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October 23, 2020 – For more than 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 well-being of dogs, cats, horses and wildlife around the world.

T-Zone Lymphoma

Golden retrievers represent about 40% of all T-zone lymphoma (TZL) cases, suggesting a genetic component to the disease. Colorado State University researchers recruited dogs using the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study recruitment database. Genetic analysis of these dogs identified mutations common to both TZL and mast cell tumors, suggesting a potential shared mechanism for cancer development. Researchers also identified variants involved in thyroid hormone regulation. In a parallel study, dogs with hypothyroidism were significantly less likely to develop TZL than dogs without hypothyroidism. (BMC Genomics, July 2020)

Cat Coronaviruses

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need to understand human coronaviruses, find their weaknesses and develop targeted therapies. The same holds true for cat coronaviruses. Western University of Health Sciences identified changes in gene activity in response to a common, mild coronavirus in cats and its mutated deadly form, feline infectious peritonitis virus. This new information will help with the discovery process of much-needed diagnostics and treatments for this deadly strain of coronavirus in cats. (Cells, June 2020)

Equine Herpesvirus

Despite efforts and vaccination programs to control equine herpesvirus, outbreaks continue to threaten the health of horses and related species worldwide, including zebras and rhinoceros. Freie Universität researchers in Germany described the first stages of EHV-1 infections and how the virus induces disease. This new information will help inform development of vaccines and therapeutic interventions for this serious disease in horses. (Pathogens, May 2020)

Muskoxen Declines

Many wild muskoxen herds are facing unprecedented declines in the rapidly changing Arctic. University of Calgary researchers in Canada documented widespread exposure of muskoxen in western Canada and Alaska to the bacterium E. rhusiopathiae, a pathogen that usually affects pigs. New information points to increased exposure to E. rhusiopathiae as a possible cause of recent mass mortality events in muskoxen. (PLOS One, April 2020)