Robin had a nice conversation with the nice human who staffed the Winn Feline Foundation booth at the conference. Lots of exhibitors attended (more on them later) because the animal-human interaction specialists met along with the American Veterinary Medical Association convention. Most of the hundreds of trade booths aimed to help veterinarians help animals. Winn Feline Foundation didn’t have any cool new medical tools, they have something better: fundamental research on cat health.
Winn Feline grants money to veterinary researchers to study the diseases that affect cats and cat health in general. The injection of money from Winn Feline helped humans make major improvements of their understanding of us over the past 40 years.
Winn funded research that helped understand our feline blood has types. Most of us have blood type A unless we are purebred, and then we’re more likely to have blood type B. This is super important to know if you need a transfusion! Knowledge of blood types in cats also helped vets learn how to treat fading kitten syndrome. Blood type research was among the first projects Winn Feline funded.
Winn has also helped researchers learn more about FIV, taurine, high blood pressure, feline leukemia, feline infectious peritonitis, diabetes, feline asthma, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease. The foundation also sponsored research that demonstrated safety of early-age spay/neuter, thus changing veterinary practice of waiting to alter until kitties are old enough to have kittens.
Researchers make detailed applications for funding every year, and Maureen Walsh (the human on duty in the booth) told Robin that each application faces scrutiny on research methodology and potential impact of the results. That’s how Winn Feline has helped to push human understanding of cat health so fast!
The money to support research comes from generous donors, like the Cat Fanciers’ Association. Breed lovers’ groups also partner with the foundation to support research vital to the health of a particular breed. The Ricky Fund, established by Steve Dale in memory of his kitty Ricky, supports work on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and The Bria Fund, established by Susan Gingrich in memory of her kitty Bria, supports research on FIP. Both specialized funds are vital to understanding and treating these devastating feline diseases.
You can become a donor too and make a big difference for cat health.