NAVC marks 25th annual meeting

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The North American Veterinary Conference celebrated its 25th anniversary Jan. 19-23 in Orlando, Fla., with veterinary professionals from around the world.

The 2008 conference offered registrants more than 1,400 hours of continuing education, taught by 420 speakers and instructors at three hotels. In addition to the veterinary technician and exotic program tracks, the Orlando World Center Marriott hosted 40 veterinary and 12 veterinary technician "master classes," and 20 Meet-the-Professor luncheons.

NAVC board of directors
Members of the 2008 NAVC board of directors: Front row—Dr. Mark Crootof; Dr. Aine McCarthy, director of education; Dr. Ronald Bright; Dr. Don Harris, president; Lynne Johnson; Dr. Gatz Riddell; and Dr. Earl Rippie, secretary/treasurer. Back row—Drs. Doug Mader; David Senior, conference coordinator; Jorge Guerrero, immediate past president; Colin Burrows, executive director; Laurel Kaddatz; and Earl Gaughan, president-elect.

The Caribe Royale All-Suites Resort housed more than 50 laboratories and there were five off-site offerings. Half the lecture tracks and all evening entertainment were at the Gaylord Palms Resort, the NAVC headquarters. Attendees could also view lectures on the conference's television program, NAVC PrimeTime.

During the five-day conference, 16,051 registrants were checked in, including 5,988 veterinarians, 1,745 technicians, 711 practice managers/receptionists, 516 students, 3,085 guests and NAVC staff, 77 nonveterinarians, 3,799 exhibitors, and 130 members of the media.

Roughly 10 percent of attendees were international, coming from 62 countries including Bosnia, Ecuador, Iceland, Jordan, Nigeria, New Zealand, South Korea, and the Ukraine.

Popular for the second year in a row were Dr. Melinda Merck's forensics lectures and workshops. Joined by Dr. Randall Lockwood and sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Dr. Merck conducted a mock trial Jan. 19 illustrating the role of veterinarians in the prosecution of animal cruelty offenders.

On Jan. 20, children ages 5 to 14 from around the country participated in a three-hour interactive educational program titled "FutureVet," sponsored by the AVMA and Banfield Charitable Trust.

"FutureVet Camp was designed to educate and entertain youth about a career in veterinary medicine," said Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, AVMA president, who participated in the programs. At the conference, the children participated in a variety of presentations geared to their age level, and discovered the art and science that is veterinary medicine.

In addition, FutureVet provides tool kits for use in the classroom and with community youth groups and is available for grades K to 12 and college undergraduates.

Dr. Mark L. Morris Jr. was posthumously honored with the 2008 Mark L. Morris Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award during the opening ceremonies. Established in memory of Dr. Morris' father, the award is presented annually at the NAVC to a veterinarian who has made notable contributions to the health and well-being of companion animals through a lifetime of service.

"Dr. Morris truly established his own legacy by taking his father's vision and turning it into a broader reality," said Dr. Mary Beth Leininger, director of professional affairs for Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., which sponsors the award. "He has made a difference in millions of animals' lives and changed the way the entire veterinary profession thinks about nutrition."

Entertainment at the NAVC was provided by KC and the Sunshine Band and country music star LeAnn Rimes.

At the NAVC business meeting, Dr. Don Harris, an avian and exotic animal practitioner from Miami, was sworn in as the 2008 NAVC president. The NAVC also welcomed new board member, Dr. Mark Crootof, a multiple veterinary practice owner, business management consultant, and hospital designer/renovator from upstate New York.

"I consider myself extremely lucky to serve as president of NAVC during our anniversary year," said Dr. Jorge Guerrero, immediate past president of the NAVC. "The quality of our speakers and staff, coupled with the attention each and every attendee receives, makes me proud to be part of this team—NAVC is truly a global leader in the veterinary field."

The 2009 NAVC will be held January in Orlando. For more information, visit