Royal Veterinary College undergraduate from Texas to receive major canine health award

Sierra Latshaw, 23, from Texas, USA, has been announced as the latest recipient of the Undergraduate Student Inspiration Award, a category in the world-renowned 2022 International Canine Health Awards.

Having been passionate about dogs her whole life, Sierra is currently a third-year student at the Royal Veterinary College, London, and is working within the VetCompass Programme, an important project supported for many years by The Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Sierra aspires to continue her work exploring the incidence, risk factors and clinical management of testicular cancer in dogs. Sierra’s research will help identify and fill data gaps in our knowledge of the common types, treatment options and mortality of the disease. Additionally, in identifying dogs with the disease, Sierra plans to collate demographic epidemiological information to highlight breeds that are at high risk.

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 award, Sierra said: “I am humbled and overjoyed to be recognised as this year's International Canine Health Awards Student Inspiration Award winner. This award will help me to improve canine welfare through our enhanced understanding of testicular cancer. 

“My undergraduate VetCompass research aims to promote greater veterinary understanding of testicular cancer to better manage cases and educate owners. I believe that evidence-based medicine is the future of veterinary medicine, and this award also acknowledges the critical role of VetCompass in promoting greater global understanding of primary veterinary care for dogs.”

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 delighted to hear about the work that Sierra has been doing in her veterinary career so far and her passion for epidemiology and the health and welfare of dogs is very clear. Her work on testicular cancer will provide a valuable addition to our knowledge of the disease. I would like to offer my congratulations to Sierra on receiving the Undergraduate Student Inspiration Award 2022 and I have no doubt she has a great future ahead of her and will be an inspiration for a younger generation of veterinary students.”

Vernon Hill, whose major gift from the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation underwrites the awards, said: “Sierra Latshaw should be incredibly proud of this achievement, winning such a renowned global award so early in her career is an impressive accomplishment. Her passion and determination is clear and Sierra is an individual I am sure we will hear from throughout the future of canine medicine.”

Find out more about the International Canine Health Awards.