Help Dr. Bruce Williams

from Sukie Crandall, July 8, 2001

If you have a ferret in your family you have been helped by Dr. Bruce Williams. The identification and description of diseases that affect only domestic ferrets have been hallmarks of Dr. Williams' work over the last ten years. Such diseases historically have garnered little corporate funding because until recently the market for any derived products had been small. As a result, the work done by such researchers has been a mark of true and rare dedication. Few have actual expertise in ferret medicine, and those who do are most easily identified by their past work, which shows their practical knowledge, and - because their work has been done without profit - their love of ferrets.

Since 1992, Dr. Bruce Williams, and the Dept. of Veterinary Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology have been leaders in the advancement of medical knowledge on ferret diseases, and have helped educate veterinarians and ferret owners worldwide. A well-known author of numerous book chapters and articles in the veterinary literature, Dr. Williams has identified and published on a number of diseases which have profound impact on ferrets today, including adrenal tumors, chordomas, and the first published reports on prostatic disease in ferrets. Dr. Williams' research into a novel diarrheal disease of the mid-1990's led to the identification of ferret coronavirus, its spread, and treatment protocols that have saved literally thousands of ferret lives. Today, Dr. Williams continues his research on ferret diseases, without the help of grant funds or commercial endowment. This year, he and select colleagues will continue research on ECE and its connection with inflammatory bowel disease in ferrets, as well as new projects on the identification of Aleutian disease in the tissues of presymptomatic ferrets, the first characterization of retinal atrophy in ferrets, and studies on the prevalence of neoplasms of the liver, blood vessels, and brain of the ferret. Another project that Dr. Williams hopes launch is a tissue bank for Aleutian disease and ECE cases, from which other investigators around the country can obtain tissue and serum from infected ferrets to carry on further research into these diseases.

Dr. Williams understands that he is not alone in trying to unravel the mysteries of ferret medicine. Cooperation would assist practitioners in conducting clinical trials on new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Such a tissue bank would provide an important step toward saving the lives of yet more ferrets.

Sadly, this project must wait for funding despite the great advances it could introduce.

How can you help? Through a tax-deductible donation to the Registry of Veterinary Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology you, too, can help save ferrets. By simply writing "Ferret Research" on your check, you can ensure that the money goes to further the programs and projects mentioned above, as well as other valuable research programs which Dr. Williams conducts each year.

This is your opportunity to join Dr. Williams in making ferret lives longer and more enjoyable for them and us. The ferret you help save may be your own. Please send in your contribution today.

Your check should be made out to the Registry of Veterinary Pathology, and at the bottom should be marked "For Ferret Research".

Research for Ferrets
Dept. of Telemedicine
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
Washington DC 20306-6000