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Winners of America's Best Vet Contest To Be Honored at Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas February 19;

One national and four regional winners recognized; more than 1,000

veterinarians nominated

DENVER and DULUTH, Ga., Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Winners of the first-ever "Thank Your Vet for a Healthy Pet" contest will be honored at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, 2008. The award ceremony will take place at the Four Seasons at 11:30 a.m. The nationwide essay contest honors veterinarians for the outstanding work that they do on behalf of pets and their owners. More than 1,000 pet owners submitted essays. The contest was sponsored by Morris Animal Foundation, Merial Limited and BowTie, Inc., publishers of Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy and Veterinary Practice News. Guest speaker Dr. Marty Becker, renowned human-animal bond expert and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, will discuss the important role veterinarians play in strengthening and maintaining the bond people have with their pets.


"Merial is committed to the pursuit of excellence in veterinary medicine," said Robert Menardi, DVM, technical spokesperson at Merial. "We are fortunate to partner with an organization such as Morris Animal Foundation to acknowledge veterinary leaders that honor their profession."

University of Missouri veterinarian James L. Cook, DVM, Ph.D. will be recognized as the grand-prize national winner. Cook, who is the director of the Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory at the University of Missouri, was also the Midwest regional winner. Four regional winners will be honored: James Thomas, VMD, of Eagle Veterinary Clinic, Havertown, Pa., for the Northeast; Bob Encinosa, DVM, of Boyette Animal Hospital, Riverview, Fla., for the Southeast; Tim R. Stone, DVM, Rittiman Road Animal Hospital, San Antonio, for the Southwest; and Thomas R. Nickerson, DVM, of Trinity Animal Hospital, Weaverville, Calif., for the West. A full list of nominees is available at

Veterinarians are consistently ranked as one of the most trusted professions, but they rarely receive recognition. This contest allowed pet owners to show their appreciation for these deserving individuals. Nominees were judged based on outstanding care and treatment to clients, commitment to the human/animal bond, community service and devotion to the veterinary profession.

"These five veterinarians, and all of those who were nominated, exemplify how committed our profession is to strengthening the human-animal bond and making the lives of animals healthier and longer," said Patricia N. Olson, DVM, Ph.D., president/CEO of Morris Animal Foundation. "We are delighted to sponsor this contest and honor these veterinarians for their work."

Media interested in attending the event should contact Heidi Jeter, Morris Animal Foundation, at (303) 790-2345 or e-mail

About Morris Animal Foundation:

Morris Animal Foundation, established in 1948, is dedicated to funding research that protects, treats and cures companion animals and wildlife. MAF has been at the forefront of funding breakthrough research studies benefiting animals in some 100 countries, spanning all seven continents on earth. MAF has its headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The Foundation has funded nearly 1,400 humane animal health studies with funds totaling more than $51 million. One hundred percent of annual donations go to fund health study programs. For more information, call (800) 243-2345, or visit

About Merial:

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2006 sales were nearly $2.2 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc., and sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see

About BowTie, Inc.:

BowTie, Inc. is the leader in special interest pet magazines, trade magazines, books and websites dedicated to pet-loving consumers, pet-supply retailers, veterinarians, breeders, and pet professionals worldwide. Divisions of BowTie, Inc. include BowTie Magazines, BowTie Press, BowTie News, Thoroughbred Times Company, Global Distribution Services, and

Media Contacts: Heidi Jeter

Morris Animal Foundation

(303) 790-2345

Kelle Straw

Merial Limited

(678) 638-3690

SOURCE Morris Animal Foundation
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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