Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Morris Animal Foundation

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we recognize the Morris Animal Foundation, leading the way in scientific research for animal health.

Flickr/Gary Ullah/CC

Dr. Mark L. Morris didn’t necessarily set out to create a foundation for animal health: he simply wanted to help a dog named Buddy in 1948, who was at the time the national ambassador for Seeing Eye, one of the first guide dogs in the US and suffering from kidney disease. When Dr. Morris formed a special food to help Buddy, eventually partnering with Hill Packing Company to create the first prescription diet for dogs, he used his earnings to create the Morris Animal Foundation, devoted solely to helping other animals using science to improve health.

The Morris Animal Foundation is now one of the world’s leaders in funding research designed to advance veterinary medicine: $113 million has been invested since the foundation’s beginning in about 2,500 studies, and about 300 studies are ongoing at any point. Much of the research focuses on cats, dogs, horses and wildlife.

For horses, the Morris Animal Foundation has funded or managed dozens of discoveries in the past three years — we’ve selected the highlights below:

  • 2015: found an effective vaccine against equine melanoma; streamlined an economical, easy test for equine metabolic syndrome; learned new information about infection and antibodies for equine herpesvirus
  • 2016: discovered genetic markers for squamous cell carcinoma and sarcoids; discovered gene present in antibiotic-resistant foal pneumonia; improvements to stem cell therapies
  • 2017: ongoing studies in colic recovery time, genetics of sarcoid tumors, muscle biopsy to diagnose exertional rhabdomyolysis in Arabians

These highlights only scratch the surface of the vast number of studies that Morris Animal Foundation has helped fund and support. The Morris Animal Foundation’s website also includes pet resources to help link animal lovers with the information they need in health-related concerns.

Learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation by visiting the foundation’s website.

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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