Companion Animal Nutrition Summit (CAN) 2019


Despite thousands of years of domestication, cats have retained many behaviors inherited from their wild relatives. Understanding cats at the molecular level can help guide the development of optimal health strategies.


Are We Ready for Genomic Medicine?

Wesley C. Warren PhD Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO


Genomic medicine (GM) offers the potential to more accurately predict disease treatment and prevention strategies by accounting for individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle. Despite many advances, the use of GM in medical practice is limited in human health. However, advances in the feline reference genome, databases, and variant studies will ultimately bring GM to veterinary practice.




Dr. Margarethe Hoenig

In Search of the Metabolic Switch

Margarethe Hoenig, PhD, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, IL


Excess weight is a well-known risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus in cats. However, it is unclear what determines whether or not an obese cat will develop diabetes. Alterations in beta cells, muscle and liver, or adipose tissue, may play a role in the progression of feline obesity to diabetes.


Dr. Paul D. Pion Image

Taurine Deficiency Myocardial Failure in Cats: Science or Serendipity?

Paul D. Pion DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology), Veterinary Information Network, Davis, CA


This presentation follows the path of discovery for taurine deficiency-induced myocardial failure in cats, and its reversal after taurine administration.




dr robert backus

Physiological and Beyond Nutritionally Essential Mechanisms of Action Behind Carnitine and Taurine Requirements in Cardiac, Skeletal and Other Tissues

Robert C. Backus MDS, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO


This presentation is a review of current understanding, and gaps in knowledge, about the role of taurine and carnitine in the nutrition and health of cats.


This document contains summaries of presentations from the Companion Animal Summit, held May 2-4, 2019 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Please note that these summaries represent overviews of the presentations and may include opinions and research of presenters, which do not necessarily reflect those of the Nestlé Purina Petcare Company.

Produced by the Purina Institute, May, 2019


Presentations on "Decoding the feline: Genetic similarities and differences"
Wesley Warren

Wesley C. Warren

Bond Life Sciences Center,

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO



Margarethe Hoenig, PhD
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, IL


Paul D. Pion

Paul D. Pion


DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Veterinary Information Network, Davis, CA


Robert C. Backus

Robert C. Backus

MS, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Explore this year's topics

Explore other topics discussed this year:


Rethinking feeding behaviors

The impact of nutrition on feline health extends beyond ensuring that cats get the nutrients they need, in the right amounts. The structure of food and feeding behaviors can also influence optimal health.



Reconsidering the role of phosphorus

Phosphorus is an important nutrient that is involved in many of the metabolic reactions in the body. Understanding the mechanisms that control phosphorus homeostasis in health is important in order to better understand how those mechanisms change in disease.

Related content


The Nexus of Pet and Human Nutrition

Companion Animal Nutrition Summit (CAN) 2017

Gerontology: an inside out perspective

Gerontology: an inside out perspective

Companion Animal Nutrition Summit (CAN) 2018