Remembering John Holt

Dr John Holt graduationThe profession is mourning the loss of John Holt, an Australian veterinarian credited by many as the man who put small animal practice on the map.

John graduated from Sydney University in 1954. After a brief stint as a cattle vet and a brief career in industry, John purchased St George Animal Hospital (SGAH) from Richard Boon in 1959 and developed it into a showpiece companion animal practice. He married Mary, a pharmacist, in 1960.

Colleague Graeme Allan said that John became a passionate advocate for small animal practice “at a time when you could go to the Australian Veterinary Association conference and the word dog or cat would not be mentioned.”

Allan recalls a Sydney practitioner’s branch meeting, attended mostly by meat inspectors and Government employees, when the conversation turned to treating squamous cell carcinoma in cats.

“This person [John] popped up and asked why weren’t people using colchicine because it’s an anti-mitotic agent,” Allan said. “I’d never heard of it and neither had anyone else. We thought it was pretty sophisticated.”

John’s practice became known for setting the standard.

The business expanded, incorporating six practices in Sydney and employing 11 veterinarians and 56 para-veterinary staff. The practice produced eight University professors. Continue reading Remembering John Holt

Veterinary radiologist receives highest academic honour

Graeme Allan and Hugo.Veterinary specialist radiologist Graeme Allan will be awarded a Doctor in Veterinary Science (DVSc) this year in recognition of his prolific contribution to the field of veterinary diagnostic imaging.

The DVSc is a rare honour, awarded to outstanding researchers whose body of work is deemed to have made a consistent and distinguished contribution to veterinary science. Candidates submit a collection of original publications for assessment by examiners who are considered pre-eminent in their respective research field.

The unusual thing in Allan’s case is that his clinical research was undertaken while running a busy private specialist practice. As such he is the first Australian veterinarian in private practice to receive the DVSc by examination.

His thesis, ‘Radiological Studies of Disease in Companion and Zoo Animals’, is a compilation of more than 45 years of collaborative studies looking into a range of conditions, including pioneering studies on contrast radiography, oesophageal dysfunction, radiotherapy for treatment of cancer in companion animals right through to new forms of rickets in rex kittens, osteochondrosis in the cheetah and osteocondritis in snow leopards. Continue reading Veterinary radiologist receives highest academic honour