Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation

by Simpson E Australian Small Animal Veterinarians, AVA
22 Sep 2017

Recently, the Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation (ACAHF) received a very generous and unexpected gift in the form of a bequest from the estate of the late Patricia Williams. Patricia had a great love for all animals, but it was following the death of her beloved cat Socksey in 1997 that she decided to leave a donation in her will to the ACAHF. Patricia led a frugal life choosing to spend the little money she did have on her animals and ensuring she would be able to provide this wonderful gift to the ACAHF. Sadly, Patricia passed away in October 2016 but left behind the lasting legacy to the ACAHF of $236,432.23. 

Trustees Phil Brain and Bruce Parry, together with AVA National President, Paula Parker, and AVA staff, met with Patricia’s niece and executor of her will, Elizabeth Carroll. Elizabeth shared with us stories of Patricia and her life and presented the ACAHF with Patricia’s gift. It has been agreed that these funds will be used towards research into the feline disease, as requested by Patricia. 

The ACAHF is a non-profit trust of the AVA and relies on money raised through memorial donations from veterinarians and donations or bequests from pet owners and other concerned members of the public to enable us to support future research. 

The ACAHF was established to help fund research to further our knowledge of companion animal diseases and every year seeks applications for research grants from university veterinary schools and other institutions. These applications are then assessed and scored before the ACAHF Trustees allocate the research grants for the year. 

Some examples of ACAHF funded projects over the past few years that have helped change small animal veterinary science for the better are:

  • Detection of Aspergillus-specific antibodies by ELISA (lgG,lgA, lgM) for diagnosis of feline upper respiratory tract aspergillosis. V Barrs, University of Sydney.
  • Investigating the prevalence of progressive and regressive feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infections in Australian cats. M Westman, University of Sydney.
  • Prevalence of c-KIT activating mutations in mast cell tumours from Australian dogs. A Peaston, University of Adelaide.
  • Cytokines in stored leucoreduced and non-leucoreduced canine packed red blood cells. L Smart, Murdoch University.

ACAHF grants of up to $10,000 each are awarded annually for research into the causes, prevention and cure of disease in animals seen in small animal veterinary practice (in particular in the canine, feline and other companion animal species). Applications for 2018 ACAHF grants will open in early November 2017. For further information or to request an application form, please contact the ASAV office at asav@ava.com.au

This article appeared in the October 2017 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal.

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