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International orthopaedic award for equine pioneer

April 7, 2014

International orthopaedic award for equine pioneer

World-renowned equine surgeon Dr Wayne McIlwraith is the first veterinarian to be recognised with a top honour from the United States Orthopaedic Research Society.

Professor McIlwraith, a Massey University graduate in 1970, is a Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and director of its Orthopaedic Research Centre.

He has received the society's Marshall R Urist, Medical Doctor Award in recognition of an illustrious career as a surgeon, researcher and educator.

Dr McIlwraith is known for pioneering arthroscopy – minimally invasive joint surgery – in horses and for research in translational medicine that provides insights for human health.

The society's awards committee said his research has had a "profound and lasting impact on our understanding of joint pathology and repair, the development and validation of animal models of joint diseases, surgical technologies, intra-articular therapies, cartilage resurfacing, gene therapy for osteoarthritis, and the use of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies". His research programme is “the epitome of strong translational research".

Dr McIlwarith’s estimates he has operated on about 14,000 horses since the early 1980s, including some of the world’s most prized horses. He was a consultant to the New Zealand equestrian team for four years, attending Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

Born in Oamaru, he graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science with distinction and is now an Adjunct Professor at Massey University. He promotes research partnerships with industry through the University’s Equine Partnership for Excellence.

Massey Professor of Equine Clinical Studies Chris Riley says Professor McIlwraith has had an unparalleled career in equine orthopaedic research. “The impact of his work and leadership in the profession, and the equine industry in general, will continue to influence the veterinary profession well into the foreseeable future,” Professor Riley says.

The award was presented at the society's annual meeting in New Orleans.


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