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BSAVA Congress 2006

Craig Reilly, Vet of the Year

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 Dogs and its sister paper Our Cats!

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 occasionally 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.

Press Conference

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 Meredith’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. Michelle 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."

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 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.

Amaroso Award - Professor Jack Boyd BVMS Phd MRCVS – in recognition of his teaching of anatomy at Glasgow.

Blaine Award - Ruth Dennis MA VetMB DVR DipECVDI MRCVS – for her pioneering work with MRI in small animals.

Bourgelat Award - Lesley King BVM DipACVIM DACVECC DipECVIM-CA MRCVS – for her role in helping develop critical care as a veterinary speciality.

Simon Award - Dan Brockman BVSc CVR CSAO DipACVS Dip ECVS MRCVS – for his work at the cutting edge of small animal sugery.

Melton Award - Malcolm Davidson BVM&S CertVOpthal MRCVS – for his inspirational work promoting opthalmology in small animal practice.

Woodrow Award - 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.

Dunkin Award - David Godfrey BvetMed CertSAD CertSAM DipABVP Cbiol MIBiol MRCVS – for his paper "Osteoarthritis in Cats: a retrospective radiological study".

Petsavers Award - 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.

Petplan Awards

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.

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.

Scientific Programme

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 subject included Feline practice, Anaesthesia and analgesia, Imaging, Cardiology, Rabbits and 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 Nursing lecture programme included Anaesthesia, Surgical nursing, Behaviour, Infectious diseases and Dentistry. 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.

The Trade Exhibition

I also managed to fit in a visit to the Trade Exhibition at the National Indoor Arena, and I have to say this event is vast with a tremendous variety of stands. Drug companies, food companies, computer systems, books, charities and everything else inbetween had stands here at the NIA, surely offering everything that the discerning veterinary practice might need.

The trade exhibition