been identified to be at increased risk of diabetes in several geographic regions, including the UK, other European countries and Australia. Although genetic predisposition is suspected, the genes and mutations responsible for this increased susceptibility have yet to be discovered. It has also been suggested that other factors, such as obesity, the presence of a concurrent disease (e.g. dental disease, pancreatitis) and administration of certain drugs (e.g. steroids), might contribute to this increased risk.

At the Royal Veterinary College, we are engaged in research to identify diabetes susceptibility genes. Our plan is to use a technique called Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to investigate genetic mutations involved in diabetes in Burmese cats. To establish the contribution of environmental factors mentioned above, we are also keen to collect data about the health status of Burmese cats.

How you can help

We would be most grateful to all owners of Burmese cats who would be willing to participate in our research by filling in the online health survey (please follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CBB8KG6) and requesting a blood sample (taken at routine diabetes check-up) to be submitted to the RVC’s Companion Animal Diabetes Register (UK Feline Diabetes Archive) by their primary care veterinarians. A free-of-charge fructosamine (blood test to monitor diabetes) measurement will be provided from this sample by our lab and only left-over sample will be used for the genetic analysis. Please download the sample submission form and information sheet.

Pedigree information will also make a vital contribution to our genetic work so we would be very grateful if owners, who complete the health survey or submit blood samples would also provide their cat’s pedigree details to our research group. The pedigree can be submitted online during completion of the health survey or by emailing Katarina Hazuchova (fdrc@rvc.ac.uk).

If you have any questions about this research, please do not hesitate to contact Katarina Hazuchova via the email above. Thank you for participating!


Katarina Hazuchova for the Diabetic Remission Clinic at the Royal Veterinary College.