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Determining the Effects of Constant Light on the Feline Immune System

All organisms exhibit daily rhythms in activity, metabolism, immune responsiveness and endocrine secretion that are critical for maintaining health. Disruptions in an animal’s internal rhythms, which occur in intensive care settings (because of constant light) or through travel across time zones (because of jet lag), can have a significant negative impact on an animal’s health. Disturbed biological rhythms result in suppressed immunity, an increased rate of mortality and altered endocrine function. The lead researcher theorizes that cats housed in constant light conditions will have altered immune, endocrine and metabolic parameters compared with cats housed in a setting that provides a light/dark cycle. The data collected from this study could provide critical information for improving the health of cats in intensive care settings and furthering understanding of feline immunity and health.

Dr. Megan M. Mahoney, University of Illinois, First Award Grant