Convention-goers have monumental time in DC

AVMA has met five times over nearly 125 years in nation's capital
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Attendees at AVMA Convention 2019, held Aug. 2-6 in Washington, D.C., got to be in the room where it happens. That is, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, which was the location for more than 930 hours of continuing education, an expansive exhibit hall with 325 booths, and scores of social events involving allied organizations and other entities. In all, 8,142 people attended the convention, including 4,130 veterinarians, 464 veterinary students, and 322 veterinary technicians and veterinary technology students.

Lots to learn and do

Among the many notable speakers were Dr. Sue Ettinger, who gave three presentations on cancer in small animals and one on how to manage patients who won't eat; Stephen Cital, a veterinary technician anesthetist with expertise in exotic animals, who presented on airway management and emergency techniques in the surgery theater and emergency room, among other topics; and Dr. Emily Pieracci, a veterinary epidemiologist in the Poxvirus and Rabies Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, who spoke about rabies and updates to the U.S. dog importation policy.

CE session at AVMA Convention 2019
"Current Thoughts & Therapies of Feline Pancreatitis," presented by Dr. Jennifer Slovak of the Animal Medical Center in New York City, was one of the more popular continuing education sessions at AVMA Convention 2019, held Aug. 2-6.

Each day saw about a handful of overflow sessions for which lecture rooms were standing room only. These ranged from "Non-surgical Management of Osteoarthritis in Dogs and Cats—More than NSAIDs" to "Medical Cannabinoids: An Analgesic Alternative to Opioids?" to "You've Found a Murmur in an Adult Dog, What Next?" A total of 15 of these popular CE presentations are still available for convention attendees to view in the convention mobile app under the "Overflow" icon, including the keynote presentation by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, "Welcome to Wildhood: What Animal Adolescents Can Teach Us About Growing Up." For everyone else, some of the recordings will be made available at AVMA Axon for a small fee.

In addition, a number of interactive labs sold out, such as those on canine abdominal ultrasonography; rabbit clinical techniques, anesthesia, and ovariohysterectomy; dental radiography for dogs and cats; ophthalmic surgery; and canine soft-tissue surgeries.

A few stops in the exhibit hall that saw a lot of action were The Central Bark dog cafe, where attendees could cuddle with a canine, and the Professional Headshot & LinkedIn Lounge, sponsored by The Vet Recruiter, which offered professional reviews of LinkedIn profiles and assistance with setting up new profiles as well as professional portrait photos that attendees could use in their profiles. Offered for the first time this year was the AVMA Digital District, where presenters gave 20-minute CE sessions on topics such as telemedicine, productivity, marketing, and personal well-being. It also included the tech hub, where startup companies and vendors demonstrated their products and services for veterinary medicine and work-life balance.

A new event this year, the AVMA Veterinary Career Center's Career Mix and Mingle, drew over 400 attendees and more than 35 employers from private and corporate practice, industry, and government.

The AVMA Cares program, in partnership with The Street Dog Coalition and American Veterinary Medical Foundation, put on a street clinic for the second year during the convention. Volunteers provided free medical care and supplies Aug. 4 to around a dozen pets of homeless or low-income owners—as well as tote bags filled with essentials for the owners—thanks to sponsorship from Hill's Pet Nutrition and Zoetis.

Also as part of the AVMA Cares Program, 400 convention bags were donated to Partners for Kids in Care in Washington, D.C. These donated bags will be repurposed as "shopping bags" in the Children's Donation Center, providing complimentary toiletries, clothes, and toys to children entering foster care.

Shannon Alsbrooks and Reign
Shannon Alsbrooks visits the AVMA Cares street clinic, sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition and Zoetis. She recently adopted Reign, a terrier mix, from a friend who could no longer afford the fee to keep a pet in her apartment. Alsbrooks picked up toys, food, and a collar for her dog at the event.

AVMA's Battle of the Bands kicked off later that night, pitting three local bands against one another for the title of "Top Dog." For The Win, a high-energy band covering Top 40 hits, and Riverside Lights, another cover band playing country and classic rock tunes, were bested by the jazz-slash-funk 11-piece band 76 Degrees West. The night was capped off with a fireworks display and encore performance by the winning band outside the venue. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. sponsored the event.

Elections and candidates

Prior to the convention, members of the AVMA House of Delegates and other Association leaders descended on Capitol Hill to advocate for the profession (see story).

Dr. José Arce, District IV representative on the AVMA Board of Directors, announced his candidacy for 2020-21 AVMA president-elect Aug. 1 during the regular annual session of the House of Delegates, and Dr. Sandra Faeh announced her candidacy for 2020-22 AVMA vice president (see story).

The AVMA House of Delegates elected Dr. Douglas Kratt to the office of 2019-20 AVMA president-elect (see story).

During the Aug. 4 Board meeting, Dr. John Howe was installed as AVMA president. In addition, Drs. Rena Carlson and Lori Teller were elected and installed as Board chair and vice chair, respectively (see story). Washington delegate Dr. Sandy Willis is the new House Advisory Committee chair.

JAVMA News will run comprehensive coverage of these elections in addition to governance actions, CE highlights, and other convention happenings in this issue as well as the Oct. 1 and 15 issues. Affiliated group reports will appear in the Nov. 1 issue.

Most popular Continuing Education

The top 10 continuing education sessions in order of attendance at AVMA Convention 2019 were as follows:

  1. "Itchy Felines: Is it Really a Fluoxetine Deficiency?"
  2. "The Power of Topical Therapy in Dermatology: The Dos and Don'ts"
  3. "Paws, Claws, and Everything in Between: Common Causes of Pododermatitis in Dogs and Cats"
  4. "Recognizing When to Reach for Antibiotics (or Put Them Away!)"
  5. "Top 20 Tips from the ER"
  6. "Update on NSAIDs & Opioids in Feline Pain Management"
  7. "Cardiology Mitral Valvular Disease in the Dog"
  8. "Chronic Otitis Externa: How Does Treatment Differ?"
  9. "Pain Physiology & Feline Neuropathic Pain Conditions"
  10. "The Art of Ear Cleaning"

Exhibit hall award winners

AVMA Convention 2019 had 325 booths in the exhibit hall showcasing wares and services. Six awards were handed out to the best booths, as voted on by attendees through the convention mobile app. They are as follows:

  • Best of Show, island: Zoetis Petcare.
  • Best of Show, linear booth, 200 square feet or greater: Assisi Animal Health.
  • Best of Show, linear booth, 100 square feet: Bayer Animal Health.
  • Best New Exhibitor: Lick Lick Pad.
  • Most Innovative Startup or Technology Company: Dragon Veterinary.
  • Our Passion, Our Profession: Hill's Pet Nutrition.