Dr. Stephen J. Withrow, a Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences who has received many honors during his veterinary career, has now been selected for one of the most prestigious awards in the field of veterinary medicine – the 2007 Mark L. Morris, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
The distinguished award is presented annually to a veterinarian who has made a lifetime commitment to improving the health and well-being of companion animals. Recognized as a pioneer in his dedication to cancer research and treatment, Dr. Withrow, DVM, DACVS, DACVIM, is an internationally-acclaimed scientist and award-winning professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.
"Dr. Withrow's dedication to winning the battle against cancer in companion animals is an extraordinary example of the veterinary profession's commitment to making a difference for the pets of our world and the families who love them," said Mary Beth Leininger, DVM, director of Professional Affairs for Hill's and a former AVMA President. "His contributions to veterinary medicine and academic excellence are remarkable, reflecting the legacy left to the profession by Dr. Mark L. Morris, Sr."
Dr. Withrow established the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University and the center is now the largest of its kind in the world. The center has trained more veterinary oncologists than any other veterinary institution and is the only veterinary cancer group to have more than 25 consecutive years of funding from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Withrow has been a 10-year project leader for the National Cancer Institute.
As an internationally renowned expert in cancer research and treatment, Dr. Withrow's written work has been showcased in numerous textbooks and articles in peer-reviewed publications and he is credited with changing the way veterinarians treat cancer.
"With compassion, vision and unmatched dedication, he has made a tremendous impact not only on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in companion animals, but he has also reached into human medical care," said Dr. Lance Perryman, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State.
Withrow joined the faculty of Colorado State in 1978 and since 2001 has served as director of the Colorado State Animal Cancer Center, holding the Stuart Chair in Oncology. Since it was established 25 years ago, the Animal Cancer Center has grown to be the largest companion animal cancer research center in the United States, training more veterinary oncologists than any other veterinary teaching hospital in the world. Going beyond the veterinary profession, the Animal Cancer Center has an international reputation for its collaboration with human cancer institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, the National Cancer Institute and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
In addition to academic activities at Colorado State, Dr. Withrow has volunteered for more than 23 years as a counselor and fund-raiser for the Sky High Hope Camp for children with cancer, earning him the Ronald McDonald House Volunteer of the Year award in 2003. In 2004, he was named a University Distinguished Professor. Among many contributions to cancer research and treatment, Dr. Withrow developed a limb-sparing technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of long bones in dogs. This technique revolutionized treatment of this disease in dogs and has been widely adopted at human cancer centers, significantly increasing the likelihood that children diagnosed with osteosarcoma will be cured, demonstrating how canine cancer research has had a far-reaching influence on human cancer care.
"The discipline of veterinary oncology as we understand it today was invented by Dr. Withrow. He may very well be the pre-eminent veterinary clinical scientist of his generation," Dr. Perryman said.
In recognition of his lifetime of service, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. will donate $20,000 to the Morris Animal Foundation in Dr. Withrow's name. The Morris Animal Foundation, founded in 1948, is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of companion animals and wildlife by funding humane health studies and disseminating information about these studies.