Norwegian Forest Cat HCM DNA Research Project
The letter that was sent to NFC Breeders all over the world to announce the project. We asked for assistance in our efforts to work with Dr's Meurs & Kittleson to identify the gene in the NFC that causes HCM
8 Dec 2005
To all NFC breeders concerned about HCM-(please feel free to cross post to other lists)
As many of you are aware, the need for a DNA test for HCM is becoming more evident as more NFC's have either died or have been diagnosed with HCM. Over the past year, a small group of NFC breeders-(Linda Stebner, Cheryl Sarges, Melissa Alexander and Colleen McGrady) have been working to improve awareness of HCM via Cheryl's website and by coordinating screening clinics. If you would like to make comments regarding our current and future plans, you can post comments after joining the HCM-Yahoo Group: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are few things we are currently working on: Contacting Dr. Meurs again to find out what is needed to start a HCM study for the NFC. We feel that it is important to have only one point of contact. Colleen McGrady had contacted Dr. Meurs initially on July 11, 2005. Dr. Meurs was in the process of moving to the state of Washington and Colleen did not receive a reply to the initial or follow-up inquiry sent in August 2005. We feel that it is imperative to have ONLY ONE point of contact and Linda Stebner will be designated as the Coordinator as she has a documented family of screened NFC’s with HCM. Even though a study could be a year away we feel it is important to start collecting DNA samples via buccal swabs as soon as feasible as some of the afflicted cats may die before the study begins.
Of utmost importance is FUNDING:
Colleen McGrady has contacted The Winn Foundation regarding whether they will be interested in establishing a separate fund for HCM DNA Research in the Norwegian Forest Cat and posed the question regarding matching a certain amount of our funding as they have done for the Sphynx Breed. She should find out by this weekend whether or not the Winn Foundation will consider sponsoring this effort. More information on Winn Feline Foundation Grants: http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/2005-awards.html
The alternative will be to set-up a not-for-profit Corporation in order to collect donations. Cheryl Sarges has a point of contact for an attorney. If anyone knows of someone who could volunteer their services to set up a not-for-profit corporation, please let us know.
Linda Stebner will be donating $2,000 from the Country Cat Club & $500 of her own funds; Colleen McGrady will donate $1,000 of her own funds; Melissa Alexander will donate $500 of her own funds; Cheryl Sarges will donate $100 of each kitten sale until our goal is met or exceeded. We need a substantial amount in place for research. There are currently over 800 NFC breeders worldwide and if everyone could donate the sale of a kitten or even $100 that would be a minimum of $80,000 from a small donation of $100 from each breeder!!!! ANY DONATION/PLEDGE LARGE OR SMALL WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED! Future fund-raisers will help raise money to fund continuing research. This is the beginning of organizing a means to help halt the spread of HCM in Norwegian Forest Cats. We will let everyone know as soon as we have correct procedures in place to begin accepting donations. In the meantime if you wish to make a PLEDGE, please contact one of the individuals listed below. We are also working on a website and a database of all cats currently screened that can be accessed by either Owner/Breeder name or Cattery name.
These are a few of our ideas; WE WILL NEED YOUR HELP with donations and fund-raising and help in setting-up clinics for screening. Some of you feel that testing is a waste of money, but just think - if you find that one of your cats is diagnosed with HCM, you are (by not using that cat for breeding) sparing yourself, your cats, and future kitten owners a lot of emotional turmoil. Let us please set any personal differences aside and strive for the preservation of our breed. We would like this effort to be worldwide. Anyone interested in volunteering please contact one of us below:
Linda Stebner, Epona NFC, Philadelphia PA USA; Coordinator for Research and Funding and International Representatives
Melissa Alexander, Into Wishin’ NFC, Massachusetts USA; + 001-508-954-3598 (c): Moderator of Yahoo Group and Coordinator for International Representatives and for present and future HCM screening clinics in Boston MA.
Cheryl Sarges, Winterfyre NFC, Arizona USA; Owner of Yahoo Group and maintains database for HCM Testing and Coordinator for fund-raising.
Colleen McGrady, Finnishline NFC; Upstate NY USA; Assistant-Coordinator for research & funding and Coordinator for present and future HCM screening clinics at Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group PC, Hopewell Junction NY.
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