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Dr. Benjamin Hart Named Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year

July 18, 2013

The University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is pleased to announce that Dr. Benjamin L. Hart has been named the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Hart is a UC Davis Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Director of the Program for Companion Animal Behavior.

The Bustad Award recognizes a veterinarian’s outstanding work in preserving and protecting human-animal relationships. Recipients of the award have demonstrated accomplishments not only through their actions, but through their words. They have exhibited special sensitivity to the human-companion animal bond, provided community service, held leadership roles in human-companion animal interactive programs that serve the community, taught the next generation of veterinarians and scientists the value of human-animal interactions, and have robust research careers aimed at increasing our understanding of human-companion animal interactions.

Dr. Hart’s recent research was the driving force behind this award recognition. In February 2013, his research on early neutering in golden retrievers showed that early neutering may affect the animal’s risk for developing certain cancers and joint diseases. The study, which examined the health records of 759 golden retrievers, found a surprising doubling of hip dysplasia among male dogs neutered before one year of age.

“My goal for that study was to give dog caregivers the information they need to be directly involved in neutering decisions as related to the long-term health of their dogs,” stated Dr. Hart. “The study results indicate that dog owners and service-dog trainers should carefully consider when to have their dogs neutered.”

Dr. Hart, a long-time leader in human-animal bond associations, is also deeply committed to helping pet owners advocate for their dogs, successfully mingling compassion with science to the great benefit of animals and society.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Hart’s talents at UC Davis,” stated SVM Dean Michael Lairmore. “Ben’s passion for his research and dedication to his patients and clients shines through with this award. We are proud to have him as a distinguished member of our emeritus faculty.”

This prestigious honor—which comes with a $5,000 grant to further work on the human-animal bond—is given annually and is named for the late Leo K. Bustad, DVM, PhD, a former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.

Rob Warren
VMTH Communications & Marketing Officer