November 15, 2006


 Morris Animal Foundation funds $4.3 million in animal health studies

Posted Nov. 1, 2006

Morris Animal Foundation has committed to funding $4.3 million in animal health studies in 2007, up from $4 million in 2006.

Headquartered in Denver, MAF has funded more than 1,250 humane animal health studies with funds approaching $50 million since its establishment in 1948.

The $4.3 million MAF has committed to in 2007 will fund 101 animal health studies, which will be conducted at 49 veterinary schools and colleges, zoologic institutions, and scientific research centers around the world.

Of the 101 studies, 38 will focus on canine health issues such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, blood disorders, genetics, and urinary diseases. Two studies will focus on canine influenza virus. Dr. Cynda Crawford, a veterinary immunologist at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, will be the lead investigator in a study of influenza virus infection in dogs in shelters. The study results will help in developing effective guidelines for managing respiratory tract infections, particularly influenza, in shelters. Dr. Crawford was among the group of researchers who identified the canine influenza virus (see JAVMA, Nov. 1, 2005).

Dr. Gabriele A. Landolt, a professor at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will lead a study that will identify the molecular factors that contribute to transmission of influenza viruses from horses to dogs. The information will be used in identifying antiviral drugs to combat other equine influenza viruses that may be able to spread to dogs, and for developing canine influenza vaccines.

Morris Animal Foundation will also fund 13 feline health studies that will cover cancer, cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal tract diseases, urinary tract disease, and more. One study will focus on asthma in cats. Dr. Carol Norris Reinero, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, will be the lead investigator in a study of a treatment called rush immunotherapy, which has shown promise in turning off the abnormal immune response to an allergen.

A selection of 12 equine studies will cover topics such as colic, pain management, genetics, bone and eye diseases, and foal diseases. One study will focus on laminitis. Dr. Ashley M. Stokes, a professor at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, will lead a study on a new technique that may prevent vascular changes in the foot that occur in the earliest stages of the disease's development and stop clinical signs of laminitis. Discoveries made during the study may offer insight into preventing and treating the disease.

Approximately 36 wildlife health studies will feature elephants, wild cats, foxes, wolves, fish, birds, and more. Dr. Michael R. Cranfield, director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project based at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, will lead a study on the prevalence of brucellosis and tuberculosis in regional livestock outside of Mgahingo National Park in Uganda and Parc National des Virunga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The livestock could infect nearby mountain gorillas, which range onto the agricultural lands. To learn more about the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, see article.

Also, MAF will fund several health studies on llamas and alpacas. Topics include gastrointestinal tract diseases, genetics, and nutrition.

For a complete list of the 2007 studies funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, log on to, click on Learn, then click on Studies.