Last night was the variously dreaded and heralded meeting of Miami veterinary minds on the topic of Comfortis, one of the newest flea killers on the market.

As we snuggled into the dimly lit room’s conference-esque interior, wine glasses in hand, thirty or so of us were treated to a dermatology-themed lecture on the major issues facing flea-carrying pets. As waiters shuffled around, filling glasses and swapping out plates, the PowerPoint presentation soldiered on with images far too ghastly to dine comfortably by.

More than one glass clinked over on my table as my unsuspecting waiter happened to glance up in time to see the image of a bloodsucking insect magnified several million times over.

After a mediocre meal of salmon and a cut of beef (whose origins eluded me), another lecturer took the stand. Though we’d already sat through ninety minutes of flea stuff, more was yet to come. By ten thirty (well past my bedtime) it was all over. A few questions were fired as a parting shot, but we were honestly too tired to give it a good go. 

A three-hour long advanced discussion on just fleas? Would you have thought it possible?

Actually, I could well imagine a zillion hours beyond last night’s bedtime story. At the beginning of the lecture, fresh with the novelty of a night out, I’d even been making notes on interesting questions and sidelines worth exploring:

What tools are researchers using to stake their claim to the “no-resistance” party line that’s still in play across the US?

Is there any news on the question of flea-mediated Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)?

But all we had time for was one scholarly lecture on the state of the current thinking on fleas and one muckety-muck drug rep’s lecture on the practical aspects of Eli Lilly's Comfortis.

Though over-long and slightly dry, the dinner did its job just right. It was a perfect example of what a drug company sponsored event should be: Independently informative with a plug thrown in at the end. Everyone gets what they came for and you as pet owners are better off for our newfound knowledge and enthusiasm on the subject.

(Though I daresay my vet surgeon date might disagree. He hadn’t been forced to think of a flea in over a decade and consequently wasn’t too psyched to have his red wine spoilt by birdseye images of weepy flea dermatitis cases.)

Tomorrow I’ll detail the key points highlighted during the lectures so that you, too, will have the benefit of last night’s dinner (without all the slimy screenshots and inedible beef).