Highlighting our achievements in our first ever impact report!

We have just released our first impact report that showcases the 2021 activities of BSAVA Savers.

Access our 2021 Impact Report


Earlier Onset Urinary Incontinence in the Bitch and its Association with Neutering | Camilla Pegram BVetMed MRes MRCVS

The advantages and disadvantages of neutering are a hotly debated topic amongst veterinarians in practice. I was no different and, after some time spent as a vet in small animal first opinion practice, I was thrilled to embark on a BSAVA PetSavers MRes (October 2017–October 2018) to try to put some evidence behind this topic by exploring the associations between neutering and urinary incontinence in bitches using the VetCompassTM database.

This VetCompass research led to the publication of two papers in JSAP1,2 that have increased the evidence base for clinicians on such an important topic. My primary findings were that neutering overall and especially early‐age neutering (< 6 months) are strong risk factors for urinary incontinence. In addition, larger breeds such as the Irish Setter and Dalmatian were at greatest risk. These results can assist vets when making evidence‐based recommendations on neutering and its timing, and can be incorporated in to undergraduate teaching to guide the next generation of vets.

I was very proud to present my research widely to audiences at the Society of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM) conference in both 2018 and 2019, at BSAVA Congress in 2019, on a number of occasions at the Royal Veterinary College, and to the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Veterinary Society.

VetCompass, which shares and analyses veterinary clinical information to understand the disorders and improve the welfare of companion animals, includes over 15 million animals from 1,803 UK participating veterinary practices. VetCompass data have the power to change how we use evidence in clinical practice to improve our clinical outcomes.

I thoroughly enjoyed my MRes year. I am now an epidemiologist within the VetCompass team and have six publications so far with several more under review and in preparation. I would recommend a BSAVA Petsavers MRes as a fantastic way to answer those burning research questions that we all have in clinical practice and also as a route towards having a real impact on the veterinary world.


1. Pegram C, O’Neill DG, Church DB, Hall J, Owen L, Brodbelt DC. Spaying and urinary incontinence in bitches under UK primary veterinary care: a case–control study. J Small Anim Pract. 2019;60(7):395–403.

2. Pegram C, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, et al. Associations between neutering and early-onset urinary incontinence in UK bitches under primary veterinary care. J Small Anim Pract. 2019;60:723–33.


The impact of BSAVA PetSavers meant we were able to offer a student potentially interested in research the opportunity to get engaged in a project that could help the welfare of cats in practice, and also help him decide on his future career and role within the veterinary profession.

I am delighted we could support both an individual veterinary surgeon, helping them explore what to do next in their career, and the wider profession with our findings. Proving that many aspects of urinalysis can be performed on a free-catch sample rather than cystocentesis should reduce costs and stress, and aid compliance for cats and their owners.” – Christina

Christina Maunder, BVM&S CertSAM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS, received BSAVA PetSavers’ funding for a student to undertake a Master’s degree by Research in 2018 into diagnostic approaches to feline subclinical bacteriuria and urinary tract infections and the responsible use of antimicrobials. She is now a Senior Clinician in Internal Medicine, European Specialist in Veterinary Internal Medicine, and RCVS Feline Specialist, and a Teaching Fellow in Internal Medicine at the University of Bristol.

BSAVA PetSavers funding is aimed at helping veterinary professionals solve clinical problems for the direct benefit of pets. It was critical in allowing us to be the first to explore continuous glucose monitoring to help diabetic pets more than 15 years ago. This technology is now in widespread use.” – Lucy 
Professor Lucy Davison, MA VetMB PhD DSAM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS, received BSAVA PetSavers’ funding in 2001 for a project evaluating a commercial continuous glucose monitoring system for the management of canine diabetes mellitus. Since then, she has been the recipient of several other BSAVA PetSavers’ grants. She is a European and RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine, a Professor of Veterinary Clinical Genetics at the RVC, and MRC Clinician Scientist Fellow at the University of Oxford.
“I was the lucky recipient of a BSAVA PetSavers’ grant to fund my residency in small animal surgery. I have done my best to pay that back to the profession, predominantly through trying to contribute to the field of cancer surgery in cats and dogs. PetSavers put me on that path, and it changed my career. I hope together we have advanced the field of cancer care, if even a little.” – Nick
Professor Nicholas Bacon, MA VetMB CertVR CertSAS DipECVS DipACVS FRCVS, qualified from Cambridge Vet School in 1997 and after two years in general practice returned to Cambridge as a BSAVA PetSaver’s resident in soft tissue surgery and oncology. He is an ACVS Founding Fellow of Surgical Oncology and RCVS Specialist in Surgical Oncology, Clinical Director of Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue, and Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine.

“I was a BSAVA PetSavers’ resident and it was thanks to that opportunity that I was able to pursue my dream of becoming a neurologist. Whilst a resident and in 1995 I was presented with Beau, a cavalier King Charles spaniel that baffled me with the strange scratching action that is now recognised as hallmark of syringomyelia. Over the next two decades I dedicated much of my career to finding out about this enigmatic disease; however, the mechanism of syringomyelia-related phantom scratching remained elusive. 

Thanks to BSAVA PetSavers I was able to offer some student projects that looked at the problem using MRI and histology from clinical cases. The findings from these studies have been translated in a clinical trial using a novel drug that so far is having a really positive impact into the quality of life of affected dogs.” – Clare

Professor Clare Rusbridge, BVMS (Hons) PhD DECVN FRCVS, was a BSAVA PetSavers’ resident in veterinary neurology and neurosurgery, and has received several BSAVA PetSavers’ student grants to explore syringomyelia. She is currently Professor of Veterinary Neurology at the University of Surrey and Chief of Neurology at Fitzpatrick Referrals Orthopaedics and Neurology.