We have started some exciting research projects here at NEWC involving raccoons. Priya Patel, one of our interns who has since gone to vet school, returned to us this summer to conduct research on feline parvovirus. Until recently, it was thought that only the canine variety of parvovirus could infect raccoons. Priya suspected that the feline strain had mutated enough to make it transferable however, and has been testing any dead raccoons that are brought to us for a rabies examination.
Additionally, we are involved in a fascinating partnership with the University of California, Davis investigating the spread of a new virus called the polyomavirus. It has been detected on the West Coast, and although it has few immediate effects it can, in the long run, cause cancer. The fact that it is zoonotic adds to the importance of this discovery, and our hospital is working with their research team to determine if the virus has spread to the East Coast yet or not.