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Winning the BVA Outstanding Service (Chiron) Award

01 May 2024


Last year's BVA Outstanding Service (Chiron) Award winner, Jane Ladlow, reflects on her career to date and what the future holds.

Winning the BVA Outstanding Service (Chiron) Award Image

I was delighted (and a little surprised) to be the recipient of the BVA Chiron Award in 2023. It was a huge honour to be recognised by my peers, particularly when I look at the field of veterinary medicine and see so many talented and capable people.

My background

I was inducted into veterinary medicine by a generation of mixed practitioners who thought nothing of morning consults and a small animal surgical list, followed by a farm session of pregnancy diagnosis with the odd displaced abomasum or calving thrown in. 

Though I thought I’d be a mixed animal vet, being hosed down at various Pennine farms, my journey has been a little different as I caught the surgery bug at vet school. The teachers I encountered were inspirational and, helped by numerous mentors, I followed the internship and residency route and became an European College Of Veterinary Surgeons Diplomate in 2002.

Even in those days, it was tricky to get a residency, but it is so much harder now. I see colleagues regularly starting residency training in their late twenties or early thirties with the concomitant risk to the work-life balance. I have been able to combine working as a specialist clinician with family life and, though difficult at times, I get huge pleasure from both aspects of life. We need to ensure that vets that wish to pursue further training still feel it is possible to have a family life as well.

Focus on brachycephalic conformation

My work on brachycephalic conformation has been both very rewarding and frustrating. The health issues are better described, understood, and accepted - but the appetite for dogs with exaggerated conformation is still high. Working with the public, breeders, veterinary surgeons, and charities together is the only way to move these breeds forward.

The Brachycephalic Working Group has proved to be one way to bring invested parties together and the Respiratory Function Grading Scheme promotes engagement with breeders, dog owners, and vets - in this country and internationally. Through this work, I have met many inspiring and focused individuals and witnessed the talent that the veterinary world enjoys. I shall be nominating some of these people for the BVA awards as the recognition has meant so much to me.

Looking to the future

I am now changing track and opening a (small) independent referral veterinary hospital, Granta Veterinary Specialists, with some lovely colleagues. I’m looking forward to practising the art of veterinary medicine again and continuing to enjoy one of the best and most varied careers available.

The 2024 BVA Outstanding Service Award is now open for nominations.

If you know a BVA member who you believe should be recognised for their outstanding contributions to veterinary science, or for outstanding services to the veterinary profession, why not nominate?

Fill out our nomination form and submit by midnight, 3 June 2024.


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