Faculty Research and Program Support

Faculty Research and Program Support

Faculty research pictureThe CCAH provides grant funding on a competitive basis to faculty for studies dedicated to advancing the health of dogs, cats and exotic pets. For over 25 years the CCAH has been supporting these efforts, and has awarded nearly $19 million. In 2018-19, the CCAH funded 43 faculty grants totaling $665,619, and 9 matching grants in the amount of $66,252.

By supporting our faculty research, we directly impact companion animals and their families by doing the work needed to better understand, prevent and treat disease. Here are a few examples of how the CCAH uses your donations to fund groundbreaking research. 


  • Efficacy and safety of the nucleoside analog GS-441524 for treatment of cats with naturally occurring feline infectious peritonitis
  • Pedersen NC, Perron M, Bannasch M, Montgomery E, Murakami E, Liepnieks M, Liu H

    The aim of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of the drug GS-441524 to treat cats suffering from various forms of naturally acquired feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). 31 cats were enrolled in the study. Cats ranged from 3.4-73 months of age. 26 had effusive or dry-to-effusive FIP and 5 had non-effusive disease. Cats with severe neurological and ocular FIP were not recruited. The group was started on GS-441524 at a dosage of 2.0 mg/kg SC q24h for at least 12 weeks and increased when indicated to 4.0 mg/kg SC q24h. Four of the 31 cats that presented with severe disease died or were euthanized within 2-5 days and a fifth cat after 26 days. The 26 remaining cats completed the planned 12 weeks or more of treatment. Eighteen of these 26 cats remain healthy at the time of publication after one round of treatment, while eight others suffered disease relapses within 3-84 days. Three of the eight relapsing cats were treated again at the same dosage, while five cats had the dosage increased from 2.0 to 4.0 mg/kg q24h. The five cats treated a second time at the higher dosage, including one with neurological disease, responded well and also remain healthy at the time of publication. However, one of the three cats re-treated at the original lower dosage relapsed with neurological disease and was euthanized, while the two remaining cats responded favorably but relapsed a second time. These two cats were successfully treated a third time at the higher dosage, producing 25 long-time survivors. One of the 25 successfully treated cats was subsequently euthanized due to presumably unrelated heart disease, while 24 remain healthy. GS-441524 was shown to be a safe and effective treatment for FIP. The optimum dosage for this drug was found to be 4.0 mg/kg SC q24h for at least 12 weeks.
  • Prophylactic and therapeutic effects of twice-daily famciclovir administration on infectious upper respiratory disease in shelter-housed cats
  • Cooper AE, Thomasy SM, Drazenovich TL, Kass PH, Potnis SS, Leutenegger CM, Maggs DJ

    In humans with herpetic disease, early or pre-emptive famciclovir therapy, which is an antiviral drug,  reduces disease duration and severity. This prospective, masked, placebo-controlled study tested therapeutic and prophylactic effects of two famciclovir doses given to cats for 7 days following shelter entry. Cats were assigned to prophylactic or therapeutic study arms based on clinical evidence of herpetic disease at study entry. Cats in the therapeutic arm received no treatment (n = 19), placebo (lactose; n = 18) or famciclovir at ~30 (n = 21) or ~90 mg/kg (n = 20) by mouth twice daily for 7 days. Cats in the prophylactic arm received no treatment (n = 25) or famciclovir at ~30 (n = 28) or ~90 mg/kg (n = 27) by mouth twice daily for 7 days. Disease scores, body weight, conjunctival feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1) shedding, and adoption rates were recorded on days 1 (admission), 8 (end of therapy) and 15 (1 week after cessation of therapy). No significant differences in clinical scores were observed among groups in the prophylactic or therapeutic arms at any of the three time points. However, within the therapeutic arm, viral shedding on day 8 was significantly higher in cats receiving no treatment compared to  those receiving ~30 or ~90 mg/kg famciclovir, and this effect persisted 1 week after famciclovir was stopped (day 15) only in cats receiving ~30 mg/kg, although this approached significance in cats receiving ~90 mg/kg. No significant differences in adoption rates were detected among groups in either arm throughout the study. Although we did not demonstrate a statistically or clinically significant effect of famciclovir administration upon clinical signs of infectious upper respiratory disease or adoption, when it was administered at ~30 or ~90 mg/kg twice daily for 1 week famciclovir reduced conjunctival FHV-1 shedding. This suggests a potential role in interrupting the infectious cycle within a shelter population; however, cost in time and resources, and stress and pathogen transmission induced by oral administration should be considered.
  • Determination of mammalian DNA in commercial canine diets with uncommon and limited ingredients
  • Fossati LA, Larsen JA, Villaverde C, Fascetti AJ

    Over-the-counter (OTC) commercially available, limited ingredient diets for dogs could be reliable alternatives to veterinary therapeutic diet formulations for the diagnosis and management of adverse food reaction (AFR). However, the possibility of undeclared ingredients jeopardizes the efficacious use of OTC options for medical purposes. The objective was to determine the presence of undeclared ingredients in OTC canine dry diets marketed as limited or single protein source diets. Twenty-one OTC adult canine diets marketed as limited or single protein source diets were purchased. Multiplex PCR was used to screen for DNA of 10 mammalian species. The presence of DNA from one or more species not declared on the label was identified in all 21 diets tested and included cow (Bos taurus), pig (Sus scrofa), sheep (Ovis sp.), goat (Capra hircus) and bison (Bison bison). Twenty diets were positive for the declared protein source and one diet was negative for the declared species. Cat (Felis catus), dog (Canis sp.), horse (Equus sp.), mouse (Mus musculus) and rat (Rattus norvegicus) DNA was not identified in any samples. The presence of undeclared mammal species in OTC canine dry diets marketed as having limited or single protein source ingredients may complicate AFR diagnosis and treatment. However, PCR can detect a miniscule amount of DNA which might not be clinically significant, because the amount needed to elicit a response is unknown. Quantification of the contamination was not determined in this study, precluding discrimination of intentional adulteration from unavoidable cross-contamination.

Here are a few of the 2018-2019 CCAH published donor-funded studies:


Investigation of immune cell markers in feline oral squamous cell carcinoma
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology (Feb. 2019)
Sparger EE, Murphy BG, Kamal FM, Arzi B, Naydan D, Skouritakis K, Cox DP, Skorupski K.

Association of macrophage and lymphocyte infiltration with outcome in canine osteosarcoma
Veterinary and Comparative Oncology (Mar. 2019)
Withers SS, Skorupski KA, York D, Choi JW, Woolard KD, Laufer-Amorim R, Sparger EE, Rodriguez CO, McSorley SJ, Monjazeb AM, Murphy WJ, Canter
RJ, Rebhun RB


Cardiac effects of a single dose of pimobendan in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study
Frontiers in Veterinary Science (Feb. 2019)
Oldach MS, Ueda Y, Ontiveros ES, Fousse SL, Harris SP, Stern JA

Echocardiographic evaluation of velocity ratio, velocity time integral ratio, and pulmonary valve area in dogs with pulmonary valve stenosis
Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Sep. 2018)
Nishimura S, Visser LC, Bélanger C, Oldach MS, Gunther-Harrington CT, Stern JA

Emergency Medicine

Efficacy of manual ventilation techniques during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in dogs
Frontiers in Veterinary Science (Oct. 2018)
Hopper K, Rezende ML, Borchers A, Epstein SE


Genetic heterogeneity and diversity of North American golden retrievers using a low density STR marker pane
PLOS One (Feb.2019)
Ontiveros ES, Hughes S, Penedo MCT, Grahn RA, Stern JA


Evaluation of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II as a candidate for sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) in dachshunds
Veterinary Ophthalmology (Feb. 2019)
Stromberg SJ, Thomasy SM, Marangakis AD, Kim S, Cooper AE, Brown EA, Maggs DJ, Bannasch DL


Influence of needle gauge used for venipuncture on measures of hemostasis in cats
Journal of Feline Medicine Surgery (Feb. 2019)
Solbak S, Epstein SE, Hopper K


Multi-color flow cytometry for evaluating age-related changes in memory lymphocyte subsets in dogs
Development & Comparative Immunology (Oct. 2018)
Withers SS, Moore PF, Chang H, Choi JW, McSorley SJ, Kent MS, Monjazeb AM, Canter RJ, Murphy WJ, Sparger EE, Rebhun RB

Infectious Disease

Pilot study of the safety and solerability of asubconjunctival penciclovir implant in cats experimentally infected with herpesvirus
Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Jan/Feb 2019)
Covert JC, Thomasy SM, Kado-Fong H, Kon LN, Kass PH, Reilly CM, Lappin MR, Margulies BJ, Maggs DJ

Babesia conradae infection in coyote hunting dogs infected with multiple blood-borne pathogens
Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Sep. 2018)
Dear JD, Owens SD, Lindsay LL, Biondo AW, Chomel BB, Marcondes M, Sykes JE


Intracranial pressure monitoring in normal dogs usingsubdural and intraparenchymal miniature strain-gauge transducers
Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Mar 2019)
Sturges BK, Dickinson PJ, Tripp LD, Udaltsova I, LeCouteur RA

Pharmacokinetics and safety of zonisamide after oral administration of single and multiple doses to Hispaniolan Amazon parrots
American Journal of Veterinary Research (Feb. 2019)
Keller KA, Guzman DS, Boothe DM, Visser M, de Matos RE, Petritz OA, Kass PH, Paul-Murphy JR


Determination of total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in commercial canine diets
Topics in Companion Animal Medicine (June 2019)
Sires RA, Fascetti AJ, Puschner B, Larsen JA

Pain Management

Evaluation of the thermal antinociceptive effects and pharmacokinetics after intramuscular administration of buprenorphine hydrochloride to cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus)
American Journal of Veterinary Research (Dec. 2018)
Guzman DS, Houck EL, Knych HKD, Beaufrère H, Paul-Murphy JR


Surgery cardiorespiratory effects of variable pressure thoracic insufflation in cats undergoing video-assisted thoracic surgery
Veterinary Surgery (Jun. 2019)
Mayhew PD, Pascoe PJ, Giuffrida MA, Mitchell J, Steffey MA, Culp WTN

Effects of hole diameter on torsional mechanical properties of the rabbit femur
Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology (Jan. 2019)
Massie AM, Kapatkin AS, Garcia TC, Guzman DS, Chou PY, Stover SM