Presenting the winners of the 2017 Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Awards

Since its creation in 2013 by the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS), the JFMS Resident Best Paper Award has highlighted and rewarded exceptional research in veterinary science carried out by residents. This year, JFMS’s sister title, the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports (JFMS Open Reports), has launched its own award – the JFMS Open Reports Practitioner Best Paper Award – in order to recognise quality and excellence for veterinary practitioners who submit papers to JFMS Open Reports.

We caught up with the winners to find out more about their papers, and their hopes for the impact on the future of the field.

JFMS Resident Best Paper Award

Katherine Pankratz is the winner of the JFMS Resident Best Paper Award. Katherine’s research examines the safety of a fear-reducing drug used on cats to better improve their welfare during trap–neuter–release (TNR). Her study can be read in full here.

What impact do you hope your research will have?

This study revealed that community cats experience fear during the TNR protocol and offers one way to reduce these ‘stress’-related emotions. We hope our study will promote the use of pharmacologic and other methods to improve the welfare of cats during TNR protocols. In addition, we think our study will encourage the use of gabapentin as a safe, effective way to reduce fear and improve welfare in cats during transport, handling and veterinary assessment.

How do you think your findings will influence future research in this area?

There are other feline populations and circumstances, such as client-owned cats transported to the veterinary clinic or stray cats held at an animal shelter, and I believe that this research will improve the welfare of all cats in confinement. In addition, I hope it will inspire additional research to study attenuating fear in other cat populations, in other circumstances and with other antianxiety agents.

What one piece of advice would you give to a clinical resident embarking on their first publication?

My most significant recommendation for clinical residents is to embrace constructive criticism and teamwork. I have been fortunate to have a very supportive mentor, who provided guidance throughout the research and publication process. Her suggestions, resources, and critiques were paramount to the success of our research. Whether it be finding pertinent literature, additional help in the field, or listening to reviewers, it is all a team effort. Welcome other people’s experience and wisdom.

Katherine is a third year Clinical Behavioral Medicine Resident at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Katherine received both her Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Research and her veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin– Madison, in 2010 and 2014, respectively. After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship in New York. Her professional goals are to become a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and pursue her special interest in feline behavior and welfare.

JFMS Open Reports Practitioner Best Paper Award

The winner of the JFMS Open Reports Practitioner Best Paper Award is Nicola Council. Nicola’s case report is the first description of fractures and cortical bones changes in a cat that may have been associated with the prolonged use of bisphosphonates. It provides a foundation for more core research and guideline development within the field. You can read the research in full here.

What clinical impact do you hope your case report findings will have?

Our hope is to provide some general guidelines for other clinicians to use when monitoring their patients receiving long-term bisphosphonates. Through baseline and routine monitoring of renal parameters and long bone radiographs, clinicians will hopefully be able to determine if their patients are tolerating the medication appropriately and when may be best to discontinue its use.

How do you think your case report might influence future research?

We also hope that this case report may open the door to further bisphosphonate research. These medications have proven benefits for cats with idiopathic hypercalcemia; however, the long-term side effects are poorly understood. Further research in a controlled setting would be immensely beneficial to help dictate ongoing use of alendronate and other bisphosphonates.

What one piece of advice would you give to a veterinary practitioner embarking on their first publication?

The best piece of advice I could give to other practitioners interested in pursuing publication would be to seek out someone knowledgeable in the publication writing process to help mentor you. I am incredibly indebted to Dr Dennis Chew for providing immeasurable guidance and encouraging us to see this case report to completion, as well as to Dr Joao Felipe Galvao for helping shape the structure of the final version and for help with the citation process.

Nicola graduated from Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in 2010, having strong interests in internal medicine, surgery and dentistry. Following graduation, she returned to Arizona to start work in private small animal general practice. 

For more research tips, check out the interviews with last year’s winner here. You can also see all the previous winners of the JFMS Resident Best Paper Award and their research on SAGE Journals.

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