Wins for Winn researchers
Winn is pleased to showcase some recent success stories in research projects
supported by our foundation. “Simon Says”
Simon participated in a Winn Feline Foundation study that seeks to help cats suffering
from high-grade lymphoma. Read his story.
Simon Says: A Winn Success Story
Dr. Bridgett Mitchell, DVM, has treated numerous cats in her private practice so
when Simon, her domestic longhaired orange tabby, was diagnosed with high-grade
lymphoblastic lymphoma, Dr. Mitchell understood the seriousness of the disease and
immediately contacted the Oncology Service at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH)
at North Carolina State University (NCSU).
“Simon is a talker,” says Bridgett. “When he enters a room, he quickly lets you know
what he needs by his vocalizations. I became concerned when I noticed he stopped
grooming himself and he wouldn’t sit on his favorite ottoman and he didn’t sound like
Simon was facing a serious challenge. Systemic chemotherapy is the typical treatment
for cats with high-grade lymphoblastic lymphoma. Unfortunately, cats have a relatively
poor response to standard chemotherapy treatment with only 30 to 65% responding to
therapy for durations lasting 6-10 months on average.
While she was aware of the statistics, Bridgett hoped that they did not apply to her
companion. She was determined to uncover any option that would promise a longer,
quality of life for Simon. The timing of Simon’s illness was difficult. Bridgett had suffered
the loss of her grandmother as well as her dog and horse shortly prior to Simon’s
diagnosis. She needed Simon, now more than ever.
Hope came in the form of clinical trial being conducted by Dr. Laurel Williams, DVM,
DACVIM (Oncology), associate professor of oncology at NCSU. Dr. Williams is the
principal investigator in a multi-institutional study looking at the effects of abdominal
cavity radiation therapy following chemotherapy in cats with this type of lymphoma.
Funded by Winn Feline Foundation, the study aims to increase the odds for cats like
Bridgett readily agreed to have Simon participate in the study and the cat underwent
his initial six weeks of standard chemotherapy followed by novel radiation treatments to
attack the lymphoma that was slowly invading his body. Dr. Williams noted that Simon
tolerated the treatments well and never stopped purring and vocalizing for his owner. He
soon became well-known and loved by the entire VTH staff from clinicians to technicians
to support personnel, all of whom admired his personality and vigor. “It was clear that
there was something special about Simon,” says Dr. Williams, adding that his spirit
helped him in his fight against the disease.
Prior to his diagnosis, Simon was a large, muscular cat weighing more than 12 pounds.
His weight dropped to below 10 pounds prior to treatment. Fast forwarding to 17 months
later, a healthy Simon topped the scale at greater than 14 pounds. “We are so excited
and encouraged to have Simon with us, some 17 months after his initial diagnosis,” says
Bridgett. “He is doing great and enjoying his life of 11 years!”
Simon was one of the lucky ones — owned by an observant veterinarian who caught
the danger signs early and entered him into a novel clinical trial that focused on his
particular disease. Cats frequently do not show the affects of an illness until they
are very sick and weak and their systems become too compromised for aggressive
treatments. A cat with Simon’s form of lymphoma, for example, may not make it
through the initial treatments because of the aggressive nature of this cancer.
“Simon is a good example of the advantages that clinical trials can provide to animals
with existing diseases,” says Dr. Williams. “Not only has Simon benefited from this
Winn Feline Foundation study, he also contributed medical knowledge to the treatment
of other cats for years to come. This study will need several more cases to arrive at
the stage where we complete recruitment. It is exciting, so far, to see a better than
otherwise anticipated outcome for this disease. We are thrilled to see Simon alive and
thriving. We are hopeful that we will be able to recruit more cats with this form of cancer
to complete the study and truly change outcomes for cats and their owners.”
Bridgett concurs, and she now shares Simon’s experience to help her clients who are
facing similar challenges with their cats.
– Julie Nettifee Osborne, RVT, BS Close
Eradicating ringworm with disinfectants
A recent publication in Veterinary Dermatology discusses the efficacy of commercial
disinfectants against ringworm. The researchers, funded in part by Winn Feline
Foundation, set out to determine the efficacy of eight over-the-counter disinfectants at
killing the dermatophytes Microsporum canis and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. Read
the results here.