Distinguished Indiana professor specialising in canine cancer awarded lifetime accolade

Dr Deborah Knapp, an established professor from Purdue University, Indiana, USA, has been rewarded for her successful career advancing the field of canine oncology as the latest recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 International Canine Health Awards.

Dr Knapp is the Dolores L. McCall Professor of Comparative Oncology and Director of the Purdue Comparative Oncology Programme, and is a world-leading expert in her specialist field of canine bladder cancer, having dedicated her career to bridging the gap between both canine and human health. By reviewing how cancer in dogs can mimic similar presentation in humans, Dr Knapp has improved the outlook for both man and his best friend.

Dr Deborah Knapp has revolutionised the veterinary approach to treating dogs presenting with canine transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). When Dr Knapp began her career, the only likely outcome for TCC was euthanasia, whereas canine bladder cancer is now viewed as a highly treatable disease, with a survival time that has grown to a staggering 430 days, or longer for many dogs, following diagnosis. Dr Knapp has provided generations of dogs with tumour remission, alleviation of symptoms and a vastly improved quality of life.

The widely esteemed International Canine Health Awards have now been running for ten years, highlighting a decade of innovation and advancements for transforming the health and wellbeing of dogs around the world. Organised and run by The Kennel Club Charitable Trust with a major financial gift from the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation, the awards were launched to support and highlight individuals who are committed to undertaking quality research to improve canine health. Applications for the awards are judged by a panel of independent and eminent international veterinarians and scientists. The awards will be presented via a virtual ceremony on Wednesday 28 September, 15.00 BST, with further details available to those who register their interest.

On hearing of her Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr Knapp shared: “Wow! This is an incredible honour. I am extremely humbled and grateful to The Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

“It is extra special to receive the award from the organisation that has been committed to improving the health and well-being of dogs for almost 150 years. Thank you!”

This year, the International Canine Health Awards are recognising five winners in the following categories: the International Award with a prize of £40,000; the Lifetime Achievement Award with a prize of £10,000; the two Student Inspiration Awards, undergraduate and postgraduate with a prize of £10,000 for the postgraduate and £5,000 for the undergraduate winners; and The Kennel Club’s Breed Health Co-ordinator Prize - the winner of which receives £5,000.

Dr Andrew Higgins, Chairman of the International Canine Health Awards panel and trustee of The Kennel Club Charitable Trust which organises the awards shared: “I was really impressed to learn more about the work that Dr. Knapp has undertaken throughout her amazing career and the advancements that have followed her work in canine oncology. Her dedication has benefitted countless dogs and humans and she is a world authority on these translational tumours. I offer my sincere congratulations to her on winning the Lifetime Achievement Award 2022.”
Vernon Hill, whose major gift from the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation underwrites the awards, said: “Dr Deborah Knapp has achieved so much in her career and she is extremely deserving of this prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Her skill and innovative thinking are evident from her research and results achieved so far. I expect she will continue to transform how we see canine cancer.”

Find out more information about the International Canine Health Awards.