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October 19, 2021 – 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.

Promising New Therapy

Propranolol is a drug commonly used to treat heart disease in dogs and people, and now shows promise as an adjunct treatment for hemangiosarcoma. University of Minnesota researchers evaluated the effects of combining propranolol with another commonly used chemotherapy agent, doxorubicin. The team found propranolol can help further sensitize hemangiosarcoma cells to doxorubicin, increasing cancer cell death and potentially reducing drug-resistant cell populations, a major treatment hurdle for this canine cancer. (Frontiers in Oncology, February 2021)

Blood Clots

The drug clopidogrel, also known as Plavix, frequently is prescribed for cats with heart disease to help prevent and treat blood clot formation. However, some cats process clopidogrel differently, resulting in variations in drug efficacy. University of California, Davis, researchers found that genetic mutations on a specific gene altered response to clopidogrel therapy. This discovery can help clinicians customize treatment options to prevent blood clots on an individual patient basis to ensure optimal response. (Scientific Reports, June 2021)

Valley Fever

Alpacas living in the southwestern United States are at risk of contracting Valley fever, a serious disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides. Antifungal medications such as fluconazole are a cornerstone of treatment and can be very effective. However, alpacas absorb oral medications less efficiently than other species, so it’s been difficult to determine the optimal dose of fluconazole for this species. University of Arizona researchers recently published results of a study that determined a therapeutic dose of fluconazole for coccidioidomycosis in alpacas, a finding that will improve treatment of Valley fever in these animals. (Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, June 2021)

War on Ticks

North American moose are in decline in part due to winter tick burden that can cause physical stress to moose and even kill calves. University of Vermont researchers are working on a strategy to combat tick infestations in moose without the use of pesticides. The team recently developed a granular formulation of a fungal-based product that shows promise at effectively targeting winter tick larvae under laboratory conditions – a critical step toward developing an environmentally friendly way to reduce tick burden in wildlife. (Biocontrol Science and Technology, May 2021)