Horse research projects to receive close to 1 million in funding

Fourteen research projects aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of horses will receive a total of nearly $US1 million in Morris Animal Foundation grants.

This year’s grants will support research teams at 13 universities and institutions, including the University of Minnesota, Colorado State University and the University of Calgary.

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 care.

Large animal studies funded for 2020 include:

Working toward a genetic test for heart arrhythmias

Researchers will investigate if genetic variants can help identify horses at high risk of developing potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias. If successful, the team will use this information to develop genetic tests, as well as other screening protocols, for early identification of at-risk horses for the condition.

Developing health and well-being guidelines for air-transported horses

Researchers will determine how horses can be managed when transported by air to optimize their welfare, identifying factors that increase or decrease the risk of health and behavioral problems. Findings will be used to inform guidelines to improve the health and welfare for horses traveling by plane.

Understanding changes in gut microbiome and health

Researchers will study gut microbiome variation as it relates to the health and wellness of a well-studied group of feral horses living on Sable Island, Canada. Data generated will provide a large baseline platform to spur further research and discoveries about associations between gut bacteria and health in horses.

Evaluating a novel treatment for eye cancer

Researchers will investigate the efficacy of a novel treatment for ocular surface squamous neoplasia, a type of eye cancer in horses. Findings will help advance understanding and treatment of this cancer.