Mark Morris, Sr.

Photo of Mark Morris, SrThe Mark Morris Institute was founded to honor Dr. Mark Morris, Sr., a pioneer in the field of clinical nutrition who helped improve the quality of life for millions of beloved pets around the world.

In 1929, Dr. Morris built one of the first hospitals for the practice of small animal medicine, in Edison, New Jersey.

In 1948, Dr Morris founded the Morris Animal Foundation, which today is the largest non-governmental sponsor of companion animal health studies in the world. It has funded over 1600 animal health studies at veterinary colleges around the world since its inception, and has contributed to vaccines for the prevention of canine parvovirus, feline leukemia, and Potomac horse fever, as well as new treatments for canine and feline diabetes, bladder stones, heart and kidney diseases, and equine colic.

Group in front of veterinary clinicDr. Morris' contribution to organized veterinary medicine helped shape the profession and establish high standards for veterinary hospitals, equipment, and personnel. He was one of the founders of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and served as its first president in 1933. Dr. Morris also served as president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 1962. During the 1950s, Dr. Morris worked tirelessly with the nation's veterinary schools to encourage the teaching of clinical nutrition.

Dr. Morris is perhaps best known for his work in the development of animal foods for the dietary management of diseases in dogs and cats. His first contribution was a restricted protein diet for canine kidney patients called Prescription Diet® k/d®, first marketed in 1948. His early success with this product led him to study other dog and cat diseases, such as liver and heart diseases, pancreatitis, and obesity. He and his son, Dr. Mark Morris, Jr., developed other breakthrough Prescription Diet products, later adding the Science Diet® brand, a line of products specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of healthy dogs and cats, and to help avoid certain disease conditions.

Mark Morris Sr weighing a puppyActress Betty White, President Emeritus and Trustee of Morris Animal Foundation, said, "No individual, to my knowledge, has had a more far-reaching influence in bettering the lives of companion animals than Dr. Mark [Morris]. The motto of Morris Animal Foundation is 'A Better Tomorrow for Animals.' For many of our pets, that tomorrow has already arrived, and their lives are better today because of him."

Dr. Morris was listed in Who's Who in America and American Men of Science and was a member of the Federated Societies for Biology and Medicine.

Dr. Mark Morris, Sr., died in 1993, at the age of 93, but he left a proud legacy of accomplishments in veterinary medicine that spanned five decades.