BSAVA award winners announced for 2024

19 December 2023

The BSAVA has today (19th Dec) announced the winners of their 2024 awards. Celebrating the veterinary profession’s unsung heroes, the BSAVA awards are to recognise outstanding contributions in small animal veterinary practice.

The Bourgelat Award – Nick Jeffery BVSc PhD MSc CertSAO DipSAS(ST) DipECVN DipECVS FRCVS

This year’s Bourgelat Award goes to Nick Jeffery for his outstanding international contributions to the fields of small animal practice. Nick is an internationally recognised veterinary neurologist, surgeon, and scientist. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, many in key biomedical journals, as well as being the past editor of the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP). His research has defined the pathological features of spinal cord injury in dogs, and he was also fundamental in defining MRI based features of injury, which are still utilised to aid in diagnosis and delivery of local therapies.

Nick will be speaking at BSAVA Congress 2024 in his Bourgelat Lecture on ‘(Veterinary) Medicine is a playground of uncertainty’ on 23rd March.

The Simon Award – Ben Walton BVSc DSAS(orth) MRCVS

The Simon Award for 2024 has been given to Ben Walton for his contribution to the advancement of all small animal surgery. Ben is an RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics), and he has contributed much to the development of novel surgical techniques. He has published several peer-reviewed publications, and he has also trained nearly 500 surgeons from across Europe in new techniques for condylar fractures.

The Woodrow Award – Gerry Polton MA VetMB MSc(Clin Onc) DipECVIM-CA(Oncology) MRCVS

This award goes to Gerry Polton for his contributions to the advancement of small animal medicine in its widest context. After graduation, Gerry initially worked in first opinion practice. He received a Master of Sciences in clinical oncology from the Institute of Cancer Research in 2003 and a European Diploma in Oncology in 2010. He has published scientific literature on a range of cancer subjects but is probably most renowned for his work on canine anal sac gland tumours.

The Blaine Award – Elizabeth Villiers BVSc CertVR CertSAM FRCPath DipECVCP MRCVS

Elizabeth Villiers has won the Blaine award for her contributions to the advancement of small animal science in its widest context. Elizabeth is well known and respected internationally as a veterinary clinical pathologist. Her expertise lies in haematological malignancies and flow cytometry. She retains a great knowledge of and interest in the application of her work to clinical case and is a patient and inspiring teacher.

The Bruce Vivash Jones Veterinary Nursing Award – Nicola Lakeman RVN

This award is presented to Nicola Lakeman as the primary recognition for outstanding contributions to the advancement of small animal veterinary nursing. Nicola graduated from Hartpury College with an honour’s degree in Equine Science, and subsequently qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2002, after originally working in veterinary practice in 1992. She has written for many veterinary publications and textbooks (including the BSAVA Textbook of Veterinary Nursing and The Consulting Veterinary Nurse), and lectures internationally on nurse consulting and nutrition.

The Ray Butcher Award – Charlotte Russo FdSc Dip AVN RVN

This award goes to Charlotte Russo, an ‘unsung hero’ who has been making a significant contribution to animal welfare in the community. Charlotte graduated with a Foundation Degree in Veterinary Nursing and Practice Management from Morton Morrell College, followed by a Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing from Harper Adams. Over the last decade Charlotte has been able to follow her passion in transfusion medicine and has strong interests in blood donor welfare. This award is in memory of Ray Butcher, President of the Association between 1993 – 1994.

The J.A. Wight Memorial Award – Shaun Opperman BVSc MRCVS

The 2024 J.A. Wight Memorial Award goes to Shaun Opperman for his outstanding contribution to the welfare of companion animals. Shaun is Veterinary Director at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and in over 30 years employment, he’s given a vital second chance to thousands of homeless dogs and cats. His interests include soft tissue surgery, canine respiratory disease, and shelter medicine and metrics. He was a founder member of the Association of Charity Vets and has contributed chapters to the BSAVA manual of shelter medicine. This award is presented annually by the Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity.

PetSavers Veterinary Achievement Award – Matt James MA VetMB PhD MRCVS

This award is presented to the first author of the most valuable peer-reviewed research paper following a PetSavers’ grant, with respect to veterinary practice.

Matt graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2017 before working in a busy first-opinion practice in Wiltshire, during which time he developed a passion for neurology. He then joined Dovecote Veterinary Hospital in 2020 and completed his residency in neurology and neurosurgery in 2023. He has won this award for his paper ‘Approach to initial management of canine generalised epileptic seizures in primary-care veterinary practices in the United Kingdom’.

PetSavers Clinical Abstract Award – Shauna Creamer

This award is presented to the first author of the most valuable Clinical Research Abstract following a PetSavers’ grant, presented at the preceding year’s BSAVA Congress.

Shauna is a fourth-year vet student at the University of Liverpool. She completed her research project ‘An investigation into the antimicrobial properties of canine skin microflora’, for which she receives this award, during the summer of her second year under the guidance of Dr. Vanessa Schmidt and Dr. Mal Horsburgh.

Dunkin Award – Sydney Simpson RVT

To the first named author of the best published paper in the JSAP in small animal medicine during the 12 months ending 30th September.

Paper: Incidence and type of peripheral intravenous catheter complications documented in hospitalised dogs.

Sydney Simpson, RVT, graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2020. This was one of the largest prospective studies published during the year and since it was looking at complications associated with a common procedure, intravenous catheter placement, the topic is of interest for practitioners at any level. Methodologically, the study was sound with proper study design and statistical analysis.

Melton Award – Sara Manzoni DVM

To the first named author of the best published paper in the JSAP in small animal surgery during the 12 months ending 30th September.

Paper: Preoperative computed tomography, surgical treatment, and long-term outcomes of dogs with abscesses on migrating vegetal foreign bodies and oropharyngeal stick injuries: 39 cases (2010-2021).

Sara is a second year Small Animal ECVS Resident at Vet24 in Lille and VetTeam in Liege. This is a retrospective study that included cases over a decade with a good follow-up and highlighted the relevance of advanced imaging to manage a condition that may be hard to treat otherwise.

BSAVA Honorary Secretary, Dr. Krista Arnold said: “There were many nominations this year which made it really difficult to choose, but the awards have gone to some really exceptional nominees. We look forward to formally presenting their awards in March. Congratulations to all our well-deserved winners!”

The recipients of 2024 will be celebrated at the BSAVA awards ceremony held at BSAVA Congress 2024, at Manchester Central on Friday 22 March.