I don’t mean to rub it in, but I’m currently writing this blog from sunny Orlando, Florida (where it’s about 60° warmer than my Minneapolis abode). I’m scheduled to lecture at the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC), the largest veterinary conference in the world.

Over 10,000 veterinary professionals attend this conference for continuing medical information. What am I lecturing about? Well, here are some of my topics:

  • Top 10 errors to avoid in your poisoned patients
  • The ABC’s of acid-base
  • Penetrating chest injury no-nos
  • Top 10 mistakes to avoid in dyspneic (difficulty breathing) patients
  • What’s new in toxicology: from puking to phat
  • Upper and lower airway challenges

A few weeks ago, I asked you what topics you wanted your veterinarian to learn about. Well, I’m hoping to incorporate some of your advice at the NAVC. After all, we veterinarians should always be learning and cutting edge.

What I learned at this year’s conference? Why I love my profession.

After talking to a bell hop and hotel bartender this week, this is what I learned from them about their opinion of veterinarians:

  • Veterinarians don’t utilize the bar very much — we apparently don’t party like the lawyers, Harley Davidson bikers, or MDs that frequent the hotel for other conferences. (I’m OK with that!)
  • Veterinarians don’t use the pool much during the day (That’s because we’re all studious [i.e., geeky] and actually attend our lectures).
  • Veterinarians are pretty laid back.

What I learned based on personal observation this week?

  • Veterinarians constantly want to learn. Approximately 160 of them showed up to my evening lecture from 6-7:30 p.m. I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up … after all, I’d typically be in the gym or sitting pool-side after attending lectures from 8-5!
  • Veterinarians have an incredible sense of humor. They actually enjoyed my obnoxious video excerpt from the Family Guy "Who wants chowder" episode (YouTube at your own risk) during my toxicology/poisoning lecture. (The point being, we don’t use ipecac in animals or humans anymore!)
  • Veterinarians are personable, laid back, easy to talk to, and fun to converse with while sitting on the bus or hanging out between lectures.

I’ve been humbled this week. I sat back and watched all different generations of veterinarians learn, grow, and care about the direction that our profession is heading to.

Dr. Justine Lee

*There is another huge veterinary conference in Las Vegas next week: the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC). I’ll be headed there also. Rumor has it that years ago, a famous casino (who will stay anonymous) didn’t renew our conference arrangements there because we veterinarians (1) didn’t gamble or use the prostitutes enough; (2) looked too sloppy in our fleece and jeans walking on the casino floor; and (3) were too casual — we sat on the casino floor eating our box lunches.

Thankfully, Mandalay Bay tolerates our cool, casual ways, and they adopted our conference this year. We’re too cas’ for Vegas, baby!

Image: Michal Kowalski and Janos Levente / via Shutterstock