Western deepens commitment as continuing education provider

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The 87th Annual Western Veterinary Conference drew nearly 14,000 attendees to Las Vegas for five days of educational programming totaling more than 1,000 hours.

Over 6,000 veterinarians and nearly 2,000 veterinary technicians and practice managers attended the conference, held Feb. 15-19 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Dr. George Dyck (left), immediate past president of the WVC, presents Dr. Randall G. Ezell with the WVC Distinguished Service Award. (Courtesy of WVC)

Continuing education was offered in seven areas, including practice management and small animal, equine, and food animal medicine. Attendees also visited with representatives of the more than 500 veterinary-related companies that filled the exhibit hall.

Even with the launch of programs that offer year-round CE opportunities, including the Speaker Enhancement Program, Veterinary Technician Symposium, and On The Road, the annual conference remains the foundation for the WVC’s continuing education efforts, according to WVC CEO David Little.

“Much has evolved over our 87-year history as a provider of high-quality continuing education for veterinary professionals,” Little said. “WVC has expanded to offer more continuing education choices for veterinary professionals, including year-round educational opportunities at our Las Vegas venue­—the Oquendo Center—and nationwide.”

After launching in 2014, WVC’s On The Road continuing education program returns this year with new programming, cities, and subject matter experts. Kicking off in Oklahoma City in April, the On The Road series offers six Registry of Approved Continuing Education CE credits to veterinary professionals during daylong courses held in four cities.

The inaugural WVC Veterinary Technician Symposium is a three-day event starting June 29 at the Oquendo Center. It combines online learning, workshops, and hands-on education to provide practical, skill-based instruction on such topics as anesthesia, pain management, dentistry, and emergency and critical care. Groups of 20 to 40 technicians will work alongside expert instructors as they hone both clinical and practical skills.

At the WVC’s annual conference, individuals were honored for their contributions to the WVC and outstanding achievements in the veterinary profession. Dr. Randall G. Ezell of Las Vegas received the WVC Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by the organization to an individual, for advancing the WVC, the Oquendo Center, and veterinary continuing education during his time as WVC president, treasurer, and board member.

Additionally, Dr. David C. Twedt, Fort Collins, Colorado, was awarded the WVC Meritorious Service Award for his major contributions to WVC and veterinary CE.

The Special Recognition Award was presented to Drs. Ann Johnson, Sidney, Illinois; Joe Dedrickson, Wamego, Kansas; Edward Johnson, Parma, Idaho; Thomas Reece, Tipton, Oklahoma; and Walter R. Threlfall, Powell, Ohio, for their leadership and service that have contributed to the WVC’s success.

Members of the 2015-2016 WVC board of directors are as follows: Drs. Jon Pennell, Las Vegas, president; Joe Howell, Nichols Hills, Oklahoma, president-elect; W. Mark Hilton, West Lafayette, Indiana, vice president; James Peddie, Ventura, California, secretary-treasurer; George Dyck, Newhall, California, immediate past president; and James Nave, Las Vegas, parliamentarian.

The WVC annual conference is traditionally held each February in Las Vegas, but due to a scheduling conflict with another trade show, the 2016 conference is slated to run March 6-10.