Faculty Program Support

Faculty Program Support

The CCAH provides grant funding on a competitive basis to faculty for studies dedicated to advancing the health of dogs, cats and exotic pets. Since 2010, the CCAH as awarded nearly $4 million to support faculty research. In 2016-17, the CCAH funded 49 faculty grants totaling $874,740, and 13 matching grants in the amount of $43,895.

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:

Chronic kidney disease

Dr. Patricia Pesavento, a pathologist, received a grant to characterize the role of viruses in feline chronic kidney disease. Cats with kidney problems have a harder time excreting waste products into their urine, which can lead to a toxic buildup in the bloodstream. Chronic kidney disease is extremely common in cats. “It is likely that anyone who has ever had cats as companions has witnessed a cat struggling with progressive kidney failure,” Pesavento says. Her laboratory is exploring whether known, and possibly novel, candidate viruses contribute to the disease. “These types of pilot grants allow us to test hypotheses, and they have provided a strong foundation, in many of our laboratories, for outside research funding," she says.

Compounded chemotherapy drugs

Dr. Jenna Burton, an assistant professor in the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, received a grant to study the potency and stability of compounded chemotherapy drugs. Compounding refers to the process of a licensed pharmacist or physician combining or altering a medication’s ingredients to tailor a formula for an individual patient. “We need compounding pharmacies because what’s made for people doesn’t necessarily fit small cats and dogs,” Burton says. “It’s important to reformulate to treat our patients more safely, but we need to know that our patients are receiving the drugs as we prescribe them. We are concerned that these compounded products have greater variability in their formulation than we would see with FDA-approved formulations of drugs.”

Probiotics in obese cats

Dr. Andrea Fascetti, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, has been using her grant to study the effect of probiotics in healthy obese cats. Some of the human literature suggests that probiotics produce changes in the gastrointestinal tract that affect appetite and food intake, and possibly alter hormones associated with obesity. Fascetti and resident Aarti Kathrani have explored probiotics in cats, and their findings are currently under review. A previous CCAH grant allowed Fascetti to study feline obesity.

Upper-airway surgical treatment on brachycephalic dogs

Dr. Philipp Mayhew, an associate professor in the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, got a grant for a multi-departmental collaboration — with Dr. Stanley Marks in Medicine and Epidemiology — to study the effect of upper-airway surgical treatment on brachycephalic dog breeds (including Bulldogs, Boston terriers, pugs, boxers, shih tzus, Pekingese) with obstruction syndrome in their lower esophageal area. Dr. Marks is also studying the prevalence of zoonotic enteric pathogens in dogs at dog parks in Northern California. A zoonotic disease is one caused by germs that can spread between animals and humans. An apparently healthy and clean dog can still be infected and pass on the pathogen.