North American Veterinary Conference popular

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Despite events of the past year, the 19th annual North American Veterinary Conference attracted more than 14,000 people from 50 countries to Orlando, Fla., in January. The crowd gave a needed boost to tourism in the area and offered a full plate of activities to participants. Included in this total were 5,060 veterinarians and 1,403 veterinary technicians, 398 practice managers, and 625 students.

2002-2003 NAVC boardThe 2002–2003 NAVC board: (back row)—Dr. Don Harris, director; Dr. Ralph Barrett, president-elect; Dr. Richard DeBowes, president; Neill Overman, exhibits coordinator; and Dr. David Senior, conference coordinator; and (front row)—Dr. Earl Rippie Jr., secretary-treasurer; Dr. Betsy Sigmon, 2000-2001 president; Dr. Philippe Moreau, director; Dr. Linda Jacobson, director; Dr. Colin Burrows, program coordinator; and Dr. Charlotte Little, immediate past president

On hand were three members of the New York Police Department K-9 unit who had worked at ground zero, to receive a $5,000 check from John Payne, senior vice president, Animal Health, Bayer Corp. Earlier that day, three representatives from the NYPD K-9 unit came to receive the first Pro-Heart Hero Award from Fort Dodge Animal Health.

Lieutenant Dan Donadio, K-9 unit supervisor, and Bob Schnelle and Dave Sanabria came with their German Shepherd Dogs, Atlas and Storm. Atlas was still recovering victims from the debris in New York in January.

"It seemed obvious that the New York Police Department K-9 unit would be the first recipient," said Denise Charpentier, a communications representative from Fort Dodge.

Lt. Donadio said the group was appreciative of veterinarians' assistance in the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy. "There was no shortage of volunteers," he said. "... I had at least six of them per day helping out."

More than 700 hours of continuing education in small animal, equine, exotic, and food animal medicine were available to participants during this year's conference, as well as 41 hands-on laboratories and programs for veterinary technicians, office managers, and others who work hand-in-glove with veterinarians. The International Bovine Lameness Symposium was held for the first time in the United States, in conjunction with the conference.

The program offerings included a presentation by Dr. Richard Ford, a small animal clinician with North Carolina State University and officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, on the threat of bioterrorism, a topic never before addressed at the conference.

Dr. Roger Blowey from the United Kingdom and Dr. Paul Gibbs from the University of Florida gave a joint presentation on foot-and-mouth disease and the lessons to be learned from the massive outbreak in the United Kingdom last year.

Checking out the exhibits was Dr. Yonatan Peres, one of a growing number of international registrants with name badges from Israel, Cuba, Tunisia, and elsewhere.

He would be just another knowledge-hungry professional were it not for the fact that his father is former Israeli Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres.

"Yoni" Peres, as he is known to his friends, is director of development for the Israeli Guide Dog Center for the Blind. It's an organization he clearly is committed to.

Dr. Leland Carmichael   Dr. Leland Carmichael

"Israel has 20,000 people who are blind," he said. "Only about 200 of them have dogs."

A member of the 1989 charter class of Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Peres completed an internship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia.

During opening ceremonies, NAVC president, Dr. Charlotte Little, presented diplomas to some of the first "class" of graduates from a newly launched program known as the North American Veterinary Post Graduate Institute. The program, offered for the first time this year, consisted of four weeklong, intensive courses in ophthalmology, gastroenterology, dermatology, and orthopedics. The small group format allowed for interaction among participants and was an opportunity to sharpen skill sets.

Dr. Richard DeBowes, Pullman, Wash., was installed as president. Other officers are Dr. Charlotte Little, Port Washington, Wis., immediate past president; Dr. Ralph Barrett, Sacramento, Calif., president-elect; and Dr. Earl Rippie, Pennsauken, N.J., secretary-treasurer. Dr. David Senior, Baton Rouge, La., is conference coordinator, and Dr. Colin Burrows, Gainesville, Fla., program coordinator.

Receiving the 2002 Mark L. Morris Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award was Dr. Leland "Skip" Carmichael, the John M. Olin Professor of Virology Emeritus, from Cornell University. Dr. Carmichael, an international authority on infectious diseases of dogs, was honored for his contributions to the profession, specifically diseases in dogs. His efforts are largely responsible for the development of diagnostic tests for safe, effective vaccines against the major infectious diseases of dogs: distemper, hepatitis, and canine parvovirus-2.