Our mission of the Feline Health Center is to improve the health and well-being of cats everywhere, and achieving this lofty goal requires a multifaceted approach. We are able to improve the lives of cats today through outreach programs like the Dr. Louis J. Camuti Memorial Feline Consultation Service, seminars presented during the annual Fred Scott Feline Symposium and the New York State Veterinary Conference, and by providing health information on our website.
Although these services provide valuable information and support for the betterment of the lives of individual cats and their owners today, they do not improve the welfare of cats as a population in the future. This is why supporting basic scientific research is a vital aspect of our mission.
The scientific discoveries of today will form the basis for improved diagnosis and treatment of feline diseases in the future. To support the studies that will form the basis of tomorrow's feline medicine, the Cornell Feline Health Center offers research grants to scientists and clinicians here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. In partnership with researchers, the Center has offered landmark contributions to the improvement of feline medicine.
Past success, and a brighter future for cats
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.