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DENVER/October 7, 2020 – Morris Animal Foundation is now accepting proposals for studies of canine perianal fistulas, a painful condition to which German shepherds are strongly predisposed, but that also affects other purebred and mixed breed dogs.

The request is part of the Foundation’s Donor-Inspired Study program, which allows individual donors and foundations to directly support research topics for which they have a passion and there is a pressing need. Grant applications are due by Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 4:59 p.m. EST.

Projects must advance the veterinary science of perianal fistulas in the German shepherd breed. The Foundation is seeking innovative research likely to make a material difference to the prevention or medical management of this disease. These may include studies that improve the understanding of the pathogenesis and, therefore, unlock pathways to clinical progress - including genetic susceptibility, immunological aspects and involvement of microbial populations.

All investigators are eligible to apply, but studies must be limited to three years in duration and budgets cannot exceed $75,000. Competitive applicants will have a previous record of research and publication in relevant fields, with evidence of access to sufficient populations of German shepherd dogs and/or relevant databases or sample repositories.

This grant is being funded by the American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation Inc., which has generously supported Morris Animal Foundation for 13 years. The American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation is committed to funding research projects aimed at addressing critical health issues affecting the German shepherd breed.

“Years ago, perianal fistulas were not even talked about and information was not shared, so hopefully this study will open some locked doors,” said Deb Hokkanen, President of the American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation. “I think this study, and ones like them, will paint a better health picture for German shepherds and increase their longevities.”

Perianal fistula, otherwise known as anal furunculosis, is a serious medical condition characterized by painfully infected tracts in the skin surrounding a dog’s anus. The tunnel-like formations may cause severe pain and discomfort. Although this condition can occur in any dog, German shepherds make up more than 80% of patients. Research in this field has been limited, particularly over the last five years, and there is a pressing need for progress.

Applications will be reviewed and rated, based on impact and scientific rigor, by a Morris Animal Foundation scientific advisory board. Interested researchers can lean more and apply for the grant here.

Morris Animal Foundation is an international organization that funds animal health research globally. Scientists from around the world are welcome and encouraged to apply for grants. The Foundation currently is supporting 150 studies encompassing a broad spectrum of species and diseases.

About Morris Animal Foundation

Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded by a veterinarian in 1948, we fund and conduct critical health studies for the benefit of all animals. Learn more at