Morris Animal Foundation funds feline studies

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Morris Animal Foundation announ­ced Nov. 14, 2017, that it has awarded more than $400,000 in grants for studies in feline health.

The studies are as follows: 

"Investigating the re-emergence of a fatal gastrointestinal disease in shelter cats"

In the past 10 to 15 years, feline panleukopenia has re-emerged as a major cause of death in shelter-housed cats. Researchers will determine whether multiple parvovirus strains or other viruses are contributing to the re-emergence of panleukopenia. Awarded to the University of Sydney, Australia.

"Developing new diagnostic and prognostic tests for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)"

Feline infectious peritonitis is perhaps the most devastating infectious disease of cats. Definitive diagnosis of FIP prior to death remains a challenge. Researchers will explore novel ways to diagnose FIP and predict the likelihood of a cat developing the disease. Awarded to Colorado State University.

"Combating feline herpesvirus–related upper respiratory infections"

Feline herpesvirus type 1 causes about half of diagnosed viral upper respiratory tract infections in cats. FHV-1 spreads rapidly in multicat environments, making it a problem in shelters. Researchers will identify genes responsible for the lack of immune defenses associated with feline herpesvirus with the aim of developing a more effective vaccine. Awarded to Michigan State University.

"Understanding why cats respond differently to a common heart medication"

The drug clopidogrel is frequently prescribed for cats with heart disease to help prevent and treat blood clots. However, individual cats may process clopidogrel differently. Researchers will determine whether genetic mutations are directly linked to how well a cat with heart disease responds to the drug. Awarded to the University of California-Davis.

"Evaluating the effectiveness of a commonly prescribed drug for chronic kidney disease (CKD)"

Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of omeprazole, a gastric acid suppressant commonly prescribed to treat clinical signs of gastrointestinal disease in cats with chronic kidney disease. This project consists of two grants, one of which is a fellowship, awarded to the University of Tennessee.