Dr. Gary Conboy selected as the 2021 recipient of the Atlantic Award of Excellence in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Care
The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Gary Conboy, professor emeritus, has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Atlantic Award of Excellence in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Care. The award was presented by Dr. John VanLeeuwen, interim dean, AVC, University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), on Sunday, April 24, during the Atlantic Provinces Veterinary Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For the past 30 years, Dr. Conboy has been the cornerstone of the diagnostic parasitology service at the AVC’s Diagnostic Services. He is a recognized expert in the field of veterinary parasitology, consulting with veterinarians and researchers all over the world on parasite identification.
“Dr. Conboy’s expertise in morphologic identification of parasites has been one of the key foundational components of the AVC diagnostic parasitology services, and has been the foundation of his research program,” explains Dr. Melanie Buote, assistant professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology, AVC, UPEI, and lead nominator.
In the early 1990s, Conboy discovered his unique niche in parasitology while living on Prince Edward Island. His main research focus has been nematode lungworm parasites (metastrongyloids) of wild and domestic canids, a field where his expertise is unparalleled. In this unique maritime climate, he recognized the perfect mix of definitive hosts—canids including foxes and dogs—and gastropod intermediate hosts—slugs and snails—and how the climate allowed for transmission of this important parasite group.
“From his research, we know that approximately 25 per cent of coughing dogs in Atlantic Canada are infected with fox lungworm,” says Buote. “His research has refined and revealed unique aspects of the parasite’s life cycle and transmission. Additionally, his focus on treatment modalities has led to better clinical resolution and quality of life for canine patients.”
Conboy was also part of a research team that discovered the spread of French heartworm—a devastating disease infecting dogs—in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
A widely published researcher, Conboy has authored over 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications and presented at numerous conferences. He also was coauthor of Veterinary Clinical Parasitology (7th, 8th, and 9th editions), which is an essential diagnostic guide for veterinary education, as well as a reference text for veterinary diagnostic laboratories and clinics around the world. In addition to this, he has been a mentor and supervisor for graduate students and served on graduate program committees and various boards.
“Dr. Conboy is an esteemed colleague, mentor, and friend of the Atlantic Veterinary College, and veterinarians all over the world,” says VanLeeuwen. “He is an internationally renowned expert in his field, and even in retirement, he continues to be an asset to the local, national, and the international veterinary community. He is more than deserving of this prestigious award.”
The Atlantic Award of Excellence in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Care was established in 2005 and recognizes practicing or retired veterinarians from Atlantic Canada. Recipients must have demonstrated exceptional service and contribution to the veterinary profession; exemplified the highest values of compassion, leadership, and dedication to the profession; and helped to promote veterinary medicine in the community and to advance the profession. Each year, one person is recognized at an event during the Atlantic Provinces Veterinary Conference, and their portrait is hung on the wall at the Atlantic Veterinary College in perpetuity.