Dr. Lowell Novy, who was presented with the Cortese-Lippincott Award at the SCVMA Annual Celebration on January 20, is a man who does what he thinks is right – sometimes despite the consequences.
Dr. Novy was nominated for his award by Dr. Leland Shapiro, a former professor who started a successful pre-veterinary curriculum at Pierce College. The two met in 1984 when Dr. Shapiro moved to the Simi Valley. When he asked, Dr. Novy agreed to help his students. “Send ‘em by,” he said. “I’ll help.”
Dr. Novy also allowed the college professor, to work in his practice so he could learn more about small animal medicine. One day, Dr. Shapiro recalled, “I was mentoring with him and he was doing surgery on an older patient. I think it was a dog but it was a long time ago. The animal died on the table. Those things happen. His eyes welled up. I asked him: ‘You’ve been doing this a long time. Don’t you ever get used to it?’ He turned to me and he said – very strongly – ‘If you ever get used to this, you’re in the wrong profession.’”
The professor also recalled that Dr. Novy often would say when a patient came in: ‘”Let’s run this test.” Dr. Shapiro asked: “Don’t you want to run the full panel?” The answer: “No. I think I can make this diagnosis with one test. If not, I’ll do more.” Said Dr. Shapiro: “Won’t that cost you more money?” The answer: “Yes, but I don’t have the right to charge the client more if it’s not necessary.”
Dr. Novy splits his time between his Simi practice and his ranches in Northern California where he raises Angus cattle without chemical means to spur growth. “He practices what we call behavioral enrichment,” Dr. Shapiro said. “That means providing his animals with a meaningful natural environment – big grassy areas, protecting them from predators and harsh weather. He treats them with respect and makes sure they are slaughtered painlessly. He practices what he preaches.”
Dr. Alice Villalobos is co-nominator of Dr. Novy. She knew and worked with him for years. “He referred cases to my Animal Oncology Service in Woodland Hills,” she said, “and he would call me to discuss cancer patients. We had some amazing successes together.”
The Animal Health Foundation's Cortese – Lippincott Award was created to recognize and honor an individual who has gone above and beyond in making the world a better place for both animals and humans. The winner of this award has gone above and beyond in community service, service and education of the veterinary community and the human-animal bond.
The award was named in honor of veterinarians Larry Lippincott and Joe Cortese.