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Morris Animal Foundation Rewards Three Future Vets for Their Contributions to Research on Large Companion Animals

Morris Animal Foundation recently gave three aspiring veterinarians prize money to recognize the animal health projects they did to advance the Foundation’s mission to improve the health and well-being of horses, llamas and alpacas. The funds were awarded at the Foundation’s meeting on large companion animals held in Dallas in October.

Each student was part of Morris Animal Foundation’s Veterinary Student Scholars (VSS) program, which gives students hands-on research experience early in their medical career so they will consider advanced research training, helping to alleviate the critical shortage of animal health research scientists. Through the program, veterinary students or non-veterinary graduate students receive stipends of up to $4,000 to participate in clinical or basic animal health and/or welfare research. The students then present their projects in a poster competition for cash prizes.

First place was awarded to Courtney Smith, of Oregon State University, for her research that examined the effects of a diabetes medication on adult and neonatal alpacas and llamas and determined how the effects may differ by age. Along with the recognition, Smith received a $5,000 prize.

Second place went to Peter Noel of Purdue University. His research evaluated a novel approach to detecting “milkshake” administration to horses before races. Milkshakes containing sodium bicarbonate and other alkalinizing agents are sometimes administered to make a horse run faster and for longer distances. This study found another method of detecting milkshakes that can be used by racing jurisdictions. Noel received a $2,500 prize for finishing second in the competition.

Third place was awarded to Jordan Towns of Auburn University. Her research found that relative adrenal insufficiency (RAI), a condition in humans characterized by the lack of proper cortisol levels during severe illness, also occurs in critically ill adult horses. Findings from this study will help identify and treat critically ill horses with RAI. Towns received $1,500 for third place.

Morris Animal Foundation funds about 70 VSS studies each year, and these three students are excellent examples of the quality of work that is accomplished through the VSS program. For more examples of VSS studies, or to support any of the student scholars’ research, visit us at or on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter for up-to-date information. 

Posted by MAFon November 1, 2010.

Categories: Equine health, Veterinary news, Veterinary students


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