Supporting Feline Health Research

If you have a cat, you may have heard of the Winn Feline Foundation and the Cornell Feline Health Center. Did you ever wonder what these organizations do and why they are so important for our feline friends?

Started in 1968, the Winn Feline Foundation is a fund raising organization aimed at improving the health and well being of cats through research and education. The Winn Feline Foundation is dedicated to supporting and funding feline-only research. Over the years, their assistance has led to some amazing developments for cats. Winn-funded research has been instrumental in learning about feline infectious diseases like FIV, FeLV and FIP. Winn-funded projects have also tackled common and deadly feline ailments like kidney disease and heart disease, as well as helped unravel the complicated nutritional requirements of cats. Winn has supported feline health issues for more than 40 years. Very quietly, their contribution has been undeniably enormous.

Winn Feline Foundation’s hope is that by funding feline-specific research, many of these diseases will become increasingly preventable or at least treatable. Click here for more information about the Winn Feline Foundation and their work as well as to learn about cat health issues.

The Cornell Feline Health Center was founded in 1974 as a veterinary medical specialty center dedicated to, “Improving the health and well-being of cats everywhere,” by sponsoring research to study the treatment and prevention of feline diseases, educating veterinarians and cat owners about feline health and increasing awareness of cat issues. Over the years, The Cornell Feline Health Center has:

  • Established vaccine protocols for feline panleukopenia and viral respiratory diseases
  • Developed a test that helps diagnose feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
  • Studied diagnostic tests for the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Identified panleukopenia as a health threat to the endangered Florida panther
  • Conducted many studies on FIP

In addition to supporting feline research, the Cornell Feline Health Center has created an educational website for cat owners. The website contains a FAQ section, brochures, articles from the Cat Watch newsletter and educational videos. Visit their website to find out about their latest clinical studies or to take advantage of these important resources.

Although cats have achieved the distinction of becoming America’s most popular pet, they face many healthcare challenges, such as access to preventive care and funding for feline-specific research. Historically, funding for feline research has been a fraction of the amount spent on canine research. In addition, most pharmaceutical-sponsored clinical trials for new treatments and medications are targeted to dogs and not cats. Organizations such as the Winn Feline Foundation and the Cornell Feline Health Center fulfill a critical role in supporting research to improve the health and well-being of cats.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Reviewed on:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pups aren’t panaceas

Her results do not support a widely held assumption that pets protect us against worsened mental health and increased loneliness, Ratschen asserts.

"Evidence on the benefits of pets is mixed generally, both in research before the pandemic and during the pandemic,” she says, “because people have a lot of worries and concerns related to their pets.”

In other words, it’s not necessarily the case that getting a puppy will help you come through the pandemic in a healthier fashion, as many may believe.

Megan K. Mueller, an assistant professor of human-animal interaction at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, agrees.

Exploring the differences between pet and non-pet owners: Implications for human-animal interaction research and policy

Affiliation RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, United States of America

Affiliation RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, United States of America

Affiliation UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

Affiliation RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, United States of America

How pets can help you make healthy lifestyle changes

Adopting healthy lifestyle changes plays an important role in easing symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Caring for a pet can help you make healthy lifestyle changes by:

Increasing exercise. Taking a dog for a walk, hike, or run are fun and rewarding ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements—and exercising every day is great for the animal as well. It will deepen the connection between you, eradicate most behavior problems in dogs, and keep your pet fit and healthy.

Providing companionship. Companionship can help prevent illness and even add years to your life, while isolation and loneliness can trigger symptoms of depression. Caring for a live animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Most dog and cat owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles. And nothing beats loneliness like coming home to a wagging tail or purring cat.

Helping you meet new people. Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners, helping you start and maintain new friendships. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks, hikes, or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.

Reducing anxiety. The companionship of an animal can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. Because pets tend to live in the moment—they don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow—they can help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of the present.

Adding structure and routine to your day. Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Having a consistent routine keeps an animal balanced and calm—and it can work for you, too. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—one plaintive look from your pet and you’ll have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for them.

Providing sensory stress relief. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. Stroking a dog, cat, or other animal can lower blood pressure and help you quickly feel calmer and less stressed.

Get a dog, lose weight

A number of studies have linked owning a dog to losing weight:

  • A year-long study at the Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago found that walking an overweight dog helped both the animals and their owners shed unwanted pounds. Researchers found that the dogs provided support in similar ways to a human exercise buddy, but with greater consistency and without any negative influence.
  • Another study by the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction found that public housing residents who walked therapy dogs for up to 20 minutes five days a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds in a year, without changing their diets.
  • A third study, conducted by dog food manufacturer Mars Petcare, found that people with a dog walked 30 minutes more per week than they did before owning a dog.

Morris Animal Foundation Awards $1 Million for New Studies Benefiting Canine and Feline Health

DENVER/January 24, 2019 – Worth more than a few happy barks and meows, Morris Animal Foundation announced it awarded nearly $1 million in grants for nine canine and feline research projects. The studies will help veterinary scientists improve the health and quality of life of cats and dogs suffering from deadly and debilitating diseases including cancer, chronic upper respiratory disease and osteoarthritis.

“Cats and dogs mean so much to us, enjoying family status in about a third of American homes,” said Tiffany Grunert, Morris Animal Foundation’s President and CEO. “With the invaluable companionship they provide, we need to do all we can to give them longer, healthier lives. These studies will help do just that.”

Morris Animal Foundation is one of the world’s largest nonprofit organization’s that funds scientific studies to advance the health of animals. At any given time, the Foundation has more than 200 studies underway in dogs, cats, horses and wildlife. Since its founding in 1948, the Foundation has supported more than 2,670 studies and invested more than $126 million.

Through this year’s grants, totaling $983,965, the Foundation is supporting scientists at six universities and institutions, including North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University and the University of Illinois. The Foundation’s Small Animal Scientific Advisory Board reviewed all submitted grant applications and selected, based on scientific merit and impact, the studies with the greatest potential to save lives, preserve health and advance veterinary care. Newly funded studies include:

Working Toward an Immunotherapy for Osteosarcoma

Researchers will investigate the effectiveness of combining radiation therapy with an immune-stimulating agent to help slow the spread of osteosarcoma. The disease is the most common bone tumor in dogs, with an estimated 10,000 new cases diagnosed annually.

Evaluating an Early Diagnostic Test for Urinary Tract Cancer

Researchers will investigate the validity of a novel diagnostic test for the early detection of urothelial carcinoma, the most common urinary tract cancer in dogs. Earlier diagnosis could increase the chances of survival for the 40,000 to 80,000 dogs diagnosed each year with this devastating cancer.

Searching for New Analgesic Targets for Chronic Osteoarthritis Pain

Researchers will learn more about what drives pain in dogs with osteoarthritis and use this new information to help identify safer pain relief options for affected animals. In the United States, the condition affects 20 to 40 percent of dogs and is a leading cause of euthanasia in them as well.

Filling in Remaining Gaps in the Cat Genome Assembly

Researchers will fill in critical gaps in the current cat genome to facilitate discovery of genetic mutations associated with feline diseases. This will improve the research community’s ability to identify more mutations for simple and complex diseases and traits in breed and non-breed domestic cats.

Watch the video: Asthma in cats - Dr. Justine Lee (May 2021).