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July 26, 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.

Novel Stem Cell Product

Australian researchers from the University of Queensland developed a novel stem cell product they hope can one day provide a readily available, off-the-shelf supply of canine stem cells for regenerative therapies. This novel product possesses similar immunomodulatory capabilities as harvested stem cells, the essential component needed for successful treatment of dogs with numerous disorders. An off-the-shelf stem cell product would greatly help already sick dogs skip the stem cell harvesting procedure and get timelier treatment. (Scientific Reports, February 2021)

Heart Disease Gene Mutation

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common form of heart disease diagnosed in cats. Some breeds, including the Sphynx cat, are at high risk for developing the disease, suggesting genetic factors at play. North Carolina State University researchers recently identified a genetic mutation associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Sphynx cats, a critical step toward developing a genetic screening test for the breed. (Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, February 2021)

Foal Pneumonia Adjunct Therapy

Rhodococcus equi pneumonia is the most common and severe form of pneumonia in foals younger than 6 months of age. Very young foals are especially susceptible to this disease because of their immature immune systems. Texas A&M University researchers showed that an aerosolized agent boosted the innate immune system of newborn foals and reduced the duration and severity of R. equi infections – a promising new tool to help save these young lives. (Scientific Reports, January 2021)

Canine Distemper Solution for Tigers

With only about 500 Siberian tigers left in the wild, canine distemper outbreaks have devastating consequences on this endangered species. Wildlife Conservation Society researchers noted that vaccinating domestic dogs near tiger habitat is unlikely to be an effective control measure, as the disease flourishes mostly in other wildlife before spilling over into tiger populations. As vaccinating all the wild host species is impractical, the group suggests that, where feasible, low-coverage vaccination of tigers themselves would greatly reduce the extinction risk to tigers impacted by this virus. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 2020)