Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UF Study Shows Newborn Kittens Have Shot At Survival Thanks To Immune-Boosting Treatment

Date:
January 3, 2000
Source:
University Of Florida Health Science Center
Summary:
Orphaned or weak kittens, often deprived of mother's milk in their first day of life, may have a better chance at survival thanks to a simple blood transfusion.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Orphaned or weak kittens, often deprived of mother's milk in their first day of life, may have a better chance at survival thanks to a simple blood transfusion.

Related Articles


In animals and humans, mother's milk produced in the first couple days after birth contains powerful disease-fighting antibodies. Kittens depend on the early milk, known as colostrum, for protection against serious infections.

Now antibodies found in the blood of normal adult cats can be transferred to kittens by injection, report researchers at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. The process could be used to save newborn kittens of endangered cat species, such as panthers.

"For years, veterinarians have been aware that foals and calves need to ingest colostrum, or first milk, at birth on the first day of life, but we have lagged behind in small animal medicine," said Julie Levy, an assistant professor of small animal medicine at UF.

Unlike human babies, who acquire some antibodies via the placenta before birth, newborn kittens' immune systems are undeveloped and the animals, like other species, rely on passive transfer of antibodies through colostrum.

"Systematic bacterial infection is the largest cause of death in kittens from 10 days to 4 weeks old," Levy said. "We believe that at least some of these kittens were susceptible to infection due to their inability to acquire important antibodies from their mothers."

Kittens whose mothers die, are very ill or have poor quality milk might not receive adequate colostrum; also vulnerable are very large litters that compete for milk while nursing, weak kittens that do not nurse well and kittens with blood group incompatibilities with the mother, Levy said.

Dr. Urs Giger, professor of medicine and chief of medical genetics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, said studies such as Levy's are important in documenting how the newborn kitten's immune system works.

"We need to learn a lot more about the immunology of newborn kittens," he said.

Levy and Dr. Cynda Crawford, a postdoctoral associate in the college's department of pathobiology, are using a $6,400 grant from the Morris Animal Trust to refine the immune-boosting treatment.

The UF research team studied 50 kittens divided into four treatment groups and proved that antibodies in the serum -- a blood product - of adult cats could be transferred to kittens. The kittens studied included one group that nursed normally; one that did not nurse at all; one that did not nurse and received adult cat serum through abdominal injection; and one that did not nurse and received serum injections beneath the skin.

The researchers found that both serum administration methods were as effective as nursing. One of their goals is to establish a convenient dosage and to determine the best means to administer the serum efficiently and effectively.

"Since we now know that we can use antibodies found in the serum of normal adult cats to replace the ones missing from newborn kittens, we envision that, using widely available technology, most veterinary clinics would be able to deliver these lifesaving antibodies to at-risk kittens," Levy said.

Once their role in the study is complete, the kittens are adopted out to private homes after spay/neuter surgery and complete vaccinations.

"We have many left who still need homes," Levy said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida Health Science Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida Health Science Center. "UF Study Shows Newborn Kittens Have Shot At Survival Thanks To Immune-Boosting Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991229165151.htm>.
University Of Florida Health Science Center. (2000, January 3). UF Study Shows Newborn Kittens Have Shot At Survival Thanks To Immune-Boosting Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991229165151.htm
University Of Florida Health Science Center. "UF Study Shows Newborn Kittens Have Shot At Survival Thanks To Immune-Boosting Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991229165151.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins