Veterinary Nurse pursuing further postgraduate research following win of international award

Michelle Farrow, 23, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, has become the latest recipient of the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award, a category open to UK applicants as part of the 2022 International Canine Health Awards.

Michelle is currently a postgraduate student at the Royal Veterinary College, London, having graduated from the University of Bristol with a BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Nursing and Bioveterinary Science and she is also an Royal College Veterinary School Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Michelle is undertaking a Master by Research degree at the Royal Veterinary College and has designed an interactive survey to explore how owners make decisions about when to seek veterinary care. The survey looks at how online information sourcing potentially influences owners when deciding about whether to seek veterinary care for dogs exhibiting clinical signs of disease. The survey included realistic case scenarios representing common canine health conditions as identified by data from VetCompass, an important project supported for several years by The Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

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.

Sharing thoughts on winning the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award, Michelle said: “I am humbled and honoured to be the first Veterinary Nurse to win the International Canine Health Awards Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award. My clinical experience as a Veterinary Nurse has really enhanced and informed my current research work, which is why I believe that Veterinary Nurses can be a real asset to research, bringing new and challenging perspectives.

“My current research project involves a novel, interactive survey with responses from over 2,800 UK dog owners. Its findings will aid understanding of caregivers’ decision-making around their dog’s health and the internet’s potential influence.”

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: “Michelle is the first Veterinary Nurse to win an Award and the judges were very impressed by her enthusiasm and dedication. I have no doubts that she will go forward teaching and inspiring future generations of nurses and other veterinary professionals on the health and welfare of dogs. I would like to offer my congratulations to Michelle on receiving the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award 2022 and I am looking forward to hearing more of the plans to promote the Veterinary Nurses in Research initiative.”

Vernon Hill, whose major gift from the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation underwrites the awards, said: “Michelle Farrow should be incredibly proud of achieving this renowned award so early in her career. Receiving a global research award requires extreme determination, skill and results – and competition is tough! Michelle is an inspiring individual and I look forward to hearing how she progresses in the field of canine medicine.”

Find out more about the International Canine Health Awards.