Cornell Feline Health Center

Cornell Feline Health Center

Dr. Bruce Kornreich
Associate Director for Education and Outreach
235 Hungerford Hill Road
Ithaca, NY 14853-6401
phone: 607-253-3414
fax: 607-253-3419

1-800-KITTYDR (1-800-548-8937)

Funded Research

The Cornell Feline Health Center Research Grant Program provides vital financial support to Cornell researchers investigating issues that affect feline health. Below is a list of projects currently funded by the Cornell Feline Health Center.

Detection of anti-Acanthamoeba antibodies in cats with and without keratitis
Principal Investigator: Eric Ledbetter
Dr. Ledbetter’s research focuses on understanding the mechanism and improving the diagnosis and treatment of Acanthamoeba infection of the feline cornea. Dr. Ledbetter was the first investigator to identify this organism as a cause of keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea, in cats.

A pilot study evaluating DNA damage response mechanisms in the chemosensitivity of feline injection site sarcomas
Principal Investigator: Kelly Hume
Dr. Hume’s research focuses on understanding how the genetics of response to DNA damage may be used to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in feline injection site sarcomas. Given the importance of this devastating sequela of vaccination, this project has the potential to improve the lives and well being of countless of our feline friends.

Dynamic computed tomography evaluation of blood flow in the maxillary artery of cats with the mouth closed and maximally opened
Principal Investigator: Manuel Martin-Flores
Dr. Martin-Flores is the recipient of two Feline Health Center grants. The first project is investigating the effect of maximally opening the mouths of cats during anesthesia on blood flow to the brain, eyes and ears. This study was prompted by the recognition that some cats experience blindness after anesthesia, particularly after dental procedures, during which their mouths are often maximally opened for variable periods of time.

Improving tracheal intubation in cats: a videoscopic assisted evaluation of laryngeal function and the effects of gantacurium
The second project focuses on the use of a novel drug to decrease the incidence of injury to the larynges (the back of the mouth) of cats during placement of endotracheal tubes for anesthesia. A considerable number of cats incur these injuries during induction of anesthesia, and this study holds the promise of reducing these injuries in cats.

These projects are excellent examples of how FHC-funded projects can have a relatively immediate impact on feline well-being.

Modulation of fibrinolysis and coagulation by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in cats: a potential novel prophylactic therapy for arterial thromboembolism
Principal Investigator: Daniel Fletcher
Dr. Fletcher is investigating the effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on blood clot formation in cats. Inappropriate clot formation is a big problem in cats, particularly those with certain types of heart disease, and this condition can be life-threatening. This study has the potential to significantly improve the prognosis for many cats through a dietary modification that is easy to implement and that has virtually no side effects.

The role of receptor-induced conformational changes in the capsid of feline calicivirus during virus infectious entry
Principal Investigator: John Parker
Dr. Parker’s studies are focused on understanding the molecular basis of feline calicivirus (FCV) entry into the cells of susceptible cats. Given the high prevalence and significant impact of this virus on feline health, Dr. Parker’s work is an excellent example of today’s basic science that forms the basis for tomorrow’s innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of feline diseases.

Is the feline point mutation of PKD1 operational in cats with hepatofibrocystic disorders?
Principal Investigator: Sharon Center
Dr. Center’s research is investigating whether PKD1, a protein that has been linked to the development of polycystic kidney disease, is involved in a variety of degenerative liver disorders in cats. An understanding of the mechanisms of liver disorders in cats would provide unique opportunities to improve our ability to diagnose and treat these syndromes, which significantly impact feline health.

Evaluation of coagulation abnormalities in feline patients using a point-of-care analyzer
Principal Investigator: Marjory Brooks
Dr. Brooks’ work focuses on the evaluation of blood clotting abnormalities in cats using a cage-side analyzer. Given the potentially devastating effects of clotting disorders on feline patients, and the time that can be lost in awaiting results of clotting profiles submitted to a central laboratory, the prospect of having a quick and accurate test that can be performed in the clinic holds promise of significantly improving the prognosis of cats with clotting abnormalities.

Receptor utilization by type 1 feline coronaviruses
Principal Investigator: Gary Whittaker
Dr. Whittaker has been a leader in the drive to understand how the relatively benign feline coronavirus transforms into the highly contagious and routinely fatal feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) virus. Given the grave prognosis of cats with FIP, Dr. Whittaker’s work provides a much-needed ray of hope for the improved diagnosis and therapy of FIP in the future.

Viral particle-based display for multiple antigens for feline immunosterilization
Principal Investigator: Vicki Meyers -Wallen
Dr. Meyers- Wallen’s work focuses on the development of a vaccine based contraceptive (immunocontraceptive) in cats. Given the burgeoning feral cat population and the number of cats without homes, an effective immunocontraceptive would provide a tremendous benefit to feline populations (and to those people and animals impacted by these populations) worldwide.

Parasite-specific IgM detection in cats with cuterebriasis
Principal Investigator: Dwight Bowman
Dr. Bowman’s research is focused on the development of an improved diagnostic test for Cuterebra infection in cats. Cuterebra is a species of fly, the maggot (immature form) of which may enter a cat through the nasal cavity and ultimately burrow through body tissues, causing a variety of problems, depending upon where the maggot burrows. The diagnosis of Cuterebra infection is very difficult, and the development of an improved test for Cuterebra has the potential to significantly improve feline health and well being.