December 30, 2021 — Discoveries to advance diagnostics, treatments and even find cures, start when puzzle pieces come together and the full health picture comes into view. With your support, Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers from around the world are working diligently to find critical new information to fill knowledge gaps in animal health.
Here’s a quick recap on some of the many ways Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers are filling in the puzzle:
SEIZURE OR NOT?
Pet owners have helped find a missing piece of the epilepsy puzzle by using their phones to record seizures in their pets. These recordings are helping scientists to understand that what may look like an epileptic seizure, may be another movement disorder – paroxysmal dyskinesia (PD). A team from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany are working to figure out what causes PD, ways to properly distinguish PD from epileptic seizures and how to properly treat it.
IMPACT OF NOISE
Human-generated noise is affecting wildlife in ways we are just beginning to understand. Our funded researchers are looking at how noise affects both captive and wild species. Projects include studying how noise impacts conservation animals living in aquaria and zoos, as well as the impact of noise on stress and cascading health challenges in free-ranging wildlife.
CANCER PUZZLE PIECES
The Golden Oldies project is a complementary study to support the Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, a project to learn more about canine cancer and other health challenges in dogs. Data will help researchers look for genetic differences between dogs that succumb to cancer before the age of 10 and dogs that live past 12 years of age.
Tritrichomonas foetus is a little-known intestinal parasite of cats. When Deborah Hux began supporting Morris Animal Foundation in 2009, little did she know the connection with our work would save her cats’ lives. Deborah and her veterinarian contacted a Foundation-funded team who helped them identify T. foetus as the causative agent that was making Deborah’s cats sick which then led to a successful treatment plan.
Policies to protect the health and well-being of animals have been crucial to conservation efforts around the world. However, policy development requires scientific data to formulate regulations and convince skeptics. Data generated by Foundation-funded researchers often find their way into policy documents, guiding conservation strategies or the crafting of new laws to address serious animal health issues.
NEW PUZZLE CHALLENGES
With a new year, comes new challenges. Our funded researchers work tirelessly on a wide range of health challenges to keep animals healthy and safe. Upcoming challenges include working on drug-resistant strains of heartworm disease, finding better testing and treatments for a deadly bleeding disorder and finding innovative ways to prevent and treat obesity in our pets, to name a few.
If you would like to support these and other Foundation-funded animal health studies, donate today. Your gift will support new diagnostics, treatments and long-term preventives addressing the health challenges of today and tomorrow in dogs, cats, horses and wildlife.