Leading researchers and veterinary scientists working to improve the health and well-being of dogs are to be recognised at the Kennel Club (KC) Charitable Trust International Canine Health Awards at Crufts.

Heralded as the “largest and most prestigious” veterinary awards in Europe by the KC, the awards highlight individuals who provide “revolutionary” work in veterinary science. This year’s winners will be announced on March 8 by Mike Townsend, chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

The awards to be presented are:

  • the International Award, with a prize of £40,000
  • the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is a prize of £10,000

Both prizes are funded by Vernon and Shirley Hill of Metro Bank and the Hill Family Foundation, and are intended to help the winners further their studies in dog health and welfare.

The awards are judged by a panel of representatives from the veterinary profession and the world of scientific research.  

Last year’s winners included scientists Elaine Ostrander and Gustavo Aguirre and student Emily Milodowski (pictured), who were nominated by their peers and contemporaries for their innovative work in dog health and developments in veterinary science.

Since winning the award, Dr Ostrander has focused on cancer in dogs, making advances in gastric and bladder and histiocytic carcinoma. Dr Aguirre, meanwhile, has undertaken ground-breaking research into canine eye diseases which has allowed him to identify comparative human retinal disease genes, leading to the development of treatment for human patients with eyesight defects. Miss Milodowski used her prize to investigate the chronology of the recolonisation of surgical wounds by commensal bacteria in the post-operative period.

Dr Ostrander said: “Laboratories like mine across the world are trying to find the causes of genetic disease in dog breeds, so that breeders have the opportunity to improve the health of their breed. I am most grateful to the International Canine Health Awards and for the opportunity to draw attention to our work and invite more owners and breeders to participate.”

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