Eight veterinary students were recently recognised for their exceptional work under the auspices of Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health’s Connect Bursary Awards, with three projects triumphing as the overall winners.

Eight veterinary students were recently recognised for their exceptional work under the auspices of Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health’s Connect Bursary Awards, designed to provide financial assistance for students for elective research during their college years.

This year’s nominations were said to be “of an extremely high standard”, with three projects triumphing as the overall winners. These focused on: laterality in dogs; stallion semen preservation; and developing a better understanding of wobbler syndrome in horses.
L-R: David Hallas, Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health, Charlotte Cockburn, Hayley Harwood, Holly Claridge and Mike Francis, head of R&D at I/S-P
Charlotte Cockburn from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and Hayley Harwood from the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies (Edinburgh) were joint winners of the main Bursary Award, while the RVC’s Holly Claridge was presented with the inaugural Equine Award.
 
Miss Cockburn’s research investigated tests for laterality in dogs to determine if domestic dogs show a significant paw preference and to identify a test that can be used for this purpose by veterinary practices.

The results showed a lateralisation bias in the dog population towards the left with no significant correlations between paw preference and the sex, age or breed of dog. In addition, the initiation of gait test used in the study was the only test that gained a response from 100 per cent of the dogs.
 
Miss Harwood set out to investigate the motility of stallion spermatozoa thawed at various rates and maintained for up to 24 hours with the aim of designing a protocol for the thawing of semen that would allow cooled transported frozen-thawed semen to be used effectively. The study showed that for total motility, thawing the straws at 72°C resulted in significantly higher motility than when compared with other treatments.
 
Miss Claridge’s research aimed to describe the 3D anatomy of the cervical articular process joints in relation to the spinal cord and whether artificial distension of these joints, mimicking effusion, would cause the pouches of the joints to compress the spinal cord in the horse. The study concluded that in the absence of any other soft tissue or bony changes effusion of these joints is unlikely to cause spinal cord compression. However, given that these joints and the spinal cord are in close approximation, in the presence of other changes, an effusion may have the potential to cause compression.
 
Five other students also received a Connect Bursary from Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health to fund their research. The Bursaries were awarded to Rebecca Johnson and Sharon Brown (Glasgow), Gabrielle Laing (Liverpool), Alex Torrance (Cambridge) and Amy Gordan (Bristol). Two further Bursaries were also awarded to students from Nottingham.

Students were required to present their work to a judging panel from Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health, representatives from the veterinary schools and industry key opinion leaders.
 
David Hallas, General Manager at Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health, said: “Being part of the Connect Bursary is intended to give veterinary students both the freedom to explore new ground as well as providing a taste of working in industry. The fact that we awarded a record number of Bursaries this year, elected joint winners and launched the new Equine Award is testament to the refreshingly high standard of work being undertaken by veterinary undergraduates.”
 
Intervet / Schering-Plough Connect is an information and support service for veterinary students, which includes the Bursary scheme. The initiative provides individuals and recognised groups and societies with educational and sponsorship assistance during their college years.

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