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AAEP Convention


Compiled by Nancy Brannon, with information from Sally J. Baker

It was time to pack your swim gear to soak in some sun and science, as veterinarians headed to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) 62nd Annual Convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, December 3-7, 2016. Convention attendance comprised 5,471 veterinary professionals, students, guests, and exhibitors from across the United States, Canada and 46 other countries. Members gathered to dispense essential knowledge, emerging diagnostics, and newest treatments across the medical spectrum to help practitioners provide optimal care to their equine patients.

The meeting offered more than 130 hours of continuing education in core areas of equine medicine, including imaging, infectious disease management, internal medicine, lameness, and reproduction. In addition, renowned airway surgeon Norm Ducharme, DVM, MSc, DACVS, presented the prestigious Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture, while acclaimed ethics speaker Chuck Gallagher delivered the keynote presentation.

The Educational Program was a major component of the convention, with informational sessions on diagnostics, management, and treatment of horse health issues. There were also sessions on the Business of Veterinary Practice; “how-to” sessions following step-by-step procedures deployed by colleagues; in-depth topics and table topics allowing informal facilitated discussions. View the full Educational Program Schedule here:
The convention also offered a variety of social and networking opportunities at which practitioners and students could expand their professional footprint. Plus, there was a trade show featuring 347 exhibiting companies showcasing the newest products and services for equine practice.

Sunday’s Opening Session Keynote address by Chuck Gallagher was “Every Choice Has a Consequence: Ethics, Integrity, and the Power of Choices in Life and Business.” He emphasized that each choice we make and each step we take provides the foundation for our future. Wherever you are right now—regardless of the circumstances—your choices define who you are and the outcomes you will live.”

Sunday’s afternoon sessions covered Emergency and Critical Care Procedures, The Changing Face of Equine Dental Care, and Career Transitions: Setting Yourself Up for Success.

Dr. Stephen Galloway, of Animal Care Hospital in Oakland, TN, spoke on “How to Digitally Document a Dental Examination.” Dr. Galloway said that he now uses oral endoscopy for all his routine dental examinations and for procedural guidance, to guide the instruments, when doing dental work on the horse. “Using a short, rigid endoscope, I can magnify what I am seeing and can video the horse’s mouth. The horse’s mouth is a 15-inch tunnel and it is difficult to see in the back.” While it’s not difficult to visualize structures such as the interdental space, the canine teeth, and incisors, structures located near the back of the mouth are decidedly more difficult to see and evaluate. Oral endoscopy augments commonly used examination techniques and provides a detailed, magnified view of dental and soft tissue structures in the horse’s mouth.

The oral endoscope consists of a rigid endoscope, a light source, digital video camera, video monitor, and a recording device. Rigid endoscopes for equine use typically have a diameter of 5 mm to 15 mm, working length of 50 cm, and an angled viewing lens of 60° to 115°.

Dr. Galloway says all his surgery charts are now done on an iPad. The data is downloaded onto his clinic server and can easily be sent to the client. Keeping horse health records in a digital format makes it possible to electronically send the client whatever information is needed. It also cuts down significantly on record keeping.

He continued, “All universities used to have very expensive endoscopes that they used, but such devices were cost prohibitive for primary practitioners. As technology has advanced, the equipment is now available and affordable to primary practitioners. Veterinarians can even build one – buy the components and put one together.” Galloway uses wi-fi to link the endoscope to the iPad. He can take high definition photos and video. He said some practitioners keep their records on the Cloud so they can access them from any mobile location. He keeps his there for about a year, then stores them on his clinic computer.

About the AAEP meeting, Dr. Galloway commented: “All the sessions were good. They were directed at the primary level practitioners. It’s always a good meeting. It’s the second largest veterinary meeting in the world, and it has the largest trade show. Many veterinarians wait for the AAEP meeting to check out and purchase new equipment.”

Monday morning’s Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture covered “Equine Upper Airways: Intersection of Evidence-Based Data, Emerging Discoveries, and the Veterinary Art,” by Norm G. Ducharme, DVM, MSc, DACVS. His talk focused on clinical applications of various upper airway problems, as he through examination of current research and emerging diagnostics and treatments, including unpublished data on management of complications, as well as advances in standing laryngoplasty.

Monday afternoon’s sessions covered Clinical Applications of MRI, How to Treat the Sub-Fertile Mare, When a Rescue Goes Bad, Succession Planning as a Business Strategy, and a variety of Table Topics.

Tuesday morning’s topic focused on Internal Medicine and Lameness Rehabilitation. Dr. Steve Adair, of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UTCVM) in Knoxville, TN, spoke on “Rehabilitation Directed at Maintaining or Treating Restricted Joint Motion in the Horse.”

In the AAEP Tools to Connect to Your Clients and Their Horses session, Dr. Monty McInturff of Tennessee Equine Hospital, Thompson’s Station, TN, was the moderator for the session, which covered “Performing a Client-Focused Examination,” How to “Customize Your Care for Practice Success,” and “Client Communication in the 21st Century.”

Dr. McInturff, DVM said: “The AAEP meeting in Orlando, Florida was amazing! Over 5000 industry leaders and equine veterinarians came together to both celebrate and share information about the horse we love.

 “My section was focused on the AAEP Touch program that looks at a survey presented to over 6000 horse owners to determine what they want from their veterinarian.

“The first section was focused on How to Perform A Quality Physical Exam and the importance of documenting a veterinarian’s findings and delivering this information to the client in a way that supports value to both the customer and the horse.

“The second section was a discussion on the importance of understanding the discipline in which the horse performs and the importance of this in making a proper diagnosis.

“The third section was a discussion on how clients want to be communicated with, and hands down – face-to-face communication ranks number one on building a quality client-patient relationship.”

The Business of Practice session covered Opportunities Beyond Clinical Practice. Dr. Rachel Cezar, USDA/APHIS, covered “Transitioning From Clinical Practice into a Government Career.”

In Tuesday’s Table Topics, Dr. Liberty Getman, of Tennessee Equine Hospital, said she “spoke on Castration Complications.  The session focused mostly on different anesthetic and surgical techniques, and how to change these techniques based on individual patients, such as miniature horses, donkeys, or very mature stallions.  We also discussed what to do when complications occur (like excessive bleeding, herniation, or infection) and when a horse with complications should be referred to a surgical center.” 

Tuesday afternoon’s sessions were on Lameness, Infectious Disease Outbreak Management, Theriogenology and Lameness, and Transitions for Practice Growth. Tuesday afternoon’s Rounds for the Practitioner and Technician focused on the challenges of the DVM and Technician/Assistant staff and how both can be heard and offer perspectives.

Wednesday morning got started with all types of Imaging for injury diagnosis. Wednesday’s How-to Session was geared toward Life Stage management, from foals to care of the older horse. Next was How to Feed the Special Needs Horse, followed by Words of Wisdom from Everyday Practice.

In separate sessions on Tuesday, the USDA Accreditation Training sessions covered International Movement of Horses, Slaughter Horse Transport (federal regulations governing the health, well-being, and paperwork requirements for transporting horses intended for slaughter), Using Behavior to Assess Animal Welfare, Animal Disease Traceability, Animals’ Fitness to Travel, and Use of Antibiotics in Animals.
Presentation of annual awards: Four AAEP members and two horse industry advocates were honored during the President’s Luncheon on December 6.
The Lavin Cup: Michael Blowen, founder, Old Friends Equine
AAEP George Stubbs Award: Jay Hickey, past president, American Horse Council
Distinguished Educator Award – Academic: Dennis Brooks, DVM, Ph.D., DACVO
Distinguished Service Award: Bill Moyer, DVM
Distinguished Life Member Award: Glenn Blodgett, DVM
President’s Award: Nat White, DVM, MS, DACVS

Funds for the AAEP Foundation: Combined proceeds from the AAEP Foundation Benefit Golf Tournament, silent auction, special gifts and the inaugural Collegiate Challenge—won by Texas A&M University—raised more than $97,000 for the Foundation’s mission to improve the welfare of the horse.

Videos from the 2016 convention can be found on the AAEP’s Facebook page: American Association of Equine Practitioners. Find full information at the convention main page:
The AAEP’s 63rd Annual Convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 17-21, 2017.

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