Last month I attended BSAVA’s press conference, the opening ceremony and awards, the Petplan awards and the trade exhibition – all this in a whirlwind visit to Birmingham on behalf of Our Cats and Our Dogs!
I was joining delegates from all over the world who attend the British Small Animal Veterinary Association’s congress. Some delegates attend year after year and others attend occassionally to brush up on their CPD (continuing professional development). The event also caters for the families of the vets and nurses who attend congress and there is a special programme of social events and outings to keep everyone occupied.
The trade exhibition moved to the nearby National Indoor Arena several years ago as the entire International Conference Centre is taken up by the congress itself, with all the lecture halls fully utilised by the scientific programmes on offer. Congress Stewards (wearing a BSAVA T-shirts) and members of the Congress Committee (wearing RED badges) help to guide everyone around the complexes and prevent anyone getting lost!
All in all, it was a busy but very enjoyable time as I met up with several old friends and made some new ones!
My first port of call was the press conference where the press were welcomed by the retiring president, Carmel Mooney. Carmel was keen for the press to be aware that veterinary professionals have made a vital contribution to the lengthy animal welfare debate during the creation of the new Bill, and although the BSAVA welcomed the ban on tail docking, but was disappointed with the exemption for working dogs.
The speakers, introduced by Carmel, included Anna Meredith (lecturer at the Edinburgh vet school), Michelle Ward (a petsavers scholar) and Tim Nuttall (of Liverpool University).
Anna Meredth’s presentation centred on the importance of proper husbandry of a variety of exotic pets, including snakes and reptiles. She said, "Vets have a major role to play in promoting and advising on the proper care and welfare of reptiles". Sadly many people purchase exotic pets with little or no understanding of their needs and welfare.
Michelle Ward is currently involved in rabbit research, an area of growing need due to their increasing popularity with the pet-owning public. Michele gave an interesting and informative presentation. She hopes her research will advance the treatment of these cuddly pets. "I see an increasing need for the veterinary profession to provide a quality service for these patients," she said. " Veterinary practices across the country are being presented with more complex cases all the time."
The MRSA presentation
Tim Nuttall presented the BSAVA guidelines on MRSA, which he helped to produce as a member of the Association’s Scientific Committee. He explained that BSAVA did not work alone in responding to the need for information on MRSA, as they cooperate closely with BVA and other bodies.
Welcome & Awards Ceremony
The welcome ceremony
Violinest, Bruce Wilson
The opening ceremony began with a selection of music played by violinist, Bruce Wilson and was followed by presentations to the BSAVA Congress 2006 Awards winners. The award winners and their friends and families, joined many delegates in Hall 5 for the ceremony. The event was sponsored by Schering Plough Animal Health and Carmel Mooney introduced each of the winners:
The Frank Beattie Travel Scholarship Award
Anna Jennings BVSc MRCVS – the award will enable her to visit Madison, Winscnsin to receive training in opthalmology.
Professor Jack Boyd BVMS Phd MRCVS – in recognition of his teaching of anatomy at Glasgow.
Ruth Dennis MA VetMB DVR DipECVDI MRCVS – for her pioneering work with MRI in small animals.
Lesley King BVM DipACVIM DACVECC DipECVIM-CA MRCVS – for her role in helping develop critical care as a veterinary speciality.
Dan Brockman BVSc CVR CSAO DipACVS Dip ECVS MRCVS – for his work at the cutting edge of small animal sugery.
Malcolm Davidson BVM&S CertVOpthal MRCVS – for his inspirational work promoting opthalmology in small animal practice.
Virginia Luis Fuentes MA VetMB PHd CertVR DVC DipACVIM-CA DipECVIM-CA MRCVS – for her outstanding contributions to cardiology and imaging.
A. Noel Ormrod Memorial Presentation
A memorial award from BSAVA of new books for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s Wellcome Library.
J. A. Wight Memorial Award
Kathryn Kerr BVM&S DWEL NSch MRCVS – for her substantial contributions to animal welfare over many years.
The Alf Wight Award
David Godfrey BvetMed CertSAD CertSAM DipABVP Cbiol MIBiol MRCVS – for his paper "Osteoarthritis in Cats: a retrospective radiological study".
Michael Stafford Johnson MVB CertSAM MACVSc CertVC MRCVS – for the best published clinical paper, "A retrospective study of clinical findings, treatment and outcome in 143 dogs with pericardial effusion".
Vet Nursing Awards
Mark Morgan, Valerie Cook VN – the highest marks in NVQ Level 2 and Level 3 veterinary nursing examinations.
Clinical Research Abstracts
Rachel Dean BVMS CertSAM MRCVS, Vicki Anderson BSc, Jaime Viscasillas VMD – for best abstracts in medicine, surgical section and practitioner.
The 2006 Petplan Awards, held in association with Veterinary Times, were held in the Birmingham Symphony Hall. There were three nominees for each category and all the nominees, their guests and the press attended a Gala Dinner, followed by dancing. The evening’s host was TV presenter of Channel 4’s Pet Rescue, Wendy Turner-Webster.
Craig Reilly, Vet of the Year
Claire Bessant of the FAB with Andrew Edney and Wendy Turner-Webster.
It was a wonderful evening, full of suspense as we watched a series of videos in which the nominees introduced themselves. Just like the Oscars, the winner was announced via the opening of a gold envelope! The full list of winners appeared in the last issue of Our Cats.
I would like to thank Petplan for inviting me to this prestigious event, it was a super evening, a great meal and the company (all members of the press, on my table) was delightful!
In addition to the Veterinary Practice Awards, there was a special award to Claire Bessant of the Feline Advisory Bureau; the Blue Cross Wellcome award. Andrew Edney presented a delighted Claire with her award.
As I was attending as a member of the press, rather than a delegate this year (and I only had two days to spare), I was unable to attend the lectures. The programmes this year were ‘mouthwatering’ for vets and nurses and included:
• Feline practice
• Anaesthesia and analgesia
• Thoracic surgery
The veterinary programme is designed for veterinary surgeons in general practice to provide them with updates and ideas that they can readily implement when they return to work. A particular highlight was a Panel Discussion on vaccination. Masterclasses on topics such as neurology video-based cases and ear surgery and an interactive cardiology workshop allowed interaction with experts in small group settings. Finally,
Clinical Research Abstracts allowed for the most recent cutting-edge knowledge to be shared by all at Congress.
Highlights of the 2006 lecture programme included:
• Surgical nursing
• Infectious diseases
In addition, Nursing Masterclasses allowed delegates to study topics such as nutritional support of hospitalized cases and clinical pathology in the practice laboratory in more detail.
Novartis’ (Program) clever cat slogan “nowhere to hide”
Representing BVNA and promoting vet nursing
The Dogs Trust stand with Rosanna Boylan
Cats Protection stand with lots of goodies on offer
Jo Vuckovic on the FAB stand, promoting the new ‘Cat Friendly Practice Scheme’
Westcoast’s hydrotherapy unit, complete with a ‘patient’!
Merial’s Frontline range
The Purina range
Richard Newhouse and partner of CSL (Pet Tags)
Dorwest Herbs’ smiling faces, Jo & Roly Boughton
The trade exhibition
Royal Canin’s veterinary range
Hill’s eye-catching giant cat poster
Merial display of flea control
The new Iams dog food sauces
The new Iams cat food pouches