Bushby honored for animal welfare dedication


Dr. Phil Bushby (center) celebrates his Animal Welfare award from the American Veterinary Medical Association with Marcia P. Lane (left) and his wife Retha. Bushby holds the Marcia P. Lane Endowed Chair in Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

A professor with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine received national recognition from the American Veterinary Medical Association for his dedication to animal welfare.

Dr. Phil Bushby received the 2012 American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award at the national convention in San Diego. He has taught at MSU since 1978 and holds the Marcia P. Lane Endowed Chair in Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare.

Bushby manages the mobile veterinary unit, which travels to animal shelters in North Mississippi that do not have surgical facilities. Students work under faculty direction to spay and neuter shelter animals. Spayed and neutered animals are then adopted by community members. This work gives students surgical experience and teaches them about how they can help solve the problem of pet overpopulation.

Bushby received his doctor of veterinary medicine in 1972 from the University of Illinois. After graduation, he served as an intern and surgical resident in the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s Henry Bergh Hospital, which increased his concern for animals.

In 1994, Bushby created one solution to the problem of unwanted pets by teaching students how to perform spay and neuter procedures at local animal shelters. His work there attracted the attention of Marcia P. Lane, and she created an endowed chair position to bring a stronger focus to ethical issues in animal care.

“Dr. Bushby’s career is marked by a profound dedication to the care and welfare of animals,” said MSU-CVM Dean Dr. Kent Hoblet. “His contribution to the health of animals in our region and the veterinary profession is overwhelming.”

Bushby credited his success to the special people in his life.

“I could not have received this award without the support of my wonderful wife, Retha, who never knows what time I will get home, and supporters such as Marcia Lane, who has made generous contributions to our shelter program,” he said. “I work with a wonderful team, including Dr. Kimberly Woodruff, a clinical instructor, a shelter resident, and an absolutely great technician.”

Students have benefitted from Bushby’s dedication to shelter medicine and recently recognized him in a unique way.

“We had the American flag flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. in his honor,” said fourth-year student Chris Magee. “We wanted to represent the far-reaching effects of his efforts. The dedication Dr. Bushby continually displays has provided me with an excellent example of how I should conduct myself as a veterinarian. He has taught me much more than good surgical skills -- he has taught me how to truly make a difference.”

Bushby maintains that the real recipients of this award are the ones who work long days in animal shelters.

“It is the people who spend their days caring for the 6 to 8 million homeless dogs and cats each year who have the tough jobs,” he said. “They are the true heroes in this effort. I accepted this award, but I did so in their honor.”

Karen Templeton | College of Veterinary Medicine

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