Morris Animal Foundation announces new studies focused on equine colic

The research organization will fund five projects in 2022 that focus on abdominal pain in horses.

Morris Animal Foundation, a leader in advancing animal health, recently announced the selection of five new equine health studies to receive funding in 2022. The studies focus on equine colic (abdominal pain), an important and potentially life-threatening disease of horses.

Black and white image of a horse lying in a stall
Colic is one of the primary equine health concerns of both owners and and veterinarians.

“Colic consistently ranks among the top health concerns of horse owners and veterinarians,” said Dr. Janet Patterson-Kane, Chief Scientific Officer. “We decided to focus on this topic in this year’s equine call for proposals to advance our understanding of intestinal disease associated with colic and ultimately assist in improving outcomes for horses around the world.”

Estimates suggest that 4% – 10% of horses will experience colic at least once in their lifetimes, and the actual incidence may be even higher. Although the majority of horses can be successfully treated on the farm, approximately 10% require referral for advanced care, including surgery.

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 for horses with colic. Equine colic studies funded for 2022 include:

Studying Intestinal Inflammation

Two research teams will take different approaches to investigate the interaction between inflammation and gut motility, to assist in developing methods of preventing ileus (reduced gut motility) after colic surgery. These approaches could dramatically assist recovery and shorten hospitalization times.

Understanding Risk Factors for Colic Secondary to Transportation

Researchers will look for colic risk factors associated with transportation to develop better management recommendations for horses requiring transport.

Helping Underserved Communities Recognize Early Signs of Colic

Researchers will develop an educational program for horse owners and enthusiasts in underserved communities in Colombia to improve early recognition of colic, a key component of successful treatment.

New Prognostic Test for Postoperative Complications

Researchers will search for biomarkers to identify horses at higher risk for postoperative surgical complications as a first step toward a new prognostic test.

About Morris Animal Foundation

Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, the Foundation has invested more than $142 million to date in nearly 3,000 studies to advance the health and well-being of animals around the world. Learn more at

What did you think of this article?

Thank you for your feedback!