Associate Professor Gary Johnson, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2019

Gary Johnson is proof that it isn’t necessary for a veterinary surgeon to wield a scalpel or dispense a medicine to make a massive difference to animal health. His work on canine genetic diseases is reckoned to have saved the lives of many more dogs than most practising vets will manage during their careers.

Associate Professor Johnson trained as a veterinarian at the University of Minnesota and became an independent researcher at the University of Missouri in 1980, working on improved diagnostic methods for bleeding disorders in dogs. He was responsible for establishing the canine buccal mucosa bleeding time test as the standard procedure for detecting these conditions in dogs. His subsequent work has focussed on investigating the genetic mutations associated with heritable disease in dogs and other domestic species. His laboratory was one of the first in the world to adopt whole genome sequencing as the primary strategy for identifying those changes. This work has generated 153 whole genome sequences in dogs of various breeds and diagnosed 83 different heritable diseases.

Throughout his lengthy and productive career, Associate Professor Johnson has worked closely with breed associations and individual breeders. His laboratory offers around 40 different genetic tests for diseases such as Fanconi’s anaemia in Basenjis, a service that has enabled breeders to eliminate this lethal condition from the breed.

Copyright © The Kennel Club Limited 2019. The unauthorised reproduction of text and images is strictly prohibited.