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W00-005: Mechanisms of Relaxation of Feline Airway Smooth Muscle: Implications for the Treatment of Asthma

Asthma may occur in cats of any age with the most commonly 2 to 8 years. Any breed of cat maybe affected with asthma. Affected cats are typically presented with complaints of coughing, wheezing, and respiratory distress. Signs usually result from airway inflammation and/or lower airway obstruction. Some cats are mildly affected and live otherwise healthy lives. Many cats, however, develop chronic bronchitis and experience life-threatening airway obstruction. Traditional medical therapies for this disorder have included anti-inflammatory agents (e.g. corticosteroids) and Beta agonist-like bronchodilators (e.g. theophylline and terbutaline). Cats with chronic asthma may require continuous medication, and complete elimination of signs may not be possible. Further, both groups of drugs may produce significant side effects or be of little clinical benefit in some animals. Recent studies in other animals suggests that potassium channels are important in regulating airway smooth muscle tone and that drugs that facilitate opening of the potassium channels cause relaxation of airway smooth muscle. This study will determine the role of these channels in the cat. The researcher then hopes to identify new, and potentially better, medical therapies for the treatment of bronchial asthma in cats.

Grant ID: W00-005

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2000

Amount awarded: $8,030

Investigator: Robert J. Washabau, VMD, PhD; University of Pennsylvania