Colorado State University veterinarians are seeking cats with Inflammatory Bowel Disease for a clinical trial that would test a form of stem cell therapy.

The most common cause of chronic diarrhea in cats is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Drs. Craig and Tracy Webb, small animal internal medicine veterinarians at Colorado State’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, will study mesencymal stromal cells from cats as a potential therapeutic option for cats suffering from the disease.

“Once administered to a patient, these cells appear to migrate to areas of inflammation and begin producing and directing anti-inflammatory defenses,” Craig Webb said. “Owners of these unfortunate cats are often asked to give multiple medications to their pets on a daily basis, often for the life of their pet. Even then, control of the diarrhea may not be adequate, significantly affecting the quality of life of both the pet and the owner.”

For the study, the scientists need cats that have clinical signs consistent with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (diarrhea, vomiting, or both for more than two weeks) and ideally a histopathologic diagnosis of IBD.

Cats only need to be enrolled in the study for a total of six weeks: two weeks on standard therapy of diet with or without steroids followed by the first stem cell/placebo injection, then the second injection two weeks later, and two weeks later a final blood draw and questionnaire. The study will pay for a fasted blood sample of the Texas A&M GI panel run at the start and the end of the stem cell therapy.

Cats can be enrolled either at CSU or through their regular veterinary clinic. People interested in the study should ask their veterinarian to contact Dr. Craig Webb at CSU. Veterinarians will be reimbursed for the exam, blood draw, Texas A&M panels, and shipping of the samples.

The study is funded by the Winn Feline Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that supports studies to improve cat health. Frankie’s Fund for Feline Stem Cell Research, a fund created and maintained by cat owners to support CSU’s feline stem cell program, provided the cells used in the study. For more information or to give to Frankie’s Fund, go to https://advancing.colostate.edu/frankiesfund.

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