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Tony Buffington

Tony Buffington
Tony Buffington
Veterinary Clinical Sciences

Cats are Cool – As Pets and for Hints About Human Illness

There is very little about domestic cats that Tony Buffington doesn’t know – and he recently shared his expertise in a new digital book called Cat Mastery: A Guide to Understanding Your Cat. Buffington has studied them for decades, and developed ways to enrich the lives of indoor cats in particular. One common cause of health problems in cats – think missing the litter box or vomiting – can be traced to their struggle with interstitial cystitis (IC), a disease syndrome characterized by pain in the bladder and elsewhere in the body. It’s a tricky disease to diagnose – in cats and, it turns out, in humans – because the while the bladder shows signs of malfunctioning, it appears to be the victim rather than the cause of the syndrome. Buffington will tell you about a marker he has identified in the blood of both cats and humans that might signal both species’ susceptibility for interstitial cystitis. This line of research on IC has extended to other medically unexplained or functional syndromes – such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia, which Buffington theorizes could have origins in the central nervous system. The blood test relies on infrared microspectroscopy, which identifies the biochemical content of a blood sample based on where peaks of molecules appear in the infrared spectrum. Most recently, a pilot study suggested that this technique could enable development of a finger-stick blood spot sample to speed the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Buffington is a professor of veterinary clinical sciences and the creator of the Indoor Pet Initiative.

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