Cat Owners Establish Bria Fund With The Winn Feline Foundation

The Bria Fund was established in 2005 for the study of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). Bria, a Blue Lynx Point Birman cat, passed away from FIP, a complicated and fatal feline disease, at the young age of nine months. Although the disease can be traced to 1914, FIP is yet to be understood by veterinarians. To this day, there is no accurate blood test, screening test or cure for the disease.

Leading up to Bria’s death, she became the subject of many tests to determine the cause of her illness. Through testing, they found anemia and fluid in her chest, enlarged kidneys and renal failure. Because there is no completely accurate test for the disease, she was tentatively diagnosed with FIP. The symptoms for FIP are not easily differentiated from other, curable conditions, making it difficult to diagnose.

FIP causes AIDS-like symptoms in cats. Their immune systems become suppressed causing them to become chronically susceptible to other infections. Most cats become infected with FIP by inhaling or ingesting the virus, either through direct contact with an infected cat or indirectly through contact with objects that have been contaminated by the virus, such as clothing, hands and feeding bowls.

In Bria’s memory, owners Susan Gingrich and her husband, James Shurskis, approached the Winn Feline Foundation to create the Bria Fund to advance FIP research. The Center for Health Transformation, which recognizes and appreciates the quality of life that pets give to owners, decided to get involved. The Center provided a generous contribution, and the Bria Fund was officially established.

“We hope that through the Bria Fund, FIP research will advance, and someday kittens, cats, owners, families and breeders will not have to go through the sadness and heartbreak of FIP. In honoring her, Bria and her spirit will never be forgotten,” said Gingrich.

You can donate to the Bria fund by visiting the Winn Feline Foundation Web site at One hundred percent of contributions are used for the direct benefit of cats.

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