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Our Top 10 Health Successes of 2013

When it comes to investing in science that truly makes a difference for animals, Morris Animal Foundation had a bang up year in 2013. We’ve compiled our own top 10 list for the year. Out of all the Foundation-funded studies completed during the year, these are the research results that our scientific team feels will most advance veterinary medicine.

  • A growing concern for treating pets is increased antibiotic resistance, especially when it comes to Escherichia coli, the most common cause of urinary infections in cats and dogs. Findings from one study will help veterinarians better predict whether a strain of E. coli will respond to a specific drug. This would help ensure that pets are treated with the most effective antibiotics.
  • Cancer is a devastating disease in cats. New information will help veterinarians better diagnose cats with elevated lymphocyte counts and improve treatment for those with lymphocytic leukemia.
  • In recent years, infectious diseases have threatened the health of Africa’s endangered apes. Researchers developed new disease transmission models and screening tests that are helping veterinary professionals in Africa prevent and slow the progression of disease outbreaks in wild apes.
  • Rhinos often require anesthesia for medical conditions or conservation management. Researchers determined that rhinos breathe better under anesthesia when they are lying on their stomachs, a finding that is making anesthesia safer for both captive and free-ranging rhinos.
  • Upper respiratory tract disease is a leading cause of death for cats in shelters because the illness spreads quickly and is often time-consuming and expensive to treat. A recent study resulted in two new therapies for treating shelter cats with upper respiratory illness, which may save the lives of thousands of cats. 
  • Colorado’s native amphibians have suffered massive population declines. Scientists discovered information on the likely causes of these declines, and that data can now be used to design land management and restoration strategies that will reverse the decline of ecologically important native species.
  • Frogs, toads and salamanders are declining in numbers, and in some areas of the world they are becoming extinct. Researchers developed new assisted reproductive technologies to conserve endangered amphibians. These new techniques are now being widely used in conservation efforts and provide hope for the future of species on the brink of extinction.
  • Cats with heart disease can suffer painful and potentially fatal blood clots as a result of this condition. Researchers determined an improved drug regimen for preventing further blood clots in these cats.
  • A study showed that cases of leptospirosis, a serious infectious disease that can be transmitted from dogs to humans, are more prevalent than previously thought in small dog breeds. In addition, although current vaccines are effective against the most common strains, diagnostic tests aren’t always accurate and need to be improved.
  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is a painful bone disease that causes lameness in large-breed puppies. Researchers identified the genetic regions associated with this disease. This is the first step toward developing a test that would help in early diagnosis and improved breeding practices in high-risk breeds.

These are a few of the many successes for animals that took place in 2013. We have many more to come and we hope you’ll join us in supporting the amazing science taking place to improve animal health. Consider a donation today and start 2014 off with the gift of animal health.

December 30, 2013