Because of his unwavering dedication to improving the lives of animals through nutrition, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. posthumously honored Mark L. Morris, Jr., DVM, MS, Ph.D., DACVN, as the recipient of the 2008 Mark L. Morris, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Widely acknowledged as the father of small animal wellness nutrition, Dr. Morris, Jr. greatly expanded the body of knowledge regarding veterinary nutrition and contributed to the profession through research, product innovations and personal devotion to nutritional education.
Established in the memory of Dr. Morris’ father, the Mark L. Morris, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually at the opening ceremony of the North American Veterinary Conference to the veterinarian who has made significant contributions to the health and well-being of companion animals through a lifetime of service.
“Dr. Morris truly established his own legacy by taking his father’s vision and turning it into a broader reality,” said Dr. Mary Beth Leininger, director of professional affairs for Hill’s and former AVMA president. “He has made a difference in millions of animals’ lives and changed the way the entire veterinary profession thinks about nutrition.”
At the time of his death in January 2007, Dr. Morris had developed more than 130 nutritional products, many of which are still on the market today. He was central to the expansion of the Hill’s Prescription Diet® line of therapeutic foods. One landmark product was Prescription Diet® s/d® Feline, which dissolves struvite stones in cats with lower urinary track disease, eliminating the need for surgical removal.
Through his research, Dr. Morris also recognized that pets require different nutrients as they age. This concept, extraordinary at the time, led to the development of the Hill’s Science Diet line of products, the very first wellness products scientifically formulated to correctly feed pets at different periods in their lives. Today, nearly every pet food company has adopted the concept of life-stage feeding, revolutionizing pet nutrition throughout the world.
Dr. Morris also dedicated himself to providing better nutrition for zoo animals. His dietary solutions had many successes, including improved reproduction in captive species. He eventually developed ZuPreem, the first line of nutritionally complete diets for zoo and captive exotic animals.
Dr. Morris lectured at more than 200 veterinary meetings around the world and was a founding member and diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. He authored numerous publications on dietary management of disease. Most notably, he was the lead editor and co-author of Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, the most widely used nutrition resource for companion animal veterinarians. The text is currently available in four languages and will soon be published in its fifth edition.
Later in life, Dr. Morris served as trustee, vice president of scientific activities and investment chair at the Morris Animal Foundation. Because of his financial guidance, the Foundation is now the world’s largest non-governmental contributor of research on companion animals and wildlife. Through his efforts, Dr. Morris ensured that all annual donations to the Morris Animal Foundation go directly to funding humane animal health studies.
Dr. Morris was a 1958 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University and completed his master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Wisconsin in 1963. In addition to the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, he was also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and the Cornell University Feline Health Advisory Board.
In recognition of Dr. Morris’ lifetime of service, Hill’s will donate $20,000 to the Morris Animal Foundation in his name.
For almost six decades, Hill’s has provided the most technologically advanced therapeutic and wellness foods to veterinary professionals. Hill’s Prescription Diet® brand offers a complete line of therapeutic pet food to nutritionally manage more than 50 disease conditions. Science Diet® products are specially formulated to provide superior nutrition for a wide range of life stage and special wellness needs. To learn more about Hill’s products and our commitment to companion animal health and the veterinary profession, please contact us at 800-548-VETS (8387). You can also visit us at www.hillspet.com.