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FirstVet + Basepaws

FirstVet services just got even better for cat lovers! We’ve teamed up with Basepaws Pet Health to help our pet parents better understand their cat’s healthcare needs. As a FirstVet customer, you can gain access to exclusive discounts and professional veterinary advice on your cat’s next Dental Health or Breed + Health DNA Test. Intrigued? Keep reading to learn more!

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What is Basepaws?

Basepaws Pet Health is a pet biotechnology innovator that has developed a unique set of screening tools for cats. This series of tests use genomic, microbiome, and health history data to screen cats of all ages for disease risk factors.

The Basepaws mission is to eradicate preventable genetic diseases in cats everywhere. But because feline genetics has historically been an understudied field, Basepaws strives to continually grow its genomic database and learn new information about cat breeds, traits, and health. In order to collect data and provide pet owners with reliable, personalized information about their cat’s health, the Basepaws team collaborates with geneticists, veterinarians, animal health industry experts, and veterinary colleges.

Currently, Basepaws offers three types of feline test kits: Breed + Health DNA, Whole Genome Sequencing, and Dental Health.

1. The Breed + Health DNA Test identifies genetic markers that could affect your cat’s health in the future. It also provides helpful information on your cat’s breed and/or breed groups, meant to bring awareness of common breed-related diseases and behaviors. As the feline database grows, Basepaws provides its customers with lifetime breed and health updates.

2. Whole Genome Sequencing provides you with your cat’s entire genome, including known genomic variants. You’ll receive a 1-hour consultation with a Basepaws genetics advisor and cat coach as well as access to the bioinformatics team for advice and support. As with the Breed + Health DNA test, your cat’s report will be continuously updated with new health, breed, and dental data.

3. The Dental Health Test analyzes more than 1,000 microbes in your cat’s mouth. This provides a personalized risk profile for three of the most common dental conditions in cats - periodontal (gum) disease, tooth resorption, and halitosis (bad breath). This allows Basepaws and your veterinary care team to give effective and specific recommendations for improving your cat’s dental care at home and provide realistic expectations for the type of professional oral health treatments that will be needed in the future.

Why should I have my cat’s DNA tested?

In order to understand why a DNA test can help you better care for your cat, it’s important to know what a DNA test can actually do. Because DNA carries information about your cat’s genetic composition, we can use this data to evaluate the development and function of all the cells, proteins, organs, and systems that make up your cat’s body. Genes give an animal the potential to develop certain traits, and by detecting genetic mutations, Basepaws can report how likely your cat is to develop a certain disease.

With the results of your Basepaws test, you and your cat’s healthcare team (primary care vet, veterinary technicians, telehealth vet, specialists, etc.) can personalize a care routine. For example, if you find out that your cat is at risk for developing kidney disease or certain heart conditions, your vet can help you know what symptoms to look for, determine how frequently your cat should be examined, and create a disease prevention plan when appropriate.

How can this help me care for my cat?

The results of a breed, health, and dental DNA test can give you helpful insights and peace of mind about your cat’s genetic risk factors for disease. This allows you to personalize your cat’s care routine while working closely with your veterinarian. DNA testing adds another important tool for early disease detection and even prevention in some cases!

While this does not replace regular veterinary check-ups and preventative measures like vaccination and parasite protection, sharing the results of your cat’s DNA report with their vet will help them focus on detecting early signs of certain diseases, teach you how to recognize symptoms, and start preventative measures when appropriate.

Additionally, understanding your cat’s breed or breed group will provide useful information regarding behavioral concerns, physical and mental enrichment needs, skin and coat care, diet, and weight management.

How can FirstVet customers use Basepaws’ services?

If you have questions about your cat’s health, schedule a video consult with one of the FirstVet veterinarians. Our experienced vets will collect information about your cat’s health and medical history, perform a video assessment of your pet, and discuss recommended steps that you can take to keep your favorite feline in tip-top shape. To help you and your primary care vet better understand your cat’s genetic make-up, risks for chronic diseases, and overall dental health, your FirstVet vet may recommend a Basepaws test kit. After your consult, you’ll receive an email copy of your cat’s medical notes and a special link for exclusive discounts on the Basepaws Breed + Health DNA and/or Dental Health tests.

How can FirstVet help my cat?

Being responsible for a pet comes with many questions and uncertainties. By combining the benefits of genetic testing and 24/7 access to a veterinarian, you’ll feel prepared to address your cat’s health concerns, both present and future.

We work closely with Basepaws so your FirstVet veterinarian can help you understand your cat’s DNA and/or Dental Health report. As a telehealth provider, we can explain your cat’s results, advise you on the development of a healthcare plan based on your cat’s genetic risk factors, and help you know what to expect from your primary care vet. This might include how often your cat should visit the vet, blood work or other diagnostic recommendations, and a discussion on common medications, supplements, or diets that are recommended for your cat’s specific condition. Your FirstVet vet can also help answer follow-up questions after your cat has started treatment or a home care regimen prescribed by your primary vet.

What can I expect after ordering a Basepaws test kit?

Once you receive your Basepaws package in the mail, be sure to create an account and register your CatKit. The kit will provide everything you need to take a quick 5 to 10-second swab or your cat’s gums and teeth. Use the prepaid shipping label and box to send your sample back to the Basepaws lab via USPS. Results are typically received via email in 4-6 weeks.

Read more:

Common Diseases in Cats

How to Choose the Right Food for Your Cat

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