Back to Stories & News

November 6, 2019 – For more than 70 years, Morris Animal Foundation has been a global leader in funding studies to advance animal health. With the help of generous donors like you, we are improving the health and well-being of dogs, cats, horses and wildlife worldwide.

Heart Disease Ultrasound
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common disease of cats. Cats often are diagnosed when the disease has advanced to the point of heart failure. Tufts University researchers identified and tested a simple ultrasound screening method for use in non-specialty veterinary clinics. This method improved detection of moderate to marked disease in asymptomatic cats, helping to identify at-risk pets for earlier intervention and care during routine veterinary checks. (Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, July 2019)

Inbreeding and Litter Size
Data from the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study shows inbreeding depression, the result of breeding closely related animals, reduces litter sizes in purebred golden retrievers. Embark Veterinary Inc. researchers used genetic measures of inbreeding rather than the pedigree-based estimates used in past studies. This is the first publication, of many to come, by independent researchers using Study data to explore canine health issues, in this case reproductive health. (Mammalian Genome, June 2019)

The Missing Link
The current horse reference genome, used to help find genetic causes of equine diseases, is based on a female horse. Texas A&M University researchers are now filling in the gaps and studying the male-specific Y chromosome as it relates to reproductive health. Early findings identified a genetic disorder associated with infertility in a Friesian stallion. Overall study findings will further our knowledge of reproductive health not only in domestic horses, but also related wild species including endangered Grevy’s zebras and Przewalski’s horses. (Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, July 2019)

Emerging Turtle Disease
University of Illinois researchers recently identified an emerging fungal disease in wild and captive freshwater turtles. The fungus causes debilitating lesions in the shell, resulting in high mortality in affected turtles. The Illinois team defined diagnostic criteria and developed culture techniques as well as a rapid test that will help wildlife professionals accurately diagnose the disease in captive and wild turtles. (Journal of Clinical Microbiology, January 2019)