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July 22, 2019 – 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.

Triggers of Deadly Cat Virus
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a deadly viral disease found worldwide. FIP is caused by a mutated form of a common, highly contagious virus that rarely, in itself, causes illness in cats. Researchers at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Bristol Veterinary School, United Kingdom, identified key pathways triggered by the benign virus and found cats that mount an exaggerated immune response to the benign virus are more likely to develop FIP. Data also suggests mesenteric lymph nodes play a role in FIP development. (Journal of Comparative Pathology, January 2019)

Dystocia and Stillbirths Risk Factors
Many puppies born each year die at birth or within the first week of life. Risk factors for canine dystocia include colony, litter size and age of dam. Risk factors for stillbirths include dystocia, C-section, litter size, breed, low- and high-birth weights, and longer intervals between birth of pups. These data-driven guidelines can be used for decision-making in breeding programs to help optimize survival of both dams and puppies. (Theriogenology, February 2019)

Novel Cells for Regenerative Therapy
Current treatments cannot fully repair damaged articular cartilage and restore joint surface integrity in injured horses. University of Kentucky researchers studied how salamanders repair cartilage and identified a subtype of cartilage-forming cells, known as interzone cells. In culture studies, the equine equivalent of these cells appears to have superior properties for regenerative therapies compared to bone marrow- and fat-derived mesenchymal cells, stem cell types used to treat horses today. (Veterinary Surgery, February 2019 & Cartilage, April 2019)

Reducing Transportation-Related Stress
Every year, hundreds of endangered sea turtles are stranded on beaches due to oil spills, cold-stunning, entanglement and vessel strikes. Rescue organizations often must transport these turtles long distances to and from care facilities and release sites. Researchers found that simply placing the turtles in a saltwater pool for six hours after transport (and prior to release) improved measures of stress and the turtles’ readiness for release back into the wild. (Conservation Physiology, January 2019)