Nominations sought for prestigious canine health awards

The International Canine Health Awards are returning for a fourth year to celebrate the world's finest researchers and scientists, whose work has had a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of dogs.

Nominations are currently being sought for the awards, which are run by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and include prize funds donated by Vernon and Shirley Hill of Metro Bank.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held at the Kennel Club in April 2016.

Last year's winners were nominated by their peers and contemporaries for their innovative work in dog health and developments in veterinary science. They were:

  • Professor Sheila Crispin, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on comparative eye disease. Her innovative research has focused on understanding the way in which eye disease develops, with particular focus on lipids (fats) in the eye, which can severely compromise vision and even cause blindness if untreated. Professor Crispin has also made substantial clinical and research contributions in that of inherited and breed-related eye disease in dogs.
  • Professor David Argyle was one of two individuals awarded the International Prize in Canine Health, for the work that he has carried out identifying stem cells in cancer which are responsible for the devastating disease, which affects one in three dogs at some point in their lifetime. By isolating and studying cancer stem cells in dogs, he has transformed our understanding of how the cancer stem cells drive cancer progression, opening up the possibility of new treatments - work which is also potentially transferrable to the treatment of cancers in humans.
  • Dr Cathryn Mellersh was also awarded the International Prize in Canine Health, for the work that she has carried out in understanding the inheritance of diseases in dogs, which has enabled her and her team, who work at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, to develop DNA tests for breeders to use, to prevent the spread of disease mutations to future generations.
  • James Swann was presented with the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award for the research he is doing into immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA), a deadly autoimmune disease that causes death in as many as 70 percent of dogs that are affected. He aims, through his research, to not only improve treatment of the disease but also decrease the mortality rate.

With a prize fund totalling £60,000, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust is calling for people to nominate deserving candidates by the deadline of 18 December 2015.  The awards will be judged by representatives from the veterinary profession and the world of scientific research, including experts in the nominees' selected fields.

The three categories for the International Canine Health Awards are:

  • International Prize in Canine Health for outstanding contribution in the field of canine health and welfare (a prize fund of £40,000 for future projects). The award will be presented to someone who is currently involved in world class innovation but with much still to contribute.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award with £10,000 prize fund - a veterinarian or scientist working in a related discipline who has dedicated much of their career to advancing the health of dogs. The award will be presented to someone who has made a significant impact on the world stage of canine health.
  • Student Inspiration Awards which will be split into undergraduate and postgraduate, with a prize fund of £5,000 for each winner. This prize will aid further education costs, the development of their careers, or to create or continue a project. The awards will be presented to extraordinary students studying at a British veterinary school, who demonstrate the potential significantly to advance the frontiers of veterinary medicine and research in the field of dogs.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, is urging people to submit nominations, saying: "There have been huge advances made in improving canine health with the aim of giving our dogs a healthier future. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has a long history of supporting work that helps to improve dog health and, thanks to the generous funding from Vernon and Shirley Hill, the International Canine Health Awards go a step further, honouring and rewarding the work of specific individuals.

"If you know someone carrying out innovative work in dog health that deserves international recognition and funding to further their research, please nominate them. We want to make sure that these people are recognised and acknowledged."

Vernon Hill, founder and Chairman of Metro Bank, and whose major gift underwrites the International Canine Health Awards, said: "We are proud to support these important awards again, to fund research that may transform canine and human health by encouraging the same visionary thinking and innovation that Metro Bank champions. At Metro Bank, 'Dogs Rule'."

All nominations should be made via the online application form on the Kennel Club website: /our-resources/international-canine-health-awards/. If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact Catherine Torrance at the Kennel Club via

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