Gina Spadafori Earns AVMA Excellence in Media Award


(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) June 14, 2024—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today named author Gina Spadafori as the winner of the 2024 AVMA Steve Dale Excellence in Veterinary Media Award.

Established by the AVMA in 2022, the award honors the achievements of an individual who has contributed to the positive visibility of the veterinary profession by raising public awareness of the important and diverse roles veterinarians play in every facet of the health and welfare of animals, people, and the environment. The award is named for Steve Dale, a longtime author and broadcaster who was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2022.

“Gina Spadafori’s dedication to providing pet owners with accurate and insightful information has significantly advanced the public’s understanding of veterinary medicine and the critical roles veterinarians play in ensuring animal health and welfare,” said Dr. Rena Carlson, president of the AVMA. “Her work embodies the spirit of this award, and we are delighted to honor her contributions.”

“Gina’s body of work speaks for itself,” said Dale. “Ultimately, with work like Gina’s – where it’s all medically accurate and reliable – pet parents and therefore companion animals, including feathered friends, have benefited enormously.”

Spadafori is a highly respected author and journalist known for her extensive work in pet care and veterinary media. Her first book, Dogs For Dummies, was given the President’s Award for the best writing on dogs and the Maxwell Medallion for the best general reference work, both by the Dog Writers Association of America. Cats For Dummies, which she co-authored with veterinarians Dr. Paul Pion and Dr. Lauren Demos, was named one of the best moments for cats in the 20th century by Cat Fancy magazine. She also co-authored with veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker on “The Ultimate Dog Lover” and “The Ultimate Cat Lover” and a dozen other books, as well as with Dr. Brian Speer and Kim Campbell Thornton on “Birds For Dummies,” further cementing her reputation as a trusted voice in pet care.

In addition to her books, Spadafori’s writing has been featured in several publications, including the Sacramento Bee, where she worked as a journalist for 20 years. She also wrote a syndicated national newspaper pet-care column from 1992-2014, always with the aim of providing pet owners with practical, science-based advice. She has also been a frequent contributor to pet-related websites and publications and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs to discuss pet care issues.

Along with Christie Keith, Spadafori was a key figure in the establishment and success of the “Pet Connection” blog, an instrumental source in raising awareness about pet health issues. The blog gained national attention in 2007 for its key reporting on what turned out to be the largest pet food recall due to the presence of melamine, leading to her and her work being the focus of prominent features in USA Today and the Los Angeles Times and demonstrating the impact of her work on the industry and public health.

“I was absolutely delighted to hear the news that I am being honored by the AVMA,” said Spadafori. “I have always worked with top veterinarians to bring the latest, best information on caring for animals to those who love them. I am grateful as well for the California Veterinary Medical Association for nominating me.”

To learn more about the AVMA Steve Dale Excellence in Veterinary Media Award, visit