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November 5, 2018  For 70 years, Morris Animal Foundation has been a global leader in funding studies to advance animal health. With the help of generous donors like you, we are improving the health and wellbeing of dogs, cats, horses and wildlife worldwide.

Newly Identified Cat Virus

Until now, researchers were unaware that companion animals were susceptible to hepadnaviral infections, a family of viruses that invades liver cells and is linked to hepatitis and cancer in other species. University of Sydney researchers identified a new hepadnavirus in a cat with a compromised immune system due to feline immunodeficiency virus and lymphoma, and in banked samples from pet cats. The next step is to learn how this virus impacts cat health and its role in cancer and other diseases in cats. (Viruses, May 2018)

Cast Size and Optimal Healing

Having a dog in a cast is challenging for both the dog and its owner. The cast needs to be long enough to promote healing but not so long that a pet’s movement is unnecessarily impaired. Colorado State University researchers found that dogs fitted with longer casts for hind-leg injuries or ailments see fewer pressure sores and softtissue complications than dogs with shorter casts – new information that will help improve animal care. (The American Journal of Veterinary Research, March 2018)

Eye Cancer Screening Test

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common cancer affecting horses’ eyes. Some breeds, such as Haflinger horses, have a higher risk for developing these ocular tumors. University of California, Davis, researchers identified a genetic mutation in Haflinger horses that partly explains the higher incidence of ocular SCC in this breed. A screening test for this mutation is now available through UC Davis for Haflinger horses. (Animal Genetics, July 2018)

Land Use, Tick Proliferation and Large Wildlife Loss

Two threats that contribute to the loss of African wildlife are land-use change associated with habitat loss, and ticks associated with disease. University of California, Santa Barbara, researchers found these two separate threats may be connected. More pasturelands result in megafauna declines, and loss of these larger animals is associated with an increase in tick density and parasitism in remaining species. This new knowledge can help guide land-use and disease-control measures to help protect African wild dogs and other endangered species in managed landscapes. (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, May 2018 & September 2017)