Equine health research gets $940K funding boost

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Equine research is a winner in the latest round of funding from the Morris Animal Foundation, which has awarded grants totalling $940,000.

Several studies focused on horses are among the charity’s latest large-animal research grants, enabling scientists at 10 universities, including Texas A&M University, Washington State University and North Carolina State University to continue their work.

The dozen research projects will help veterinary scientists improve the well-being of horses through improved prevention and treatment of numerous health challenges, including equine herpesvirus and strangles.

“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 Dr Janet Patterson-Kane, Morris Animal Foundation Chief Scientific Officer.

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. The studies funded for 2019 include:

Understanding the Early Stages of Equine Herpesvirus Infections: Researchers will study EHV-1 to better understand how the disease develops and spreads. 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 will greatly improve the prevention of 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. Data collected is anticipated to 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, a treatment for coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever. Although the medication is used effectively to treat this in many other species, alpacas absorb oral medications less efficiently.

Morris Animal Foundation, headquartered in Denver, is one of the world’s largest nonprofit organisations that funds scientific studies to advance the health of animals. At any given time, the Foundation has more than 200 studies under way 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.


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