Philip William Ladds

Vale Philip William Ladds 1939-2018

It is with sadness that I am writing to inform you of the death of Dr Philip W. Ladds AM, a long-standing and highly respected member of our community. Philip was surrounded over the past days by family and friends while in hospital on the Gold Coast. Many of you knew Philip personally, or know of him through his significant contribution to our understanding of wildlife diseases in Australia.

Dr Ladds was a specialist veterinary pathologist with an enduring commitment to, and extensive experience in, the pathology of Australian wildlife that culminated in 2009 with the publication of his remarkable and exhaustive review, Pathology of Australian Native Wildlife, which remains the most comprehensive and authoritative work on the subject. While Dr Ladds returned to the region of his childhood eight years ago – he grew up on a banana farm at West Burleigh, he had a long and diverse career in veterinary science across Australia, a career that spanned decades and, despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease for 18 years, was only finally halted in the last couple of years. His work was defined by excellence and generosity. He was a mentor to many in our field, his approachability and kindness helping to define the culture of our association.

Two important events in 1961 shaped his life: he graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Queensland and met his wife, Jennifer. Dr Ladds was involved in the eradication of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia in Queensland, on which he based his Master’s thesis, and completed his PhD thesis, Sequential Studies of Ovine Listeric Abortion, at Kansas State University, USA, in 1970. He worked in Townsville, Tasmania and Lismore over the years, driven by his passion for veterinary pathology, teaching and research. He was a clinician, a diagnostician, an educator and a researcher. While at James Cook University, as senior lecturer and then associate professor, he became the head of the Post Graduate School of Tropical Veterinary Science’s pathology department from 1993 to 1998 and pioneered research on the diseases of crocodiles and turtles. He was professor of veterinary pathology at Ross University in the West Indies from 1997 to 98. His contribution to the field of veterinary pathology included the publication of over 100 peer-reviewed articles and books, and he played an important role in maintaining the high standard of veterinary pathology in Australia through his involvement with the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Science. Dr Ladds was a life member of the Australian Veterinary Association and a long-standing member of the Australian Society of Veterinary Pathology and the Wildlife Disease Association Australasia. In addition to the many students he directly supervised over his career, he was a mentor to countless others and many early career professionals in whom he inspired the pursuit of excellence.

This year, Dr Ladds was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant service to veterinary science as a clinician, to education as an academic, researcher and author, and to professional associations. On behalf of the Wildlife Disease Association Australasia I pay tribute to the lifelong contribution of Dr Ladds to our association and to the field of wildlife pathology, and I extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Jennifer, and his family and friends.

Andrew Peters

Chair of the Wildlife Disease Association Australasia

Philip William Ladds - obit
(Adobe PDF File)