July 24, 2023 – For 75 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.
Drug-resistant strains of heartworm are on the rise, highlighting the need for new disease control strategies. University of Pennsylvania researchers are working on arresting heartworm development in mosquitoes before they can transmit the disease. As a first step in this process, the team learned more about the immune response of Dirofilaria immitis, the parasitic agent of heartworm disease. This new information is helping inform the development of novel proactive measures. (Parasites & Vectors, December 2022)
One devastating complication of a common heart disease in cats, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), is clot formation, or saddle thrombus. University of California, Davis, researchers found cats with HCM and saddle thrombus have increased levels of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), webs of DNA and protein created by first-responder immune system cells. The team hopes these increased levels of NETs may serve as a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for thrombosis in cats with HCM. (Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, March 2023)
Mast cells play a part in acute and chronic asthma in horses, but their precise role has not been clearly defined. University of Tennessee researchers are taking a deeper look at the mast cell phenotype and how it may be connected to a type of asthma. The team is using this new information to help identify novel therapeutic strategies for asthmatic horses. (Frontiers in Veterinary Science, January 2023)
DEADLY RESPIRATORY DISEASE
New Zealand’s yellow-eyed penguins, also called hoiho, are predicted to become extinct from their mainland coastal habitat in the next 20-30 years, with disease as a major factor in the decline. Massey University researchers in New Zealand recently identified a novel virus associated with a disease that causes lung congestion and high mortality in hoiho chicks. Findings are helping inform disease management strategies to save the critically endangered hoiho, and possibly other at-risk penguin species. (Virology, February 2023)