Brough, who joined the company’s veterinary team in February 2022, faced stiff competition from a total of 105 nominations across the UK, in all fields of the profession.
The BVA (British Veterinary Association) said the judges for the annual awards ‘had their work cut out coming to a decision’, but settled on an all-female final consisting of Kirsty French who works in small animal practice; Hannah Hunt who handles farm, equine and small animal work; and Alison Brough.
The young fish vet, who graduated from the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science in 2017, spent the first few years of her career travelling around the Scottish Borders tending to farm animals.
Looking for a change, she answered a Scottish Sea Farms job advert and soon found herself swapping her green wellies and flexothanes for yellow wellies and an orange lifejacket.
In her new role, Brough threw herself into learning about the species and sector, before focusing on delivering veterinary support to the company’s farms on Scotland’s west coast.
‘The more I travelled, the more I came to believe that one of the best ways I could make a positive difference would be to help those working most directly with the fish,’ she said.
Ronnie Soutar, Head of Veterinary Services at Scottish Sea Farms and former Scottish SPCA Chair, who nominated Brough for the award, said: ‘Alison very quickly showed an impressive ability to translate not only her new fish knowledge but also her solid grasp of veterinary basic principles into practical advice to farm staff.
‘On her own initiative, Alison has taken over responsibility for fine-tuning and delivering fish health training at farm level, personally delivering training modules on a regular basis.
‘She recognises that the most important thing she can do for salmon health and welfare is to ensure that those with direct responsibility for the fish have the highest possible level of knowledge.
‘She is an excellent example of a young vet making a very positive impact, mainly through her recognition that the relationship with people is the path to helping animals.’
The BVA Young Vet of the Year award, sponsored by Zoetis, aims to celebrate an exceptional young vet who leads, inspires, and goes above and beyond what is expected of them early on in their career.
Open to all young vets in the first eight years after graduation, and who are on the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) register, the winner must show their work has made a difference. Making it on to the shortlist of three is a ‘huge achievement’, said the organisers.
Brough said she had seen first-hand the passion of those working in the Scottish farmed salmon sector and their commitment to overcoming fish health challenges.
‘To be shortlisted as finalist for the BVA Young Vet of the Year, and help represent that passion and commitment, is an absolute honour, one that I hope will also help raise awareness of aquaculture as a career path for fellow and budding veterinarians,’ she said.
The winner of the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award 2022 will be announced at a gala dinner at the London Marriott Hotel in Canary Wharf on Thursday, November 17.