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Veterinarian Technician January 2009 (Vol 30, No 1)

Buffington honored with Hill's award

    TOPEKA, Kan.Because of his outstanding contributions to feline health, C. A. Tony Buffington, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVN, professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University (OSU), has been awarded the 2009 Mark L. Morris, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award.

    The award is presented each year by Hill's Pet Nutrition at the opening ceremony of the NAVC Conference in Orlando to a veterinarian who has made significant contributions to the welfare of companion animals through a lifetime of professional work. Buffington will receive the award for his work in helping to understand the causes of urinary tract disease in cats and in identifying the role played by the environment in the health of indoor cats.

    "As a researcher, Dr. Buffington's work on feline urinary tract disease and the impact of environmental factors on feline health and well-being has positively enriched the lives of thousands of cats around the globe. His translational research has even affected human health, as he identified similarities between feline urologic syndrome (FUS) and interstitial cystitis (IC) in women," said Mary Beth Leininger, DVM, Hill's director of professional affairs and a past AVMA president.

    For more than 25 years, Buffington has committed his career to advancing the level of knowledge on pet health and nutrition, while simultaneously striving to educate future veterinarians on the connection between the two. He has been responsible for hundreds of editor- and peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, book chapters and video autotutorial presentations. Most recently, he published the Manual of Veterinary Dietetics, a major resource for veterinary students and technicians worldwide.

    Buffington identified the role of acid-base balance in foods and its relationship to the formation of feline urinary stones — work that resulted in the broad reformulation of commercial pet diets. As an internationally recognized expert on the pathogenesis of feline cystitis, Buffington was the first to identify the commonalities between FUS and IC in women. His collaborative work with physicians has resulted in the identification of more effective approaches to therapy for both FUS and IC.

    Buffington began an investigation into the role of indoor environments on disease risk in cats, which led him to develop the Indoor Cat Initiative (http://vet.osu.edu/indoorcat.htm). The initiative's goal is to educate pet owners and veterinary clinicians that enrichment of an indoor cat's immediate surroundings plays as important a role to the health and well-being of cats as do proper diet and health care.

    During the past 7 years, Buffington has received more than $2.4 million in grants to fund his ongoing research. He also has received numerous awards, including the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Bourgelat Award and the Hill's Award for Excellence in Veterinary Healthcare and Promotion of the Human"Animal Bond.

    Interim OSU Dean John Hubbell, DVM, MS, DACVA, said, "Dr. Buffington is a man who truly encompasses the spirit of Dr. Mark L. Morris, Sr., who was also a clinical veterinarian and nutritionist. Both men committed their professional lives to demonstrating that nutrition would significantly impact the health and even manage disease in animals."

    In recognition of Buffington's lifetime of service, Hill's Pet Nutrition will donate $20,000 to Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) in his name. MAF, 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.


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