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A Report from the Winn Feline Foundation Symposium on FIP, Part Two: The Cats and Their Humans Who Fight This Battle

girl-with-kitten

Guest post by Ingrid R. Niesman, MS PhD

This is the second installment in a three part series reporting from the 2019 Winn Feline Foundation Symposium on FIP. Click here to read Part One: The Viral Menace.

Some of the world’s deadliest pandemics are the result of viral infections. Polio was conquered by a vaccine in 1955. HIV infections are now treatable thanks to antiviral cocktails. FIP can now be considered treatable, using novel antiviral therapies presented at the Winn Feline Foundation FIP Symposium. With the facts clearly laid out in Dr. Niels Pedersen’s presentation, there is a very effective drug to use on FIP-infected cats. Unfortunately, the commercialization has been waylaid.Continue Reading

A Report from the Winn Feline Foundation Symposium on FIP, Part One: The Viral Menace

young-kitten-FIP

Guest post by Ingrid R. Niesman, MS PhD

Sometimes it’s hard to know which part of me should come out first, the observant and curious scientist, or the deeply passionate cat lover. I registered for the Winn Feline Foundation FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) Symposium based on the opportunity to dive more deeply into the feline medicine scientific world. I never experienced FIP in my cats or had an understanding of feline enteric coronavirus (FECV) or the mutated FIP culprit. I was unprepared to understand the depth of passion surrounding this disease, and the lengths scientists and owners have gone to achieve the breakthroughs in treatment and prevention presented in this two-day symposium.Continue Reading

From Cells to Siamese: Advancing Our Understanding of Cognitive Dysfunction

siamese-cat

Guest post by Ingrid R. Niesman, MS PhD

Anyone who has lost a beloved relative or cherished pet to dementia knows the tremendous personal cost. My phone and computer screens still display 19-year-old Mr. Spock, although he left us in October of 2013. His last years were marked with curious Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms, most notably tremors, loss of appetite and a pronounced head tilt. However, he maintained his dignity and profound loving nature to the end. It was the beginning of my personal journey to understand feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), although I had no concept that such a clinical condition even existed.Continue Reading

Is There a Genetic Basis for the Unique Behaviors of Siamese Cats?

siamese-cats

Guest post by Ingrid R. Niesman, MS PhD

The dark horse wins the race”. “Our hero strides forth on a shiny white steed”. Humans have long been mystified over animal behaviors and coloration. Albinos have been alternatively feared or revered. Black cats summon up dark arts imagery. But is there really a connection between a cat’s fur and their behavior or is this just superstition? My research is aimed at unraveling at least a small part of this enduring mystery.Continue Reading