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)

Why is research important?

Our mission at the Feline Health Center is to improve the lives of cats everywhere. We believe that achieving this goal requires a multifaceted approach. One very important aspect of this approach is helping cats today. To achieve this goal, we are dedicated to disseminating information to cat owners, breeders, and veterinarians through our Website, the Dr. Louis J. Camuti Memorial Feline Consultation Service, and through seminars presented during the annual Fred Scott Feline Symposium and the New York State Veterinary Conference. While these services provide valuable information and support for the betterment of the lives of individual cats and their owners today, they do not address a crucial component of our mission, that of improving the welfare of cats as a population in the future. This is why the support of basic scientific research is vital to achieving our mission.

It is important to understand that the knowledge and technology that we apply to improve feline health today has its roots in the basic research of the past, and that the scientific discoveries of today will form the basis for improved diagnosis and treatment of feline diseases in the future. The Cornell Feline Health Center has been at the forefront of supporting this vital research for decades. An excellent example of this continuum is the development of diagnostic techniques to screen for feline coronavirus. Feline coronaviruses come in two forms: one that causes mild, self limiting gastroenteritis (termed feline enteric coronavirus (FECV)), and one that causes the usually fatal feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)(termed feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV)). The Cornell Feline Health Center was responsible for the development of a test that detected antibodies to coronavirus in cats in the early 1980s. This development improved our ability to identify cats that had been exposed to coronavirus, thereby improving our ability to diagnose cats with FIP today. More recently, FHC funded research has resulted in the identification of a unique genetic signature of the transformation of the relatively benign FECV to the highly pathogenic FIPV. This recent discovery holds the promise of an improved ability to diagnose FIP in cats, but also to understand how FECV transforms to FIPV. If we can learn how this transformation occurs, this may identify potential therapeutic targets to treat and/or prevent FIP in the cats of tomorrow. This is just one example of how clinically applicable knowledge and/or technology results from basic scientific research, and how your donation to the FHC today can improve the lives of cats worldwide tomorrow.