Morris Animal Foundation Announces Call for Large Animal Proposals

By: Morris Animal Foundation
Photo: Courtesy of Morris Animal Foundation 

DENVER/May 25, 2018 – Morris Animal Foundation is now accepting proposals for grants focused on large companion animal (horses, llamas and alpacas) health research. Grant applications are due by Wednesday, July 11, 2018 ,11:59 p.m. EDT., and will be funded in the 2019 fiscal year.

The Foundation is one of the largest nonprofit organizations worldwide that funds health studies benefiting cats, dogs, horses and wildlife. At any given time, the Foundation is actively funding more than 200 studies encompassing a broad spectrum of species and diseases, with approximately $8 million in research funds disbursed annually.

Each year, the Foundation opens three separate calls for its major funding areas – small companion animal (cats and dogs), large companion animal, and wildlife. To be considered for funding, applications are reviewed and rated based on impact and scientific rigor by the Foundation’s renowned scientific advisory boards, made up of leaders in the scientific community.

Grant types awarded by the Foundation include Established Investigator, First Award, Fellowship Training and Pilot Study.

Proposals are due Wednesday, July 11, 2018, by 11:59 p.m. EDT. More information about these grant categories, as well as application form instructions, is available at:

•    Apply for a grant
•    Grant categories
•    Sample grant proposals
•    Application form directions

Learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation here

Morris Animal Foundation Awards $750,000 for New Studies Benefitting Horse/Alpaca Health

By: Morris Animal Foundation
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture

DENVER/April 26, 2018 – Morris Animal Foundation has awarded grants totaling nearly $750,000 to eight research projects in horse and llama health, the organization announced today. The studies will help veterinary scientists improve the health and well-being of horses through improved prevention and treatment of numerous health challenges including foal pneumonia, laminitis and septicemia. The Foundation also is funding one study in alpacas looking at health problems found in grey alpacas.

“We were very impressed with the quality of research proposals we received this year, particularly in areas of equine health where we can make a significant improvement in the well-being of our horse companions,” said Dr. Kelly Diehl, Senior Scientific and Communications Adviser at Morris Animal Foundation. “Horses hold such a special place in our hearts and imaginations, and Morris Animal Foundation continues to invest in excellent science that will give them healthier, longer lives.”

Through this year’s grants, the Foundation is supporting eight researchers at seven universities, including the University of Minnesota, North Carolina State University and Curtin University, Australia. 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 2018 are:

Developing a Prevention Strategy for Foal Pneumonia
Researchers will investigate if vaccinating mares will protect their newborn foals against pneumonia caused by the bacterium Rhodococcus equi.

Understanding the Roles of Diet and Insulin in Horses at Risk for Laminitis
Researchers will investigate how diet influences a horse’s gut bacteria (microbiome) and metabolism (metabolome) and impacts insulin, key information to understanding how to feed horses at risk for laminitis.

Improving Stem Cell Treatment Success
Researchers will manipulate the expression of immune markers on stem cells to develop safer and more effective therapies for horses with musculoskeletal injuries.

Determining Optimal Antibiotic Dosing for Septic Foals
Researchers will determine the optimal intravenous and intra-articular dosing protocol for amikacin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections in foals.

Investigating Antibiotic-resistant Foal Pneumonia
Researchers will investigate the mechanisms leading to development and transmission of antimicrobial resistance in Rhodococcus equi.

Combating Persistent Joint Infections
Researchers will investigate a new strategy using platelet-rich plasma to improve treatment of persistent joint infections that cause inflammation and osteoarthritis in horses.

Correlating Different Mast Cell Subtypes to Equine Asthma Diseases
Researchers will investigate differences in mast cell subtypes found in the airways of heathy and asthmatic horses to help identify better diagnostic and treatment strategies for equine asthma.

Unraveling the Genetics Behind Health Problems in Grey Alpacas
Researchers will study the genetic causes of health problems in grey-colored alpacas, critical steps toward the development of a genetic screening test to improve the overall health of these animals.

Open Call for Grant Proposals
Proposals are now being accepted for the next round of large companion animal research funding. Grant types are established investigator, first award, fellowship training and pilot studies. Proposals are due by Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

Learn more about Morris Animal Foundation here.

Spring Brings Animal Travels

By: Zoo Atlanta
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture 

Adeline and Nani, two female red kangaroos, will soon leave Zoo Atlanta for a new home at a new zoo. Adeline, 5, and Nani, 8, are scheduled to leave Atlanta as early as April 24, 2018, for an opportunity to join a new group of red kangaroos, known as a mob.

“Adeline and Nani are special members of Zoo Atlanta, not just to the Animal Care Team but to the many Zoo Members and guests who have enjoyed visiting and learning about their species,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “Their upcoming move is a wonderful opportunity for them to join a new and dynamic group of individuals.”

Along with the moves of the kangaroos, three new animal neighbors, Huacaya alpacas, will occupy the Orkin Children’s Zoo’s central habitat. Tuscany, 2, Warrior, 1, and Smurf, 1, all male, will be arriving from Apple Mountain Alpacas in Clarkesville, Georgia, in late April or early May.

The alpacas’ future habitat is adjacent to the Zoo’s petting zoo, which is home to Babydoll Southdown sheep, Kunekune pigs, Nigerian dwarf goats, Nubian goats, Oberhasli goats and Saanen goats. Although they will not be part of the petting zoo, the alpacas will create an exciting opportunity for Zoo Members and guests to make connections with a new species.

The Huacaya alpaca is one of two breeds of alpacas, South American domesticated members of the camel family that are related to llamas.

Learn more about Zoo Atlanta here.

The Nuñoa Project June 2018 Trip to Peru is Planned!

By: Stephen R. Purdy, DVM, Nuñoa Project President
Photo: Courtesy of Nuñoa Project

We are pleased to announce the co-leaders of the Nunoa Project June 2018 – Dr. Gerardo Diaz from Lima and Dr. Gian D’Alterio from the UK. Dr. Diaz and Dr. D’Alterio will co-lead our upcoming veterinary trip to work with alpaca and llama farmers in the Peruvian Andes. Both veterinarians are highly experienced practitioners and scientists.

Dr. Diaz began his work with Nunoa when he was a vet student, and has been working closely with us for nearly 5 years. He will continue his work as the Peruvian coordinator for the project. As the coordinator, Dr. Diaz maintains contact with and provides support to the alpaca farmers during the periods between team visits.

We are very fortunate that Dr. Gian D'Alterio will serve as co-leader of the team. Gian is an experienced farm animal practitioner, as well as a veterinary student professor who volunteered on the December 2018 trip. Dr. D’Alterio has designed a mange/lice study, which is a continuation of the work he did in the UK and which we implemented on our last trip to Peru. We will continue his study this coming trip along with our other work.

The June 2018 team also consists of 5 excellent pre-vet students (including 1 from Peru and 1 from Chile) who have been trained in our North American Camelid Studies Program, a veterinary student from Florida, and a large animal veterinarian from the UK. They will be working with new farmers as well as farmers that have been part of our herd evaluations and educational programs in the past. Our upcoming work includes providing training on reproduction management and breeding male selection, hands on evaluations with the farmers of their herds for nutritional status, infectious disease identification and prevention, and breeding success.

The success of the Nunoa Project and the continuation of our important Peruvian and U.S. camelid programs relies on the support of generous private donors like you. Please help us continue this impactful work by making a tax-deductible contribution today. Stop to see or talk to me or any of the Camelid Studies Program students if you are attending the North American Alpaca Show next weekend.

Learn more about Nuñoa Project here.