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Our Research

Science has the power to change the world

As the global leader in supporting scientific research that advances veterinary medicine, Morris Animal Foundation has invested more than $100 million toward more than 2,400 studies to improve the health and well-being of dogs, cats, horses, llamas/alpacas and wildlife.

At any given time, Morris Animal Foundation is managing more than 200 active studies. Each year, we also fund about 30 veterinary student scholar projects. Search our health study database by species or area of study to learn more about research that will make a true difference in the lives of animals—today and tomorrow.

To sponsor a study, please contact a member of our sponsorship team for the most up-to-date status on our research projects at sponsorship@MorrisAnimalFoundation.org or call 800.243.2345. 

Search Results

Developing Novel Drugs to Treat Inflammation in Horses

It is the job of the immune system to respond to injury. However, an excessive response can actually damage tissue and cause chronic inflammation. Researchers have identified a potential immune regulator involved in activation of the immune response. If verified, this regulator could serve as a target for the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the damaging effects of chronic inflammation.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Samuel L. Jones, North Carolina State University

Sponsors: Co-sponsor: Knapp Friesian Foundation, Inc.

Study ID: D12EQ-017

Developing Protocols for Freezing Alpaca Embryos

This study evaluates two methods for the cryopreservation (freezing) of embryos from alpacas. The investigators will compare a slow-freezing method with an ultra-rapid cooling method known as vitrification. After development of a successful alpaca embryo cryopreservation technique, alpaca breeders will be able to use it to improve the genetic gene pool, create an alpaca embryo cryobank (to safeguard genetics in the event of a future disease outbreak) and salvage valuable alpaca genetics during the course of an active disease outbreak.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Curtis R. Youngs, Iowa State University

Sponsors:

Study ID: D13LA-801

Establishing Proper Dosing of Antibiotic for Miniature Horses

Miniature horses have unique physiology and health needs, yet there are no studies to suggest the appropriate dosing of any veterinary drug for miniature horses. In this pilot study, scientists from Oklahoma State University will determine if the proper dose of gentamicin, a commonly prescribed antibiotic, is equivalent in miniature horses and quarter horses.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Crystal D. Lee, Oklahoma State University, Pilot Study

Sponsors:

Study ID: D12EQ-817

Evaluating a Digestibility Marker for Improving Equine Nutrition Trials

Advancing nutritional research by utilizing an inert marker in a diet can further clarify proper diets to improve horse health. Researchers will evaluate the appropriateness of titanium dioxide as a digestibility marker in horse nutrition trials. Titanium dioxide estimations of fecal output will be compared with previously validated chromic oxide estimations and total fecal output measured with fecal collection harnesses. If titanium dioxide is proven to be an accurate and reliable digestibility marker, it will provide a safer alternative to chromic oxide use and will improve welfare for horses on digestibility trials by eliminating the need for fecal collection harnesses.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Laura M. White, New Mexico State Univerity, Pilot Study

Sponsors:

Study ID: D14EQ-806

Evaluating a Drug to Treat Inflammation in Horses

Excessive inflammation is a significant factor in the development of serious equine diseases, including pleuropneumonia, sepsis, heaves, severe colic and laminitis. Many of the anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat inflammation have drawbacks that limit their use and effectiveness in horses. Researchers will determine whether the drug misoprostol, commonly used to treat stomach and intestinal ulcers in companion animals, could be used as an anti-inflammatory in horses. They will also determine the appropriate dose of misoprostol in horses so that veterinarians can safely and effectively use the drug to treat inflammation in their patients.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Samuel L. Jones, North Carolina State University, Established Investigator

Sponsors:

Study ID: D15EQ-018

Evaluating a Drug’s Effectiveness in Reducing Inflammation after Colic Surgery

Inflammation develops in all layers of the small and large intestines of horses after colic surgery, causing postoperative complications and even death. This study examines the ability of lidocaine, a local anesthetic, to reduce inflammation in the horse’s intestine when delivered by continuous intravenous infusion. A favorable response would support continued use of lidocaine, whereas failure to reduce inflammation would prompt the search for a more effective drug.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Astrid Grosche, University of Florida

Sponsors:

Study ID: D13EQ-308

Evaluating a New Imaging Technology for Identifying Sites of Infection in Horses

This study will use radiolabeled immunoglobulin to screen horses with a known site of infection. Because of horses’s large bodies, it can be difficult to determine the source of infection with current imaging technologies, which may delay appropriate treatment. This study evaluates the sensitivity and specificity of scintigraphic imaging using radiolabeled immunoglobulin to screen a horse’s entire body for a site of infection. The development of this protocol for detecting infection in horses will enable rapid lesion localization, prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment that benefits the horses’ welfare.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Steven T. Zedler, University of Queensland, Australia

Sponsors:

Study ID: D13EQ-813

Evaluating a new surgical technique to repair upper respiratory tract obstruction in horses

Summary: Researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of a new surgical suture technique to improve upper airway function in horses with recurrent laryngeal neuropathy, a common upper respiratory disease in horses. 

Description: Recurrent laryngeal neuropathy is a progressive destruction and weakening of the nerve supply to the muscles of the larynx (voice box) resulting in narrowing of the upper airway opening and breathing difficulty. Laryngoplasty is a common surgical procedure to correct RLN that involves placing a suture to tie back the diseased cartilage at the back of the larynx and open the airway passage to facilitate breathing. The most common complication of this procedure involves loosening or breakage of the suture resulting in partial to complete surgical failure. In a mechanical load study of tissue models, researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of a new surgical technique that uses a self-locking suture button. A mechanically superior laryngoplasty will improve the quality of life for horses with RLN undergoing surgery.

Principal Investigator: Santiago D Gutierrez Nibeyro, University of Illinois

Sponsors: United States Eventing Association 

Study ID:

Evaluating Grazing Strategies to Minimize Pasture-associated Laminitis

Laminitis is a systemic disease that manifests in horses’ feet and results in significant pain and lameness. Surveys suggest that a large proportion of laminitis cases occur in horses that graze in a pasture. Consuming large quantities of rapidly fermentable nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs) present in cool-season pasture grasses has been implicated in the development of pasture-associated laminitis. Therefore, controlling grazing horses’ intake of NSCs may be a useful strategy for preventing pasture-associated laminitis. This research will evaluate two strategies to reduce NSC concentrations by restricting the amount of time horses in the study spend grazing in a pasture and restricting the time of day in which they graze. The outcome of this study will contribute to strategies aimed at the prevention of pasture-associated laminitis.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Paul Siciliano, North Carolina State University

Sponsors:

Study ID: D10EQ-063

Evaluating if Horses with Cushing’s Disease Have a Harder Time Absorbing Nutrients

Cushing’s disease is the most common endocrine (i.e., hormonal) disease affecting horses. More than 50 percent of horses with this disorder develop chronic laminitis and have poor body condition, which frequently leads to euthanasia. Although these horses have a good appetite, their poor body condition suggests that the body isn’t using nutrients effectively. Researchers from Michigan State University will assess if horses with Cushing’s disease have a harder time absorbing and using nutrients. Results could lead to improved nutritional strategies for affected horses.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Nathalie L. Trottier, Michigan State University, Pilot Study

Sponsors:

Study ID: D12EQ-823

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