Morris Animal Foundation is funding scientists who are using cutting-edge technologies to change the way veterinarians diagnose and treat cats. In one study, Dr. Steven Dow of Colorado State University is evaluating the effectiveness of mesenchymal stem cell therapy to treat cats with chronic kidney disease. This therapy has been successful in reversing and stabilizing kidney function in rodents with renal disease, and Dr. Dow hopes the same is true for cats. If these studies generate positive data, the results will have a significant impact on the development of new ways to manage feline CKD.
Another study is looking for ways to prevent cytauxzoonosis, a life-threatening disease in cats caused by the Cytauxzoon felis parasite, which is transmitted by ticks. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, the mortality rate for infected cats is 97%; even with the best available treatment, about 40% of infected cats will die. Researchers believe a vaccination is the only practical control strategy, and scientists at North Carolina State University, let by Dr. Adam Birkenheuer, are conducting a study to help identify which genes are the best vaccine candidates. www.morrisanimalfoundation.org