|Tiny Tim of KC Siamese Rescue|
Those trusting blue eyes were forever shut by this disease, and we all mourned.
And most recently, we all read along as friend and fellow blogger Robin Olson fiercely battled for the life of one of her rescue cats, 10 month old Fred.
You can read his story and the extraordinary lengths she went to, in order to save him, here.
Hopefully, very soon these sad tales will be stories from the past.
Last Thursday, June 20, Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine published the following news release: "Breakthrough discovery gives first hope against deadliest cat virus".
It's big news. The scientists at Cornell have uncovered the holy grail of a 30-year quest for the mutation that turns a harnless virus into the very fatal FIP.
Here is what the news release said:
"Discovered by a Cornell veterinarian in 1963, this mutant moves from intestinal cells to white blood-cells called macrophages. Traveling through the body, it kills most cats within weeks. Kittens are particularly vulnerable, especially in shelters and catteries. Current tests cannot distinguish between the common FECV and the killer FIPV. No effective vaccines or therapies exist.
“These viruses are so rife with mutations that even samples of the same virus from the same tissue in the same cat rarely match to the letter,” said Dr. Gary Whittaker, the professor of virology who discovered the mutation key. “Sifting through for something that distinguishes FIPV was like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
So Whittaker deviated from the traditional approach and focused instead on a specific characteristic of the virus. This unique interdisciplinary approach did the trick.
“We’ve found the first known molecular basis for FIP,” said Whittaker. “It finally unlocks the door to developing the world’s first effective diagnostics, preventions, and therapies for FIP in cats.”
Cat owners, shelter workers, rescues and volunteers the world over are cheering you on, Dr. Whittaker.