Morris Animal Foundation to fund $4.6 million in studies

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The Morris Animal Foundation has committed to funding more than $4.6 million in animal health studies for 2008 and providing ongoing support of $10 million for these studies as they continue over the next three years. Overall, MAF will fund 66 new studies in 2008.

Of the new or ongoing studies funded by MAF, 43 are focused on canine health, including behavior, cancer, heart disease, influenza, and epilepsy.

A pain management study will focus on the incidence and breed-related risk factors for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-associated adverse events in dogs. The one-year study, led by Dr. George E. Moore at Purdue University, will look at the medical records of more than three million dogs that were treated at veterinary hospitals nationwide to determine the incidence and type of NSAID-associated adverse events. Researchers will also look at risk factors—such as breed, age, or concurrent drug administration—that might increase the likelihood of adverse events.

Seventeen feline health studies cover asthma, cancer, kidney diseases, obesity, and more. In one study led by William J. Murphy, PhD, at Texas A&M University, researchers hope to eventually develop mapping tools to better equip feline geneticists with the ability to identify and characterize the genes that cause disease in cats.

In addition to the canine and feline studies, there are 11 equine studies, which include research on foal diseases, laminitis, pain management, and osteoarthritis. There are also five studies on llamas and alpacas related to gastrointestinal disorders, nutrition, pain management, and reproduction.

Beyond companion animal health studies, there are 36 wildlife studies covering health concerns of mountain gorillas, elephants, wild cats, foxes, wolves, fish, birds, and more. One study will investigate the role of domestic dogs in exposing endangered African wild dogs, jackals, and hyenas to common canine diseases. Researchers Rosie Woodroffe, D.Phil., and Dr. Katherine Prager will also examine transmission and persistence of these diseases.

In addition to those studies, 30 veterinary student scholars are conducting short-term health study projects at universities worldwide. The MAF-supported program is designed to help fill a critical need for training the next generation of veterinary scientists. The scholars work with a mentor on research projects early in their careers, allowing them to consider a career in veterinary research.

The 59-year-old foundation, based in Denver, has funded nearly 1,400 humane animal health studies since 1948 with funds totaling more than $51 million. In 2007, MAF committed to $4.3 million in funding.

To download a complete listing of the 2008 studies, visit and click on Studies and then Sponsor a Study.