The OFA has funded nearly $3 million in research aimed at reducing the incidence and prevalence of inherited disease in companion animals. Projects are funded through the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) and occasionally through direct grants.

OFA-supported research is not limited to orthopedic disease and has included cancer, heart disease, thyroid disease and various other diseases. Research projects vary as to breeds and diseases, and all are done at many of our leading universities and research institutions. With the recent completion of the mapping of the canine genome, the OFA is focusing more of its research dollars toward research at the molecular level.

For details regarding the research we’ve funded, view the Research History below. In addition to the specific grants outlined, the OFA has directly funded whole genome sequencing on numerous dogs, regularly supplies DNA samples to research projects worldwide, funds veterinary student outreach projects, and maintains an endowed veterinary student scholarship at the University of Missouri.


Research History

2016 Research Grant Funding

AKC Canine Health Foundation 
Grant 2298-MOU, “Using OFA Testing to Assess Progression of Canine Autoimmune Thyroiditis”
Primary Investigators: Brian Petroff, DVM, PhD and Kent Refsal, DVM, PhD, Michigan State University

2015 Research Grant Funding

AKC Canine Health Foundation 
Grant 02128-A, “Redefining the Recommendations for Prevention of Infectious Disease at Dog Shows and Other Areas Where Dogs Meet and Compete”
Primary Investigator: Dr. Jason Stull, VMD, PhD, The Ohio State University
View the JAVMA publication on this research.

2014 Research Grant Funding

AKC Canine Health Foundation 
Grant 2086, “Defining the Genetic Basis of Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease”
Primary investigator, Dr. Mark Oyama, University of Pennsylvania

Grant 2101, Whole Genome Sequencing for Great Dane Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Primary investigator Dr. Kathryn Meurs, NC State University

Grant 2133, Canine Epilepsy:  Genetic Variants, Biomarkers, and New Therapies
Primary investigator, Dr. Ned Patterson, University of Minnesota

Grant 2109, “Studying Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) in Irish Setter Dogs
Primary investigator Dr. Danika Bannasch, University of California – Davis

Grant 2120, “Investigating Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy in Weimaraner Dogs”
Primary investigator Dr. Danika Bannasch, University of California – Davis

The OFA also donated $30,000 to the ACVO Vision for Animals Foundation which provides funding for grants in support of research into the elimination of ocular diseases causing vision loss and suffering in animals.  This donation is made possible through the proceeds directly related to the OFA’s Companion Animal Eye Registry.

Also in 2014, the OFA contributed $25,000 to the Veterinary Medical Databases (VMDB) which maintains epidemiological data from participating veterinary schools on the prevalence and progression of small animal diseases. The OFA grant will support the modernization of the VMDB infrastructure to improve the accessibility and use of the data by the research committee.

2013 Research Grant Funding

AKC Canine Health Foundation 
—Grant 1753, “Identification of genetic modifiers that impact clinical expression of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy in the Boxer dog”  
Primary investigator, Dr. Kathryn Meurs, North Carolina State University

—Grant 1766, “Identifying disease-related genes in renal dysplasia in Boxers and additional breeds”  
Primary investigator Dr. Lindblad-Toh, Broad Institute

Morris Animal Foundation 
—Grant D13CA-020, Identifying Genes Associated with Cruciate Rupture in Labradors
Primary investigator: Dr. Peter Muir, University of Wisconsin

—Grant D13CA-403, Mapping Orthopedic Disease in Border Collies
Primary investigator: Dr. Marjo Hytonen, University of Helsinki

—Grant D10CA-303, “Identifying Genetic Mutations for Cataracts in Australian Shepherds”
Primary investigator: Dr. Sally Ricketts, Animal Health Trust, UK

—Grant D09CA-909, “Identifying the Genetic Mutation for a Heart Defect”
Primary investigator: Dr. Joshua Stern, Washington State University

—Grant D13CA-041, Identifying Genetic Markers for a Congenital Heart Disorder in Newfoundlands
Primary investigator: Dr. Kathryn Meurs, North Carolina State University

—Grant D13CA-071 ,“Identifying Genetic Markers for a Congenital Heart Disorder in Dogs
Primary investigator: Dr. Kathryn Meurs, North Carolina State University

2012 Research Grant Funding

Morris Animal Foundation
—Grant MAF-D12CA-031, “Understanding the Genetic Basis for Urinary Stones
Researchers: Dr. Ned Patterson, University of Minnesota

—Grant MAF-D10CA-051, “Studying Genetic Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in German Shepherds”
Researchers: Dr. Karin Allenspach, University of London, United Kingdom

2011 Research Grant Funding

Morris Animal Foundation

—Grant MAF-D10CA-303, Identifying Genetic Mutations for Cataracts in Australian Shepherds
Researchers: Dr. Sally Ricketts, Animal Health Trust, United Kingdom

—Grant MAF-D09CA-909, “Understanding a Genetic Mutation That Causes Heart Defects in Golden Retrievers
Researchers: Dr. Joshua Stearn, Washington State University

AKC Canine Health Foundation
—Grant 1271, “Mapping of Additional Genes Associated with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
Researchers: Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD & Joan Coates, DMV, MS, DACVIM-N, Broad Institute & University of Missouri

—Grant 1312, Association Mapping Study of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
Researchers:  Keith Murphy, PhD, Clemson University

—Grant 1424, Genetic Analysis of Cleft Palate
Researchers:  Danika Bannasch, DVM, PhD, University of California – Davis

—Grant 1485, Study of PLE/PLN in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
Researchers:  Dr. Meryl Littman, University of Pennsylvania

2010 Research Grant Funding

Morris Animal Foundation
—Grant D09CA-613, ”Studying Dalmatian Susceptibility to Chronic Kidney Disease”
Nili Karmi, University of California–Davis   Dalmatians are the only dog breed in which all individuals produce uric acid as the end product of food breakdown. As a result, these dogs have high amounts of this acid in their blood and urine, which can lead to bladder stones. In humans, increased levels of this acid cause high blood pressure that can lead to chronic kidney disease, but the effects of high uric acid in the blood of Dalmatians have never been investigated. This study will determine whether Dalmatians are predisposed to chronic kidney disease.

2009-2010 Research Grant Funding

Morris Animal Foundation
—Grant MAF-D08CA-001, “Identifying Genetic Markers for Liver Disorders”
Researchers: Dr. Sharon A. Center, Cornell University

AKC Canine Health Foundation
—Grant 1271, Mapping of Additional Genes Associated with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
Researchers:  Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD & Joan Coates, DMV, MS, DACVIM-N,
Research Institutions:  Broad Institute & University of Missouri

—Grant 1312, Association Mapping Study of Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
Researchers:  Keith Murphy, PhD, Clemson University

—Grant 1151, Molecular Basis of Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
Researchers:  Paula S. Henthorn, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

—Grant 372, “Determination of Breed Specific Reference Ranges for Assessing Thyroid Function in Several Breeds
Researchers:  Rebecca Davies, PhD, University of Minnesota

2007-2008 Research Grant Funding

Morris Animal Foundation
—Grant MAF-D06CA-026, “Investigating the Biology of Canine Met Mutations”
Researchers: Dr. Cheryl London, Ohio State University
Abstract:  Research has shown that mutations in a gene called Met contribute to the development of numerous types of cancer in people and mice. Met inhibitors that may stop these mutations are entering human clinical cancer trials, and with further scientific work, the same trials could take place for dogs. Researchers in this study already have identified two similar mutations in dogs, one of which has been found in about 70 percent of Rottweilers, which have a high risk of developing cancer. This study will continue investigating the biology of Met mutations in dogs and lay the foundation for using Met inhibitors in dogs with cancer.

—Grant MAF-D06CA-066, “Mapping Genes Associated With Canine Mast Cell Tumors”
Researchers: Dr. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, The Broad Institute
Abstract:  Mast cell tumors (MCT) are the most common skin tumors in dogs. Survival rates are dependent upon the tumor grade. While dogs with grade 1 tumors often experience long-term survival, those with grade 3 tumors usual die within six months. This cancer has a particularly high occurrence in certain breeds, which suggests a significant genetic component. This study will use a new approach to identify genes that contribute to an increased risk of developing mast cell cancer in golden retrievers and related breeds. Identifying these genes will help scientists rapidly develop genetic tests that would indicated a predisposition to this cancer and would help develop therapeutic strategies based on tumor grade.

—Grant MAF-D05CA-072, “Developing A Genetic Marker For Idiopathic Epilepsy In The Belgian Sheepdog”
Researchers: Dr. Anita Oberbauer, University of California – Davis
Abstract:  Idiopathic epilepsy affects more than 30 different dog breeds. It causes recurrent seizures that can be mild to severe. In most dogs, seizures can be controlled through medication; however, up to 30 percent of dogs suffering from repeated seizures may not respond to therapeutic drugs. In the Belgian Tervuren and Sheepdog, idiopathic epilepsy is a genetic disorder with exceptionally high heritability. Although the exact genetic defect is unknown, it appears to be significantly influenced by a single autosomal recessive gene. In previous MAF-funded studies, investigators identified five potential chromosomal regions that may be linked to idiopathic seizures in Tervurens and Sheepdogs. Using canine genomic resources, they hope to develop, in this study, a genetic marker associated with the gene that causes seizures in these dogs. This marker would lead to the development of a genetic test for diagnosing this disease in these breeds.

AKC Canine Health Foundation
—Grant 768, “ A Collaborative Study by Veterinary Oncologists, Pathologists and Diagnostic Laboratories to Enhance the Detection, Diagnosis and Treatment of Canine Lymphoma” Researchers: Dr. Ted Valli, University of Illinois

—Grant 778, “Role of Regulatory T Cells in Dogs with Osteosarcoma
Researchers: Dr. Steve Dow, Colorado State University

—Grant 790, “MicroRNA Profiling and MicroRNA-Based Treatment of Canine Cancers
Researchers: Dr. William Kisseberth, Ohio State University

—Grant 372, “Determination of Breed Specific Reference Ranges for Assessing Thyroid Function in Several Breeds
Researchers:  Rebecca Davies, PhD, University of Minnesota

—Grant 615, Heritable and Sporadic Genetic Lesions in Canine Lymphoma
Researchers:  Matthew Breen, PhD, Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, North Carolina State University, University of Colorado

2006 Research Grant Funding

Morris Animal Foundation
—Grant D04CA-135, “Mapping Refinement of Quantitative Trait Loci for Canine Hip Dysplasia”
Researcher:  Rory Tudhunter, BVSc, PhD, D04CA-135, Cornell University

AKC Canine Health Foundation
—Grant 212, “Development of a New Resource for Positional Cloning of Hip Dysplasia Genes:  A High Density SNP Map of Canine Chromosome One” Researchers:  Francis Galibert, PhD, Elaine Ostrander, PhD, CNRS (Centre Nacional de la Recherche Scientifique), Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

—Grant 272, Oligonucleotide Microarray Gene Expression Profiling of Canine Lymphoma
Researchers:  William C. Kisseberth, DVM, PhD, Ohio State University

—Grant 372, Determination of Breed Specific Reference Ranges for Assessing Thyroid Function in Several Breeds
Researchers:  Rebecca Davies, PhD, University of Minnesota

—Grant 580, Patella Luxation in Dogs:  A Molecular Approach
Researchers:  H.A.W. Hazewinkel, DVM, PhD, University of Utrecht

Grant 615, Heritable and Sporadic Genetic Lesions in Canine Lymphoma
Researchers:  Matthew Breen, PhD, Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD, North Carolina State University, University of Colorado