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April 27, 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 worldwide.

Cats Are Not Dogs When It Comes to Cancer

Many veterinarians consider high levels of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) a sure sign of cancer in pets, but this might not always be true for cats. Colorado State University researchers found cats without cancer can have dramatic increases in circulating lymphocytes. The team also found cats with increases in most forms of cancerous lymphocytes have good prognoses and long survival times. However, cats with a less common subset of cancerous lymphocytes have a very poor prognosis with current treatments. (Journal of Internal Medicine, November 2019)

Cataracts, Eye Drops and Diabetic Dogs

Many diabetic dogs that develop cataracts are treated with eye drop medications, including topical ophthalmic prednisolone (a steroid) and diclofenac (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). However, little is known about the effects of steroid eye drops on diabetes control in these patients. Kansas State University researchers found that both topical ophthalmic prednisolone and diclofenac did not significantly affect diabetes regulation in dogs whose diabetes is well managed. (American Journal of Veterinary Research, December 2019)

Biting Insects and Allergies

Equine insect-bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is one of the most common allergic diseases in horses. University of Bern researchers in Switzerland recently published a review of preventive and therapeutic strategies for IBH. The team currently is working to develop an allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy shots), testing their strategy in Icelandic horses. This breed has a high IBH incidence when exported out of Iceland. Findings may help improve diagnosis and treatment for all horses affected by IBH. (Current Dermatology Reports, December 2019)

Virus Spreads

The deadly phocine distemper virus (PDV), a marine mammal virus related to canine distemper virus, historically has caused outbreaks in seals in the Atlantic Ocean. University of California, Davis, researchers confirmed PDV has crossed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The team’s findings suggest the movement of the virus was likely due to changes in seal migration patterns resulting from decreases in sea ice caused by climate change. This allowed the seals to carry the virus to a new region through contact with other seal species. (Scientific Reports, November 2019)