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Feline Health Symposium is for Anyone Who Loves Cats


Cat parents to cat doctors have converged on the University of Florida campus to learn about the latest advancements in feline health. The EveryCat Health Foundation in collaboration with Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine is hosting a cat health symposium that began on Friday and continues Saturday.

The event is open to almost anyone.  “All you have to do is like cats. If you don’t like cats, probably best to stay home,” stated Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant and Board Secretary for the EveryCat Health Foundation. “The focus in part is for veterinary professionals. But the idea is that this is open to anyone and everyone.  Our expert presenters from around the world are aware of that and will be talking in English – not Science-ese.”

Presenters will cover topics ranging from Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) to Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and a whole lot in between.

Among the speakers at the symposium is Dr. Niels Pedersen, Professor Emeritus from the University of California-Davis campus.  Dale explained that Pedersen is legendary in veterinary medicine and has conducted extensive research on FIP. "Feline infectious peritonitis is created by feline coronavirus which we (humans) could not possibly get but cats can.  When it mutates into something called feline infectious peritonitis, it had been previously considered fatal," said Dale. He continued making a connection between the feline coronavirus research and the COVID-19 pandemic.  "We knew the government would be looking at Remedisivir as a result of the work Dr. Pedersen did and we funded as a result when COVID-19 came about which after all is a coronavirus. And while we’re not cats, the government was desperate understandably to figure out anything that could be done.  And since it worked for cats, maybe it will work for humans. Turns out, of course, to work for humans.  Remdesivir has played a role of saving probably millions of lives around the world."

On Saturday night following the symposium, there is a celebration of all things cat.  The  Fabulous Feline Fete banquet takes place Saturday night starting at 6pm at the University of Florida Hilton Conference Center.  The event includes the usual things like a dinner, silent auction and music but the "stars of the show" - so to speak - will be adoptable cats from local shelters and The International Cat Association's top 5 breeds of cats.  The event is a fundraiser for the EveryCat Health Foundation.


Denise is the director of the Innovation News Center and WUFT News at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.