Pioneering Work on Heart Disease Earns Swedish Veterinarian the 2017 WSAVA Global Scientific Achievement Award

(18.06.2017) Professor Jens Häggström, Professor of Small Animal Medicine at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, is to receive the 2017 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Award for Scientific Achievement in recognition of his research to understand and treat heart disease in dogs and cats.

The Award, given annually to an individual judged to have made a significant contribution to the field of small animal medicine, will be presented during this year’s WSAVA World Congress, which takes place from 25-28 September in Copenhagen, Denmark. 


Jens Häggström
Professor Häggström’s studies have led to significant advances in the treatment of many types of heart disease.  His research into myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in dogs confirmed its status as an inherited condition and led to the development of breeding program aimed at reducing the prevalence of the disease in affected breeds, including Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. 

He also played a key role in an EU-funded project, LUPA, aimed at unravelling the genetic background to disease in dogs.

One of his most important achievements is in the area of clinical trials. Ten years ago, his clinical study into angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors in pre-clinical MMVD in Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniels led to a significant change in clinical practice. 

He has since led trials examining a variety of drugs to treat canine heart disease.  These have increased the profession’s understanding of the condition and have enhanced standards of veterinary practice around the world.

Professor Häggström is also a co-founder of a breed screening program for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in cats. 

Called the PawPeds Screening Program, it is the largest database of pedigree and feline health information in the world with data from approximately 30,000 unique cats and results from 60,000 heart screens.

It has been successful in reducing the prevalence of HCM in affected breeds by excluding affected cats from breeding.

During WSAVA World Congress, Professor Häggström will give one of a series of lectures presented by 2017 WSAVA Award winners.  His lecture is entitled: ‘Does it really matter?’

Commenting on the Award, Professor Gad Baneth, Chair of the WSAVA’s Scientific Advisory Committee, commented: “Professor Häggström has made outstanding contributions to the understanding and treatment of veterinary heart diseases and influenced both the science and practice of veterinary cardiology worldwide.”

Professor Häggström said: “I am most grateful for this recognition of the work that I have carried out with my colleagues for more than 20 years to help to improve the health of dogs and cats. I am deeply honoured to receive this WSAVA award and I dedicate it to my colleagues and family.”

The WSAVA aims to advance the health and welfare of companion animals worldwide through creating an educated, committed and collaborative global community of veterinary peers. 

It currently represents more than 200,000 veterinarians through 101 member associations.  Its annual World Congress brings together globally respected experts to offer cutting edge thinking on all aspects of companion animal veterinary care. 



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