AVMA names Fowler as Animal Welfare Award winner

Published on November 15, 2002
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AVMA Animal Welfare Award
Dr. Murray Fowler (left) receives the AVMA Animal Welfare Award from Dr. Roger K. Mahr, AVMA Executive Board member.

Dr. Murray Fowler was named as the recipient of the 2002 AVMA Animal Welfare Award for his lifelong devotion to zoo and exotic animals. The retired California veterinarian received the award Oct. 11 during the AVMA Animal Welfare Forum in Milwaukee.

After receiving his DVM degree from Iowa State University in 1955, Dr. Fowler spent three years in private practice in the San Fernando Valley in California. He was later appointed as instructor of large animal surgery at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis.

Dr. Fowler initially taught courses in therapeutics, large animal surgery and clinical toxicology. In his spare time, he audited classes on biology and wildlife management offered by the university.

In 1967, Dr. Fowler assumed responsibility for the university's zoological medicine program, the only one available for the next decade.

As chief of the zoological medical service, Dr. Fowler formed strong relationships with local zoos, which allowed his students to gain hands-on experience beyond the teaching hospital. "The students were enthusiastic and jumped on the idea of zoological medicine," he said. "There was little literature available, and they fervently awaited information."

Dr. Fowler has authored, co-authored, or edited 18 books, including "Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine," now in its fifth edition, and a major book on restraint and handling of animals. He also conducted a pace-setting veterinary workshop on llama and alpaca medicine in North America and has authored 93 articles on llamas, alpacas, and camelids, along with the textbook "Medicine and Surgery of South American Camelids."

In 1978, Dr. Fowler became editor of the Journal of Zoo Animal Medicine and continued in that capacity until 1987.

Dr. Fowler helped develop techniques to test for and determine the spread of tuberculosis in hooved animals. At Davis, he supervised a raptor rehabilitation center that releases about 500 raptors yearly and maintain 100 or more birds for education and research.

Dr. Fowler is certified by the American Board of Veterinary Toxicologists, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and the American College of Zoological Medicine, which he helped organize and serves as a charter diplomate.

In 1991, Dr. Fowler retired from the University of California. In addition to editing, writing, lecturing, he continues his work in zoo animal medicine through consulting, most notably for Ringling Brothers Circus.