September 01, 2013


 A first-rate convention in the Second City

AVMA convention celebrates 150th anniversary

Posted Aug. 21, 2013 

 (Courtesy of the city of Chicago​)

Thousands of veterinary professionals enjoyed top-notch continuing education programming and entertainment as part of the historic 150th AVMA Annual Convention held July 19-23 in Chicago.

In honor of the AVMA’s sesquicentennial anniversary, festivities and educational sessions were held throughout the convention.

“It isn’t often that a professional society gets to be 150,” said Dr. Ron Banks, chair of the AVMA Convention Management and Program Committee. “This year’s convention looked at the origins of organized veterinary medicine in the United States, considered the amazing technology and medicine of the present, and imagined the wonders of the days yet to come.”

The total number of convention registrants was 9,089, of whom 4,097 were veterinarians, according to Kelly Fox, AVMA Convention and Meeting Planning Division director.

The 4 1/2-day meeting commenced with the opening session emceed by famed Chicago news anchor Bill Kurtis. Hill’s Pet Nutrition sponsored the event, which featured a theatrical presentation on the history of the AVMA and its evolution, milestones, and continuing mission, shared via a live-action stage tribute (see article).

Afterward, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation hosted an event at the Shedd Aquarium highlighting its activities and Chicago’s diverse culinary offerings.

More than 1,000 hours of CE covering a broad range of animal species were offered over the course of the Chicago convention. Supplemental training sessions allowing private practice veterinarians to earn accreditation through the Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Accreditation Program were also available.

The International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations developed educational sessions in collaboration with the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterin­arians. The IAHAIO for the first time hosted its international conference in the United States and in conjunction with the AVMA Annual Convention.  

Veterinary products of more than 300 companies were on display in the exhibit hall at McCormick Place, along with a traveling exhibition developed by the AVMA and Zoetis in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution. “Animal Connections: Our Journey Together” explores the complex bonds between humans and animals (see article). With more than 1,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, videos, and displays, the exhibition has made stops at parks around Chicago and will travel throughout the U.S.

Volunteers helped a local Chicago animal shelter by assembling adoption bags as part of the AVMF Our Oath in Action Volunteer project. Cheap Trick headlined the AVMA Concert, sponsored by Merial, and Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo was the site of the convention’s Family Night.

“As promised, the Second City convention was second to none,” Dr. Banks said. “Attendees from around the world and spanning over two dozen veterinary and animal care specialties assembled, networked, and shared their knowledge, their experiences, and their dreams for the future of animal care and animal engagement.

“While there are several professional meetings each year, there has never been a veterinary meeting for an association that’s made it to 150 years. We look forward to building on this foundation for the 2015 Convention in Denver, July 25-29.”