RVC wins big at the International Canine Health Awards - Veterinary Practice
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RVC wins big at the International Canine Health Awards

RVC senior lecturer Dan O’Neill and former RVC undergraduates Yan Hui Lee and Eleanor Wilson were awarded prizes in three out of the four categories

The RVC is celebrating a kennel full of wins at this year’s prestigious International Canine Health Awards, known in the sector as the “Nobel Prizes of the Veterinary World”. RVC senior lecturer Dan O’Neill and former RVC undergraduates Yan Hui Lee and Eleanor Wilson were awarded prizes in three out of the four categories, in recognition of their contributions to the welfare of dogs.

Dr Dan O’Neill, senior lecturer in companion animal epidemiology at the RVC was announced as the winner of the International Award for his ground-breaking work on exploring canine health from a quantitative perspective. This includes his work co-leading the RVC’s VetCompass programme that shares clinical data from veterinary clinics for research that will benefit the long-term health and welfare of animals. Dr O’Neill has built a programme of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects that includes over 20 projects annually and is working to introduce the VetCompass concept with collaborators in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Germany, Singapore and Canada. Dr O’Neill will use the £40,000 prize money from this award to encourage and inspire the next generation of canine epidemiologists and to make his research findings even more accessible to dog owners in many new formats.

Yan Hui Lee, a recent veterinary graduate of the RVC, won the Undergraduate Student Inspiration award. The award was given to Yan in recognition of her VetCompass study exploring the epidemiology and clinical management of an important and distressing ear condition called aural haematoma in a population of over 900,000 dogs across the UK. Yan aims to publish her study as a peer-reviewed publication and the funding from the award will enable the paper to be made freely available to dog owners everywhere. Yan also plans to establish VetCompass in Singapore when she returns to go into general practice there this summer.

Fellow RVC graduate, Eleanor Wilson, also won the Undergraduate Student Inspiration award. Her research has helped to develop a new method of sequencing to investigate the activity of T-cell receptors in dogs and explore their influence on their immune status, particularly in dogs with lymphoma and septic shock. The award will allow Eleanor to delve deeper into the role of T-cells in cancer, potentially paving the way for new therapies as well as helping to assist in monitoring responses to treatment.

Dr Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC, said:

“I am so delighted that the VetCompass work at the RVC has been recognised with this fantastic and generous award. This will help hugely to further encourage and inspire the next generation of canine epidemiologists. My view is that everybody wins when we share ideas and data – this is the VetCompass ethos which I hope will continue to benefit the health and wellbeing of thousands of dogs across the UK and, potentially, the world.”

Yan Hui Lee, recent graduate of the RVC, said:

“It is an honour to be chosen for this award, and it reminds me that even as a student, I can contribute to the improvement of animal welfare. I believe that big dreams are achieved by taking small steps, and the main goal of improving breed health and animal welfare requires the collective effort from various bodies and individuals, such as veterinarians, breeders, and clients. Introducing VetCompass into Singapore would provide a plethora of opportunities for the veterinary community in Singapore, and I am excited for the future that is to come.”

Eleanor Wilson, recent graduate of the RVC, said:

“I’m so excited to have been selected for this award. This generous support from the Kennel Club and the International Canine Health Awards will allow me to return to Edinburgh and continue this work and potentially contribute to new therapeutic approaches.

“The support of The Kennel Club Charitable Trust and the International Canine Health Awards has allowed me to return to the Roslin Institute to do some further work on a next generation sequencing approach for studying canine T-cell receptor rearrangements.”

The prizes will be formally handed over at a virtual ceremony taking place on 30 June. Prospective attendees can register for the event online.

Veterinary Practice

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