County Durham woman wins prestigious award for her work in Beagle health

Dr Samantha Goldberg, from Trimdon Colliery, Co. Durham, has been recognised at the International Canine Health Awards, one of the largest and most prestigious veterinary awards in the world, for her work in improving the health of man’s best friend.

Dr Goldberg was awarded Breed Health Coordinator of the Year Award for her dedication and commitment to improving the health of the Beagle, a breed she has been involved with for over 40 years.

Her passion for the breed has united the ten breed clubs, enabling them to have a consistent and proactive attitude to all Beagle health-related matters and engage with breeders worldwide. She is keen to provide owners and breeds with useful health information through leaflets, articles, social media and comprehensive website. In 2019, Dr Goldberg conducted a Beagle health survey that collected 950 individual responses, representing 1,531 dogs from across the globe.

The awards, which are organised by The Kennel Club Charitable Trust and underwritten by a major gift from Vernon and Shirley Hill, founders of Metro Bank, highlight those individuals who go one step further to promote the health and wellbeing of dogs through their work in the world of veterinary science. The winners are chosen by an independent international panel of eminent veterinarians and scientists. The ceremony will take place virtually on Wednesday 30 June at 14.00 BST, and details on how to view will be provided to those who register their interest. 

Upon hearing of her award, Samantha said: “I am delighted to win this award, and I would like to thank the Beagle breed clubs who put me forward. We have worked very hard to keep our breed healthy and it is a joint effort with me just coordinating the actions of the clubs and their members, as well as Beagle owners who care about our breed. Beagles are fun, stubborn, friendly and heedless all mixed in together.”

Samantha started in the role of Bread Health Coordinator unofficially in the late 1980s, acting as the person to contact for health matters, before becoming the coordinator for the Northern and Midland Counties Beagle Club. The past fifteen years have seen Dr Goldberg become the Breed Health Coordinator for all ten breed clubs.

Dr Goldberg hopes that the funding from this award will help with research into epilepsy, Lafora disease and Steroid Responsive Meningitis in the breed, as well as provide the means to conduct further health surveys and upgrade the breed’s website platform.

Speaking of her proudest achievement in the role, Samantha said: “I hope the award can be used to further our knowledge with two conditions we haven’t been able to tackle with testing yet – Steroid Responsive Meningitis and Idiopathic Epilepsy. There is still work to be done!”

This year there were six International Canine Health Awards, two of which are open global awards: the International Award, with a prize of £40,000 and the Lifetime Achievement Award, with a prize of £10,000. There are two Undergraduate Student Inspiration Awards for students studying at UK veterinary schools, with a prize of £5,000 each, and the Breed Health Coordinator Award, with a prize of £5,000. In addition, there was also a Special Award with a prize of £5,000.

Dr Andrew Higgins, Chairman of the ICHA panel and trustee of The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which runs the awards, said: “Samantha is a real inspiration to her breed and has contributed enormously to improving the health of Beagles, and uniting all ten breed clubs.

“The passion that Samantha shows towards her work is clear to see and she is more than deserving of this award.”

Vernon Hill, founder and chairman emeritus of Metro Bank, and whose major gift underwrites the International Canine Health Awards, said: “Many congratulations to Samantha. Her achievements so far are very impressive and she should feel so proud of her work for the Beagle breed.”

Find out more about the International Canine Health Awards.