When wildlife and pets face disease caused by an increasingly industrialized planet, they are powerless to help themselves. That’s where dedicated scientists come in, studying the underlying causes and cures of old and new diseases in animals. At TEDxMileHigh, we love to feature talks by top animal health researchers. One of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world that funds such studies is Morris Animal Foundation. Here are the top 8 victories for animals by the Foundation and how you can help animals in 2023.
What Is Morris Animal Foundation?
For the past 70+ years, Morris Animal Foundation has worked tirelessly to fund veterinary research to advance the health of animals worldwide. Since 1948, Morris Animal Foundation has contributed more than $149 million to over 2,945 animal health studies. Their funding has led to breakthroughs in fighting animal diseases in species ranging from cats and dogs to elephants and koalas. Every breakthrough contributes to their mission to make the world a brighter place for animals, and those who love them.
Check out Morris Animal Foundation’s website to learn how to support their research.
Morris Animal Foundation’s 2022 Wins For Animals
From securing funding for new equine behavior studies to uncovering a breakthrough sea turtle treatment, here are Morris Animal Foundation’s top 8 wins for animals in 2022.
#1 Funding for 12 New Wildlife Health Studies
This year, the Foundation succeeded in securing funding for 12 new wildlife health studies. These new studies all center around critical health issues that impact wildlife living in coastal wetland habitats. These habitats are a critical ecosystem under threat from climate change, pollution, habitat loss, invasive species, and other factors.
Learn how to support these studies here.
#2 The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Celebrates 10 Years
Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2022! This study is the largest longitudinal study of its kind, focused on understanding the environmental, lifestyle, nutrition, and genetic risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs.
Plus, at the end of the year, the Foundation announced its multiyear, multimillion-dollar Hemangiosarcoma Initiative, based on findings to date from the Study that showed the leading cause of cancer death in the Study cohort is this devastating cancer.
#3 Breakthrough Sea Turtle Treatment
Sea turtles are suffering more and more from toxic red tides. Toxins in these tides, called brevetoxins, affect their nervous systems, leading to lethargy and unresponsiveness, and possibly immune system and organ damage.
This year, a breakthrough treatment—intravenous lipid solution—is helping to save sea turtles and allow for successful release back to the wild. What the Foundation learned may help other marine species suffering from these same toxic red tides.
#4 Funding for 5 New Equine Behavior Studies
The foundation funded 5 new equine behavior studies, addressing an area of high need that is currently underfunded. These studies will improve the health and well-being of both working and companion horses.
The studies include:
- Effect of Touch in Human-Horse Interactions. This study will help strengthen the relationships between horses and humans by measuring stress responses in horses caused by human interaction.
- Reducing Mare Stress at Weaning. Researchers will develop strategies to combat chronic mare stress during foal weaning.
- Developing Online Equine Behavior Educational Tools for Owners. Researchers will create online resources to help horse owners to notice and respond to mental health and wellness issues in horses.
- Examining Roughage Availability and Abnormal Horse Behavior. This study will examine three different feeding techniques to uncover the best feeding strategies to reduce behavioral issues in horses.
- Studying the Impact of Lighting on Stabled Horses. Researchers will examine the effect of various kinds of indoor lighting on the well-being of horses living in stables.
#5 Furever Memorial Platform Launch
The Foundation launched its new platform: Furever Memorials, which gives people a place to memorialize their beloved pets by sharing stories and photos and providing a community of support.
Morris Animal Foundation invites you to add your memories of your pets who have passed here.
#6 More Studies On Geriatric Pets
Cats and dogs are living longer than ever today, increasing the need for veterinary research for geriatric pets. Under the prestigious Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award, the Foundation awarded grants to four researchers studying health and diseases in aging dogs.
#7 Funded 52 New Studies in 2022 (Total of 120 Active Studies)
The Foundation funded 52 new studies in 2022, raising the total number of active studies to 120. Studies range from early detection of urothelial carcinoma in dogs to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats. If you are interested in enrolling your pet in an active clinical trial, explore options here.
#8 Revive & Restore Partnership
In 2022, the Foundation launched a partnership with Revive & Restore, a nonprofit organization that enhances biodiversity through the genetic rescue of extinct and endangered species. The partnership funds studies on genomic sequencing and biobanking for the protection and management of wildlife in kelp forest ecosystems.
“With the rate of species extinction currently happening in the world, it can be absolutely heartbreaking and you begin to lose hope that you can do anything to make a meaningful change. . . . While this won’t solve the overarching problems of climate change, habitat destruction and increased disease risk, it might buy us some time and save species we might otherwise lose.” – Carol Borchert, Chief Marketing Officer
Morris Animal Foundation Goals For 2023 and Beyond
Looking forward to 2023, Morris Animal Foundation is motivated to continue to fund groundbreaking studies in animal health, typically funding more than 50 new studies each year.
One particularly critical area of research support, the Hemangiosarcoma Initiative, will open for grant applications in 2023. Hemangiosarcoma is a devastating cancer in dogs that is almost 100% fatal. It has emerged as the leading cause of death in the Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
“My own dog, Jaz, died of hemangiosarcoma. It was a very sudden and unexpected death that left us all shocked. I had never heard of this cancer before and it took our dog in minutes. Since then, I’ve met so many other people who have lost dogs to this devastating cancer and the impact is just terrible. If we can improve detection and treatment of hemangiosarcoma, as well as look at prevention, that would be a huge step forward for veterinary medicine and our canine companions.” — Carol Borchert, Chief Marketing Officer
The Foundation has also been working on a citizen science program—CitizenPet—that will launch in 2023. The program will allow pet owners and their dogs to become part of the scientific research community by participating in studies that will advance the health and well-being of dogs everywhere.
Supporting Animal Health Research
As a nonprofit organization, what the Foundation needs the most is donations to fund research. They receive many more requests for grant funding than they are able to fulfill and that can be devastating. If you love animals, visit Morris Animal Foundation’s website to see how you can support this important animal health research.