I so hate to hijack this blog for something so trivial, but trust me … it’s not so teensy an issue for most veterinarians. Conferences and conventions serve a big purpose, and continuing education is only one part of the equation. In any case, any self-respecting pet owner should appreciate a veterinarian who ducks out of the office a few times a year to attend a conference.

Not only do these get-togethers help us get up to speed on new issues you’d undoubtably want us to keep current on, they inevitably serve a larger purpose: keeping us abreast of global changes in our profession.

Indeed, there’s no doubt that a veterinarian that has been out of the loop since 1990 would find him/herself in culture shock on the very first day of this weekend’s upcoming annual AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) Convention in Atlanta. The demographic and cultural landscape has changed so drastically over these last twenty years that any 1990 graduate would be hard-pressed to recognize this profession were it not for many of the same older faces. Because the game has been utterly changed.

Which I’m grateful for in so many ways.

Why? 

Because women make up more of this profession’s backbone than ever before, giving it a gender inclusivity few fields can best. Because animal welfare is an increasingly powerful issue. Because standards of veterinary care are on the rise — dramatically so. And because the profession, at large, is alive and growing — financially and culturally. The latter of which would make me proud to be a veterinarian, if I wasn’t already so proud.

To wit, this weekend’s roster is already super-full for me. I’ll be meeting with lots of interesting industry movers and shakers (some of whom follow this blog). I’ll be surveying the exhibition hall for cool trends you should be on the lookout for (I’ll report on these next week). I’ll be catching some cool lectures on canine rehab medicine and small ruminant parasitology. And finally, I’ll be attending an unmissable (for me) symposium on poultry welfare.

Sure, chicken comfort, animal insurance, pet food, and goat worms may not sound like your best weekend ever. But when you consider that the Ritz Carlton’s sheets are involved, you might think otherwise.

OK, before you go berating me for luxury-abuse on the hotel thing, consider this: My friend’s discount coupled with my Travelocity deal gave me a better price for the Ritz than for anyplace else in the vicinity. So can you blame me for taking advantage?

After all, I’ll need every bit of my energy while I’m there, and a great night’s sleep will be essential to keep the hectic schedule I’ve got planned.

Which I’m hoping you’ll be willing to contribute to (the hecticness, that is). If you’re planning on being at the convention, I’d LOVE to meet you. So send me an e-mail at [email protected] if you’re attending. The coffee's on me.

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: "I TOLD you to put that camera away!" by bark