October 29 is National Cat Day and Morris Animal Foundation understands the special place cats hold in our hearts. After all, we’ve been funding feline health studies to improve the quality of cats’ lives (all nine of them!) since 1950. Despite huge strides in cat health made over those years, there is so much more we need to do to help our feline friends live longer and healthier lives, but we are making a difference every day thanks to the many cat lovers who support our mission to advance feline health.
This National Cat Day, take a look at a few of our current research projects (and give your cat an extra hug for health).
- Up to 17% of cats with cardiac diseases will develop potentially life-threatening blood clots. Veterinarians commonly prescribe the drug clopidogrel, also known as Plavix, for cats with heart disease to help prevent and treat blood clot formation. Researchers identified genetic mutations that may explain why this drug is not a “one-size-fits-all” treatment for cats.
- In the last 10 to 15 years, feline panleukopenia, a highly contagious viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus, has re-emerged as a major cause of death in shelter-housed cats. Researchers are looking to see whether new or known strains of virus are contributing to these new outbreaks. Findings will be used to inform future vaccination strategies to help protect and reduce fatalities in cats worldwide.
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) affects less than 1 percent of cats seen by veterinarians for treatment, but is 100% fatal. In a small pilot study, researchers tested a novel antiviral drug to see if the drug could cure or extend the lifespan and quality of life of client-owned cats with naturally occurring FIP. Early findings indicate that this new antiviral drug shows potential as a possible treatment for cats at certain stages of the disease.
- Approximately 30% of diabetic cats enter a state of remission after initial insulin and dietary treatments. Unfortunately, in most cats, remission only lasts a few months and insulin injections are required again for disease control. Researchers are conducting a clinical trial using a medication prescribed for people with Type 2 diabetes to determine if it would be effective in diabetic cats.
- One in 10,000 cats get a rare cancer called injection-site sarcoma, a type of tumor that can form around any injection site, including injections of vaccines and life-saving drugs. Surgery is the mainstay treatment for this cancer and researchers are working to improve methods to make sure no cancer cells are left behind following surgical removal of these tumors in cats.
While October 29 is the official National Cat Day, every day is cat day at Morris Animal Foundation as we investigate wild and domestic cat diseases around the world. If your cat regularly visits a veterinarian, you have been touched by our research. From vaccines to diagnostic tools to the safety and dosing of drugs, the Foundation’s long-history in the world of veterinary research has helped our cats live longer, healthier lives. You can make a difference, too. Make a gift today to support studies that will advance the health of cats and all animals.