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DENVER/June 7, 2023 – Morris Animal Foundation, a global leader in advancing animal health, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this month with June 15 declared as Morris Animal Foundation Day by Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

The Foundation traces its roots back to 1948, when a forward-thinking veterinarian – Dr. Mark L. Morris Sr. – founded the organization to improve the health and well-being of animals everywhere. As the Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary, it reflects on its decades of work –  funding nearly 3,000 studies to date – and its continued push to advance veterinary medicine on a global scale.

Currently, the Foundation has about 200 active studies aimed at addressing significant health challenges in dogs, cats, horses and wildlife. This includes the largest cancer-focused study of its kind in dogs, improved and novel vaccines for infectious diseases in cats, as well as critical research to safeguard endangered species worldwide. Every year, the Foundation funds a new set of impactful studies to meet emerging health needs.

Morris Animal Foundation through the years:

  • In 1950, the Foundation funded its first two studies, which investigated cat and dog nutrition at Rutgers University and Iowa State University, respectively.
  • About a decade later, the Foundation ventured into equine health, supporting its first nutrition health study for horses.
  • By 1967, the Foundation expanded its research to include wildlife studies, with its first study focusing on bacterial blood infections in zoo animals.
  • In 1971, actress Betty White joined the Foundation as Trustee, and served as Board President from 1982-85.
  • In 1986, funding from the Foundation led to the establishment of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, the first effort to provide desperately needed veterinary care to the highly endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda.
  • In 2012, the Foundation launched its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the most comprehensive, prospective study collecting health data on 3,000+ golden retrievers to help identify risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs.
  • Thanks to the Foundation’s long history of funding animal health research, veterinarians and wildlife managers have better diagnostics, treatments and even some cures for diseases and other health challenges for animals in their care and in the field.

As Morris Animal Foundation continues its journey, it remains committed to improving the health and well-being of animals around the world through scientific research, training new veterinary researchers and continued advancements in veterinary medicine. 

About Morris Animal Foundation
Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding more than $149 million in nearly 3,000 critical studies to date across a broad range of species. Learn more at


Media Contact: Annie Mehl