Winn Awards Grants For Feline Health Studies

The Winn Feline Foundation has awarded $99,909 in grants for studies on feline herpesvirus, adverse effects of vaccinations, interstitial cystitis, a new form of retinal disease, feline calicivirus and chronic renal failure.

A $15,000 grant was awarded to the continuing study “RNA interference of feline herpesvirus by synthetic siRNAs in corneal epithelial cells,” by Rebecca Wilkes, DVM, and Stephen Kania, Ph.D., of the University of Tennessee.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate RNA interference for FHV-1 in cat corneal cells, cells which naturally are infected by the virus. It has already been shown that RNA interference can be used to reduce the production of FHV-1 in cat kidney cell cultures.

“Association of vaccine administration with systemic disease in cats,” by Michael Lappin, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, and Jacqueline Whittemore, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, of Colorado State University, received a $25,000 grant.

The researchers maintain that it is possible that kidney disease and other common feline disease syndromes may develop as a result of over vaccinating cats. The study will evaluate the adverse effects of vaccinations.

“Adrenocortical function in cats with feline interstitial cystitis,” by C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVN, and Linda Lord, DVM, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University, received a $25,920 grant.

The purpose of this study is to learn more about the causes and treatment of feline interstitial cystitis, the most common cause of lower urinary tract signs in domestic cats. Based on earlier studies, the researchers will compare hormone concentrations in 32 neutered healthy and FIC cats of both sexes. The data will be used to design hormone replacement therapy to test the effects of hormone replacement on the signs of the disease.

A $7,260 grant was awarded to the study “A novel heritable progressive retinal atrophy in the Bengal cat breed,” by Leslie Lyons, Ph.D., at the University of California, Davis.

Several cats of the Bengal breed have been diagnosed with a form of blindness that is destroying their vision at around 5 months of age. This study aims to characterize the disease clinically so that veterinarians and breeders will be more aware of the problem. Breeders will also help identify blind cats and their relatives to help determine better breeding practices to prevent the disease and to build a database for future genetic studies.

A $15,000 grant was awarded to the study “Are differences in feline calicivirus tissue tropism and virulence determined by changes in virus interactions with cell surface glycans?” by John Parker, DVM, Ph.D., of the Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University.

The purpose of the study is to determine the capacity of severe virulent systemic (VS-FCV) and non-VS-FCV strains to bind specific sugar molecules on the cell surface and to identify the role this plays in FCV infection of different cell types. The findings will also facilitate understanding of the mechanisms by which FCV cause disease.

“Oxidative stress and antioxidant therapy in cats with renal failure,” by Craig Webb, DVM, Ph.D., of Colorado State University, received a $10,979 grant.

The study will examine the key components of the cat’s antioxidant defense system in chronic renal failure. A variety of measures of oxidative stress will be studied, as well as clinical parameters such as body weight and blood pressure. Results of the study could lay the foundation for deciding on the most appropriate antioxidant supplementation.

The six grants were funded in partnership with the George Sydney and Phyllis Redman Miller Trust.

The Winn Feline Foundation was designated by the George Sydney and Phyllis Redman Miller Trust as one of its advisor organizations in 2002. The terms of the Trust dictate that only principle investigators at certain institutions may apply for funding.

For study or sponsorship details, click here.

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