Foundation research

Morris Animal Foundation research focuses on equine colic

The organization selected 5 studies to fund based on their ability to save equine lives.

The Morris Animal Foundation has selected 5 new studies to receive funding this year, focusing on equine colic, an important and life-threatening disease.

“Colic consistently ranks among the top health concerns for horse owners and veterinarians alike,” said Janet Patterson-Kane, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, scientific director of the Morris Animal Foundation, in an organizational statement.

“We have decided to focus on this topic in this year’s equine call for proposals to advance our understanding of bowel disease associated with colic and ultimately help improve outcomes for horses worldwide” , she added.

According to the release, around 4-10% of horses will experience colic at least once in their lifetime and that number could be even higher. Although most can be treated successfully on the farm, about 10% require a referral for advanced care such as surgery.

Based on scientific excellence and impact, the Foundation’s Large Animal Science Advisory Board evaluated each submitted grant application and selected the studies most likely to save lives, maintain health and expedite the care of horses suffering from colic.

The following equine colic studies are funded for 2022:

  • Study intestinal inflammation: Two separate research teams will use variations of an approach to examine the interplay between inflammation and gut motility, to help develop methods for preventing ileus (reduced gut motility) after colonic surgery. The results could significantly aid recovery and reduce hospitalization times.
  • Understanding the risk factors for transport colic: Researchers will research transport-related colic risk factors to create improved management suggestions for horses requiring transport.
  • Help underserved communities recognize early signs of colic: Researchers will produce an educational program for horse owners in underserved Colombian communities to improve early detection of colic, a key aspect of successful treatment.
  • New prognostic test for postoperative complications: Researchers will find biomarkers to detect horses at higher risk of postoperative surgical complications as part of a new prognostic test.


Morris Animal Foundation announces new studies focused on equine colic. Morris Animal Foundation. January 27, 2022. Accessed January 28, 2022.