Fri, 12/17/2021 - 2:12pm

AKC Veterinary Outreach

What is it, and what it has accomplished

The American Kennel Club’s Veterinary Outreach Program has evolved, currently being a component of the Sport Services Department. A strong relationship between the AKC and the veterinary community is essential to further understanding among veterinary groups and purebred dog fanciers. 

AKC's Veterinary Outreach program is our way to share information and ideas with veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary students. The goal is to provide resources that can assist the veterinary profession in providing the best of care for dogs, whether through background information for practitioners and their clients or support for research. AKC's long history and experience establish it as the source of credible knowledge about purebred dogs.

The staff member serves as a liaison with AKC CHF, sharing information about the current programs and being a liaison for AKC with the AKC/AKC CHF/ Theriogenology Foundation Residency Program.

Responsibilities of the program include:

• Coordinating “Meet the AKC” presentations with student organizations at veterinary schools each year. COVID provided a unique opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons: Staff was successful in coordinating 28 presentations in 2020 and 2021. All the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 presentations were virtual. Four schools allowed guests on campus in the Fall of 2021. Local breeders and veterinarians provided the presentations as AKC ambassadors. Staff is grateful to Dr. Mary McDaniels, Dr. Nicole Sugai, Dr. Renee Lara and Eddie Dziuk, who gave presentations at veterinary schools local to them.

AKC provides Breed ID Guides for all students attending. Staff provides a PowerPoint presentation with notes, personalized for each school, highlighting the research that is supported by AKC CHF at that school. The presentation provides information about upcoming AKC events in the immediate area. 

• Supporting local dog clubs in coordinating tours of their shows with students. Ladies Dog Club, spearheaded by the ever-enthusiastic Anne Bowes, has been providing tours of the dog show for Tufts students for the past several years. Other clubs that have hosted students at their dog shows include the Thanksgiving Cluster in Springfield, Mass., Kennel Club of Philadelphia, Elmira Kennel Club, Central Florida and Space Coast Kennel Club, Central Ohio Kennel Club, Beverly Hills Kennel Club, the Lake Lanier Cluster and the Tar Heel Cluster. If your club is in the proximity of a veterinary school and would like to host a tour for the students, please contact, and staff will be happy to assist.

• Staffing the AKC booth at three to four veterinary conventions annually. These include the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Theriogenology and New York Vet. Staff was able to attend the Theriogenology and NY Vet conferences in 2021. AKC has sponsored a 5K at the SAVMA Convention, promoting Fit Dog, and will be sponsoring a gopher competition at the upcoming conference in Minneapolis in March. At the Theriogenology Conference a social time to gather with vet students attending and current AKC/ AKC CHF residents and mentors has been provided by AKC, creating a networking opportunity. 

• AKC CHF National Parent Club Health Conference, held every other year in St. Louis. AKC provides $25,000 to offset expenses of veterinary students attending the conference – usually numbering 22 to 30 – as well as the current Theriogenology residents. OFA covers travel expenses; AKC covers other expenses. A staff member attends and meets with the vet students attending and the Theriogenology residents.

• Liaising with Theriogenology residents. This involves greeting and including them if “Meet the AKC” is offered at the school where they are residents. The AKC, AKC /CHF, TF Theriogenology resident grants have proven to be successful in providing a positive outlook toward breeders and purebred dogs. The caseloads at each of the schools have increased as a result of having the additional staffing, 

The Theriogenology Residency program began in 2014 with AKC funding a Theriogenology resident at Auburn, UC Davis and University of Pennsylvania. In 2016, AKC/CHF contributed to the funding and provides the oversight of the grants. Schools submit a proposal that is reviewed through the AKC /CHF Grant process. Dr. Andrea Hesser, the resident at UC Davis, has recently been approved as the delegate for the Mid-Continent Kennel Club.

The approvals for grants are as follows:


North Carolina State Veterinary School – Resident, Dr. Karen Von Dollen

Ohio State Veterinary School – Dr. Tessa Fiamengo

Auburn University – Dr. Carla Barstow


North Carolina State – Dr. Katie Withowski

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine – Dr. Alyssa Helms



Auburn University – Dr. Jamie Douglas



Ohio State – Dr. Joanna Kolipella



Colorado State – Dr. Alexandria Horner

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine – Dr. Nicole Sugai

University of Florida Veterinary School – Dr. Anum Ahmed


Schools approved to receive applicants in 2022 include Auburn University, Ohio State and University of Pennsylvania. 

The program has been successful in providing awareness of AKC breeders and purebred dogs in the veterinary community. The support and assistance of the local clubs and breeder veterinarians have been integral to the success of the program.

• Coordinating the awarding of AKC Veterinary Scholarships, which in 2021 totaled $35,000. The criteria for eligibility to apply include participation in AKC events or research related to purebred dogs. This year’s recipients were: 

Kincade Audette (Washington State University),

Adrienne Barber (Tufts University) Spinone Italiano Health Chair

Diana Chan (Tufts University) Pointer Club of America member and Junior Judge

Kaitlyn Dreese (University of Pennsylvania) Prior Member of International JS Team

Emily Eppler (Kansas State University)

Chelsea Iennarell-Servantez (Iowa State University)

Samuel Johnson (Virginia-Maryland Regional College) Louisville Kennel Club member

Brandy Lawrence (Oklahoma State University) Alaskan Klee Klei Club member

Stephen Oliphant (Virginia-Maryland Regional College)

Brittany Papa (Cornell University)

Dora Praczko (Texas A&M University)

Tressa Reiner (Iowa State-University of Nebraska)

Jordan Tarbutton (Colorado State University)

Courtney Wicker (North Carolina State University) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel fancier

Melonie Zuercher (University of Florida)


The AKC Board has approved awarding $65,000 in veterinary scholarships in 2022. 


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