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Celebrating excellence in the veterinary world
  1. Suzanne Jarvis

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THIS week we open the nomination window for our Veterinary Record awards.

There has been a plethora of new veterinary awards in recent years, so what are we trying to achieve with ours?

Veterinary Record bestows three awards that celebrate and highlight the great work being done by the veterinary profession in areas that we champion – innovation, the use of evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) and the impact of research on practices.

The Veterinary Record Innovation Award launched in 2015 with the broad remit to recognise individuals or teams whose innovation has brought about a change or improvement in any aspect of veterinary practice. Our previous winners demonstrate just how broad innovation within the veterinary world is.

The first winners were David Smith and his colleagues from the Moredun Research Institute for their development of the vaccine Barbervax, for use against the barber's pole worm, Haemonchus contortus, in sheep. The development of this vaccine had been innovative in a number of ways, but most notably it was the first commercially available defined antigen vaccine for any nematode parasite of any host.

Last year, the award was given to International Cat Care for its Cat Friendly Clinic programme. The development of this programme has materially improved the standard of care and welfare of cats brought into practices and has helped strengthen the bond between practices and cat owners.

In judging this award, it has been interesting to see an innovation develop from a good idea to something substantial. Both winning innovations have obvious practical applications and are already affecting the health and welfare of animals as well as contributing financial benefits to those using them.

Promoting the use of evidence-based veterinary medicine is very much part of this journal's DNA. So, when we launched the Veterinary Record Evidence Award last year, it seemed a natural fit. Research published in Veterinary Record and practical clinical articles in In Practice bring together the two main aspects of EBVM – using the best external evidence and incorporating personal clinical expertise and judgement to make the best decisions for patients.

The Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine (CEVM) at the University of Nottingham won the first award. The centre was nominated by a number of different people and was perhaps the obvious choice for this inaugural award as it has become a leader in promoting EBVM and, most importantly, engaging with practitioners.

Accepting the award last year, the centre's head, Rachel Dean, said: ‘We work with a great network of vets, owners, farmers and horse owners. Without them, what we do would be purely academic. The whole point is that we're trying to change and improve practice and they make it possible.’ With this in mind she hopes that someone in practice will win this year's award.

Given that the remit of the award is the development of EBVM or its application in practice, this is something we hope too. So we would encourage those of you using EBVM in practice to apply.

Our third award is the Veterinary Record Impact Award. This award recognises the research paper published in Veterinary Record over the previous 12 months that is considered likely to have the most practical impact. Unlike the other awards, entries are selected rather than nominated.

In 2014, the award went to Manjari Lal and colleagues, for their paper on developing a freeze-dried tablet formulation of a vaccine for Newcastle disease that was found to be stable for at least six months and did not require a cold chain. One of the paper's reviewers summed up the significance of the work as a ‘technical development of very considerable global significance – not just for poultry health, but for economic development and human health in the developing world’.

The 2015 winners were Nathalie Porters and her colleagues at Ghent University, Belgium, for two papers on prepubertal neutering of cats. They compared surgical techniques and complications in early neutering (between eight and 12 weeks of age) with conventional neutering at six to eight months. Their results – postoperative and at follow up, showed early neutering was as safe or safer than the established practice.

Last year, the impact award was won by Simon Archer, Reuben Newsome and colleagues from the University of Nottingham and Scotland's Rural College. Results from their paper recommended that the minimum claw length for any adult Holstein Friesian dairy cow should be increased from the 75 mm that has been recommended for the past 30 years, to at least 90 mm. The reviewers highlighted the importance of this work on the welfare and production of dairy cows.

From freeze-dried vaccines to improving animal welfare, we hope these awards encourage research and innovation that can make a difference to everyday practice.

It is right for this journal to celebrate high quality research and new approaches to veterinary practice.

How to apply

For both the innovation and evidence awards, nominations can be made on behalf of a candidate but self-nominations will also be considered. Nominations should be between 500 and 800 words, and evidence to substantiate the nomination should be included. In addition, video nominations can be included. Short biographies of the nominee and, if applicable, the nominator, should also be included.

Nominations for the evidence award should describe what was done, how EBVM techniques were used and what the outcome was in practical terms. Nominations will score well if they can demonstrate the use of both individual clinical expertise and the best external evidence.

Nominations for the innovation award should explain what the innovation is, what the impact has been and why it should be considered for the award.

Entries should be entitled either ‘Veterinary Record Evidence Award’ or ‘Veterinary Record Innovation Award’ and e-mailed to editorial{at}bva-edit.co.uk. The closing date for nominations is June 30, 2017.

▪ More information on how to apply is available at VR, May 6, 2017, vol 180, p 446.

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