Morris Animal Foundation Awards $940,000 Horse/Alpaca Health Research
Morris Animal Foundation has awarded grants totaling $940,000 to 12 research projects in horse and alpaca health. The studies will help veterinary scientists improve these large animals’ well-being by preventing and treating health challenges such as equine herpesvirus, strangles, and fungal infection.

“Each of these studies has the potential to improve the lives of horses in significant ways, and we are very proud to support these innovative researchers in their efforts,” said Janet Patterson-Kane, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, Morris Animal Foundation Chief Scientific Officer. “Our equine and alpaca companions deserve the healthiest lives we can give them.”

Through this year’s grants, the foundation is supporting researchers at 10 universities, including Texas A&M University, Washington State University, and North Carolina State University. The foundation’s Large Animal Scientific Advisory Board reviewed all submitted grant applications and selected, based on scientific merit and impact, the studies with the greatest potential to save lives, preserve health, and advance veterinary medicine. Large animal studies funded for 2019 include:

Understanding the Early Stages of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) Infections

Researchers will study EHV-1 to better understand how the disease develops and spreads. They hope new information from this study will help inform the development of better diagnostics and treatments as well as improve EHV-1 control measures.

Exploring a New Vaccine Strategy for Strangles

Researchers will investigate the safety and effectiveness of a novel vaccine to protect horses against strangles, a serious infection caused by Streptococcus equi bacteria. A safer and more effective vaccine strategy against strangles might better help prevent this global equine health challenge.

Learning More About How the Immune System Works

Researchers will gather baseline data on equine monocytes, a type of white blood cell important for fighting off infections and reducing inflammation. They anticipate their data will provide real-time insight into the processes occurring within critically ill horses.

Establishing Effective Antifungal Medication Dosing in Alpacas

Researchers will determine appropriate dosing for the antifungal medication fluconazole in alpacas to treat coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever. Although the medication effectively treats coccidioidomycosis in many other species, alpacas absorb oral medications less efficiently.

Morris Animal Foundation, headquartered in Denver, is one of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations that funds scientific studies to advance the health of animals. At any given time, the Foundation has more than 200 studies underway in dogs, cats, horses, and wildlife. Since its founding in 1948, the Foundation has supported more than 2,670 studies and invested more than $126 million. Since 1959, it has invested over $20 million in more than 550 equine health studies.