Pioneer of equine arthroscopic surgery receives award

McIlwraith conducts surgery at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Photo: John Eisele/Colorado State University
Dr Wayne McIlwraith in his element. Photo: John Eisele/Colorado State University

New Zealand-born equine orthopaedic surgeon and researcher Wayne McIlwraith has been honored for his contribution to the field.

McIlwraith received the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Research Award for his life-long contributions to equine research, specifically relating to orthopaedics, joint disease and biologic therapies.

McIlwraith is a University Distinguished Professor who holds the Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair in Orthopaedics at Colorado State University.

The association’s Research Award, first presented in 2014, honors those who completed research that has or will make a significant impact on the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of equine disease.

McIlwraith received the award at the president’s luncheon this week, during the AAEP’s 64th Annual Convention in San Francisco, California.

Dr Wayne McIlwraith Photo: John Eisele/Colorado State University
Dr Wayne McIlwraith Photo: John Eisele/Colorado State University

Colleagues of Dr McIlwraith, who is also founding director of the university’s Orthopaedic Research Center and namesake of its new Translational Medicine Institute, said his research and educational efforts had improved the health and welfare of thousands of horses worldwide.

“We can think of no one more deserving of this award,” they said.

McIlwraith pioneered arthroscopic surgery and joint disease research in the horse, and many of his procedures have been translated into human medicine.

He is the co-author of five textbooks, more than 400 textbook chapters and refereed publications, and has given more than 600 presentations and workshops.

McIlwraith is a graduate of Massey University in his native New Zealand. He holds honorary degrees from universities in Austria, England, Italy, New Zealand and the United States; and he consults worldwide as a specialist equine surgeon.

Previous awards for his research include: the John Hickman Award for Orthopaedic Research by the British Equine Veterinary Association (1997); recognition as an Honored Researcher by the Colorado State University Research Foundation (2004); induction into the University of Kentucky Equine Research Hall of Fame (2005); Scholarship Impact Award by Colorado State University (2007); Elastickon Award for Equine Research by the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation (2008); Markowitz Award for outstanding contributions to medicine through experimental surgery, by the Academy of Surgical Research (2013); and the Marshall R. Urist MD award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research by the Orthopaedic Research Society (2014).

• California regulatory veterinarian Kent Fowler received the AAEP’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award for his leadership and advocacy in protecting the horse from infectious diseases.

The award honors exemplary service to the benefit of the horse, horse industry or profession of equine veterinary medicine.

Fowler is the Animal Health Branch chief for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in Sacramento. He was an early advocate for creation of the Equine Disease Communication Center and the National Equine Health Plan, participating in initial planning meetings in 2010 and playing an instrumental role in advancing the concepts and obtaining acceptance and use of the EDCC by state veterinarians.

As host of the monthly National Equine Conference Call, Fowler facilitates ongoing communication about pertinent veterinary topics between the American Horse Council, AAEP, National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials, United States Department of Agriculture and industry. In addition, he worked with state animal health officials and the USDA to develop acceptable protocols for treatment and subsequent testing of equine piroplasmosis-positive horses. Since the initial discussions of this treatment option, multiple horses have been treated successfully and cleared of the organism.

• Florida veterinarian Dr Richard “Chip” Estes was recognized with AAEP’s Distinguished Educator – Mentor Award for the continuous support he has shown his colleagues throughout his career and into his retirement.

The award honors an individual who has demonstrated a significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners through mentoring.

A 1974 graduate of Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Estes spent most of his career in private practice, primarily with broodmares and horses in training.

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