Morris Animal Foundation celebrates 75th anniversary


Reflect on its initiation and decades of advancing animal health research

This year marks the Morris Animal Foundation’s 75th anniversary this month with June 15 deemed as Morris Animal Foundation Day by Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

Dr Mark L. Morris Sr, founded Morris Animal Foundation in 1948 (Photo courtesy of Morris Animal Foundation).

Dr Mark L. Morris Sr, founded Morris Animal Foundation in 1948 (Photo courtesy of Morris Animal Foundation).

According to an organizational release,1 the foundation was founded in 1948, by a forward-thinking veterinarian Mark L. Morris Sr, DVM, to improve the health and well-being of animals worldwide. The Morris Animal Foundation reflects on its decades of work with this milestone, including funding nearly 3,000 studies to date and its continued drive to advance veterinary medicine on a global scale.

Currently, the foundation has about 200 active studies geared at addressing substantial health challenges in dogs, cats, horses, and wildlife.1 This includes the largest cancer-focused study of its kind in dogs, improved and novel vaccines for infectious diseases in cats, and critical research to safeguard endangered species worldwide. Every year, the foundation funds a new set of impactful studies to meet relevant health needs.

Morris Animal Foundation through the years1:

  • In 1950, the foundation funded its first 2 studies, which investigated cat and dog nutrition at Rutgers University and Iowa State University, respectively.
  • About a decade later, the Foundation ventured into equine health, supporting its first nutrition health study for horses.
  • By 1967, the foundation expanded its research to include wildlife studies, with its first study focusing on bacterial blood infections in zoo animals.
  • In 1971, actress Betty White joined the foundation as Trustee, and served as Board President from 1982-85.
  • In 1986, funding from the foundation led to the establishment of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, the first effort to provide desperately needed veterinary care to the highly endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda.
  • In 2012, the foundation launched its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the most comprehensive, prospective study collecting health data on 3,000+ golden retrievers to help identify risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs.
  • Thanks to the foundation's long history of funding animal health research, veterinarians and wildlife managers have better diagnostics, treatments and even some cures for diseases and other health challenges for animals in their care and in the field.

Morris Animal Foundation further remains dedicated to improving the health and well-being of animals globally through scientific research, training new veterinary researchers, and continued advancements in veterinary medicine.


Morris Animal Foundation marks 75th anniversary, reflects on decades of advancing animal health research. News release. Morris Animal Foundation. June 8, 2023. Accessed June 9, 2023.

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