Scientists have yet to unravel the mysteries of aging and the multitude of health problems that accompany it. The Morris Animal Foundation is funding a study at the University of Kentucky that is looking into why aging leads to the loss of muscle mass in horses, an important consideration particularly in performance equines.

The study is focusing on how various age-related diseases affect protein metabolism at muscular and molecular levels. For example, the researchers are testing to see how both inflammation and Cushing’s disease, both common in older horses, relate to protein synthesis. The study is being led by Dr. Kristine Urschel and the results are expected to help extend the life expectancy of horses, and assist horse owners and veterinarians in supporting and caring for aging equines.