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2011: A Banner Year for Helping Animals

By Kelley Weir

In 2011, Morris Animal Foundation saw many important outcomes from studies we’ve funded all over the world. At any given time, Morris Animal Foundation manages about 300 animal health studies at veterinary and research institutions all over the world. By supporting a continuous cycle of research, our foundation receives a steady flow of animal health accomplishments that we can share with you.

Easier chemotherapy for dogs

Despite improved treatments, cancer still takes the lives of too many dogs. Morris Animal Foundation is dedicated to continually improving cancer treatments in order to prolong life and ease suffering. Recently, researchers from Colorado State University used Foundation funding to learn that chemotherapy given at frequent, low doses slows tumor growth in dogs with soft-tissue sarcomas. This treatment, called metronomic chemotherapy, is easier to administer, is less expensive and causes fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy.

Shelter cats breathe easier

We’re actively supporting feline health research, too. In a series of studies completed last year at the University of California–Davis it was found that feline upper respiratory infection—which leads to the euthanasia of thousands of cats in shelters every year because the illness spreads easily and is hard to treat—can be managed in shelters. These studies compared disease frequency at different shelters and identified factors that can prevent the spread of this virus. One risk factor identified was stress resulting from a poor cage environment.  The researcher designed a new type of cage, which features separated eating, and toileting areas and a hiding spot.  Animals using the new cage were less stressed thus reducing their disease susceptibility. Shelters worldwide are starting to use these cages to keep their cats healthier, more adoptable and, most importantly, alive and in a forever home!

Better pain meds aid in colic surgery

Every horse lover fears his or her horse might one day develop colic, a painful condition that is a major cause of death in horses. Many horses with colic undergo surgery, but some commonly used pain-relieving drugs have inhibited intestinal healing. With Foundation funding, researchers from North Carolina State University found that the drug robenacoxib provides much needed pain relief and does not interfere with the healing process, thereby helping horses recover much faster.

New tool monitors stress in injured owls undergoing rehabilitation

A Morris Animal Foundation–funded study gave rehabilitators new tools for assessing stress in raptors, non-invasively. Researchers at the University of Minnesota used a fecal hormone analysis to evaluate stress hormone levels and stress responses in injured great horned owls as the birds went through the four stages of rehabilitation: admission, treatment, recovery and conditioning. The findings provide a way to quantify the stress level of an individual animal while undergoing rehabilitation, while also assessing the effectiveness of stress reduction strategies. All of the birds in the study were successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

These are just a few of the ways in which Morris Animal Foundation helped animals in 2011. It was a busy year for us, and we’re proud of all of the valuable information that has come out of Foundation–funded studies. We’re dedicated to continuing to support animal health through research, and we look forward to more accomplishments like these in the years to come.


Posted by MAFon January 9, 2012.

Categories: Animal health, Animal studies, Animal welfare

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