2023 Feline Health Grants
August 11, 2023 (published)
EveryCat Health Foundation

EveryCat Health Foundation
2023 Feline Health Grants
11 Grants Funded for a Total of $316,530

After a rigorous review by scientific advisors, board members, and a statistician, 11 proposals were recommended for funding by the Foundation’s Grant Review Committee. Awards for this year’s grant cycle totaled just over $316,530 USD.

Proposals were submitted from all over the world, encompassing a distinct range of feline health topics, including novel diagnostic and treatment investigations for feline infectious peritonitis, chronic kidney disease biomarkers, and cardiovascular disease treatment therapies.

Past highlights from EveryCat Health Foundation funding include the discovery of taurine as the major cause of dilated cardiomyopathy, the use of high protein/low carbohydrate diets as mainstay treatment of diabetes mellitus, discovery of feline blood types, development of in-clinic Feline Leukemia tests, treatment of asthma with metered-dose inhalant therapy, effective antiviral therapy for FIP, and many, many other accomplishments.

EveryCat Health Foundation’s collaborative work is made possible through the generosity of sponsors and donors. “We fund innovative health studies that advance veterinary knowledge and expertise. As the world’s only nonprofit foundation committed solely to supporting cat health research – EveryCat Health Foundation helps your cat, my cat, community cats – all cats, everywhere,” Jackie Ott Jaakola, Executive Director, EveryCat Health Foundation.

EveryCat Health Foundation awarded grants for the following research studies:

Use of the DNA damage response inhibitor BAY 1895344 as a component of care in feline oral squamous cell carcinoma. $32,000
Principal Investigator(s): Michael Nolan, North Carolina State University; Yvonne Mowery, Duke University. EC23-009 
Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma is an aggressive cancer of cats that is poorly responsive to modern therapies. Radiation therapy may be enhanced by the addition of drugs that inhibit DNA repair. This study investigates the use of a DNA repair inhibitor in cats with oral squamous cell carcinoma undergoing radiation therapy. (Oncology Fund)

Preventing severe adverse drug reactions in every cat by assessing the P-glycoprotein substrate status of clinically important drugs. $21,260
Primary Investigator(s): Katrina Mealey, Washington State University. EC23-012
P-glycoprotein protects the brain and other tissues from the harmful effects of certain drugs in dogs, mutations in PGP can lead to toxic effects from “normal” doses of drugs in some breeds. PGP mutations also exist in cats, but it is unclear which drugs are affected. This study aims to determine what drugs may have increased toxicity in cats with PGP mutations.  (Sponsored by Zoetis)

Effect of inhaled albuterol on whole blood potassium concentrations in healthy cats. $7,648
Primary Investigator(s): Elizabeth O'Toole, Jo-Annie Letendre; Université de Montréal. EC23-019 
High potassium levels occur commonly in cats with obstructed urinary tracts and are often life threatening. In humans and in dogs, inhaled albuterol can be used to temporarily decrease potassium levels, allowing stabilization until obstruction is relived. This study aims to determine if this is also effective in cats.

Molecular characterization of feline fibrosarcomas using spatially defined proteomics and transcriptomics. $35,000
Primary Investigator(s): Enni Markkanen, University of Zurich. EC23-034 
Feline fibrosarcoma is an aggressive and locally invasive cancer that is difficult to fully remove and does not respond well to chemotherapy. This study aims to use analysis of proteins and RNA in tumor samples and compare to them to surrounding healthy tissue to help aid in removing tumors entirely and to define targets for possible chemotherapies. (Sponsored by Zoetis)

Development of a Machine Learning Algorithm for Diagnosis of Feline Infectious Peritonitis. $14,030
Primary Investigator(s): Samantha J.M. Evans, The Ohio State University; Krystle L. Reagan, University of California- Davis. EC23-041 
Despite recent advances, FIP remains a challenging disease to diagnose, especially in the “dry” form. As such, it is often not even suspected on basic bloodwork analysis. Subtle trends may be present that are suggestive of FIP but may be missed by humans. This study aims to use machine learning to determine if patterns of results are present that may be suggestive of FIP. (Bria Fund)

Molecular characteristics and clinical outcomes of uropathogenic Escherichia coli in aging cats. $34,919
Primary Investigator(s): Erin Frey, North Carolina State University. EC23-043 
Older cats are more prone to develop urinary tract infections. Some strains of E. coli are more likely to cause recurrent or difficult to treat infections than others. This study investigates the genetic and molecular findings that make some types of E coli more serious infections than others.

Feline FAANG: what makes a cat—a cat! $33,738
Primary Investigator(s): Leslie A. Lyons, University of Missouri. EC23-047 
Domestic cats have one of the most complete genome sequences of any species, however many diseases with known genetic origins do not have their specific genes or mutations identified. This study is a continuation of previous research aimed at finding the genetic basic for many common feline conditions. (Miller Trust Fund)

Assessment of phage therapy in cats: a solution for antibiotic-resistant infections. $34,000
Primary Investigator(s): Ronen Hazan, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Alin Barsheshet, Vet-Holim JVMC Veterinary Medical Center, Kiryat Anavim, Israel. EC23-060 
Resistant bacterial infections are a common and increasing cause of concern in veterinary medicine. Phage therapy uses viruses to infect and kill bacteria without the need for antibiotics. This study aims to investigate and develop phages to treat resistant infections in cats. (Sponsored by Zoetis)

Urinary active transforming growth factor beta 1 in cats with hyperthyroidism before and after radioiodine treatment. $35,000
Primary Investigator(s): Laura Perez Lopez, Sylvie Daminet, Ghent University. EC23-069 
Radio-iodine therapy is the gold standard for the treatment of hyperthyroidism. However, many cats may have “unmasking” of their kidney disease after therapy. This study aims to investigate the concentrations of Transforming Growth Factor-beta in cat urine to determine if this predicts the risk of kidney disease after I-131. [Kidney Disease Fund in honor of Vicki Thayer, DVM, DABVP (Feline)]

Identification of the receptor allowing feline coronavirus type I entry into its natural target cell, the enterocyte. $34,250
Primary Investigator(s): Hans Nauwynck, Ghent University. EC23-074 
This study investigates how Feline Enteric Coronavirus (the precursor to FIP) enters intestinal cells. Finding this out may allow for the development of vaccines or drugs to prevent or treat infection before it becomes FIP. It will also allow the development of cell cultures that can be infected with coronavirus, allowing easier FIP research. (Bria Fund)

Assessing Pharmacokinetics of the Novel Antiseizure Medication Brivaracetam in Healthy Cats. $34,685
Primary Investigator(s): Amanda Gross, Tom Jukier; Auburn University. EC23-076 
This study investigates the ideal dose and frequency of administration of a new medication to treat and prevent seizures in cats. This medication may have less adverse effects and easier administration schedules than drugs currently on the market.