Introduction to the AVMA Conference

Louisa Beal, DVMImageShack

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) held its 146h annual conference in Seattle, Washington from July 11th to July 14th this year. The conference hosted over 200 sessions a day on topics including companion animal medicine, food animal medicine practice management, public health, wildlife, alternative therapies and much more. There was far more than any one person could take in. The other part of the conference was the exhibit hall, with about 300 exhibitors and special interest groups. The exhibit hall is always a big draw for information on the latest developments and cool freebies. So, my point of view is a mere blip on the big picture. I’ll be writing a short series of commentaries on various aspects of the AVMA convention.

ImageShackThe joint scientific veterinary behavior meeting of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) was held on Friday, July 10th, the day before the AVMA conference. I am a member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and these were the sessions in which I was most interested. These are the cutting edge topics ranging from case presentations to basic biochemical research on mediators of behavior. This meeting also allws the behavior community to get to meet new people who work with behavior, get to know people we have only met online and to touch base witht hose friends we only see at these meetings. I will write more in the future about some of the specific topics that were covered.

The general sessions of the AVMA also have a behavior track. There are may veterinarians who do not have a behavior practice, but still need to know the basics of behavior and when to refer their clients. These sessions include topics on learning theory, puppy socialization medication that modify behavior, genetics of behavior and controversial issues. I am focusing on the behavior sessions at the AVMA because that is where my greatest area of interest lies. My day job is counseling owners on behavior problems of dogs and cats. There is a lot of misinformation about animal behavior floating around and my goal is to help people understand that there is a science behind the recommendations from veterinary behaviorists and veterinarians with a special interest in behavior. So much of my time at the conference was with the AVSAB booth in the exhibit hall.

In my next articles, I’ll be talking about the AVSAB booth. The joy. The controversies. What they loved and what they didn’t. To be continued…


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