The work of a Vet in a local Veterinary practice rarely involves international travel but last week was a bit of an exception for me when I travelled with a small group of Vets to Florida to attend the North American Veterinary Congress in Orlando.
It was a bit of a whistle-stop trip with just 2 full days at the Congress and at the end, I felt I had jet-lag on top of jet-lag.
The Americans are famed for doing things bigger and better than elsewhere and that is certainly true of the NAVC. The congress was held at two massive hotels, each with a convention centre. The hotel I stayed in had 14 lecture streams running from 6am till 8 pm and the second hotel had a further 17 lecture streams at similar times.
Over 18,000 delegates attended the congress and I was especially interested to see some of the new advances in medicine and surgery. On the first day, I attended lectures on Arthritis management which included some cutting-edge techniques involving injecting products directly into joints. The lectures covered injecting steroid into joints which we have done for some time but also some interesting work on stem-cell research and also something called platelet-rich-plasma which involves collecting a blood sample, processing it to remove the blood cells then injecting it into a joint. The impact on reducing inflammation and stimulating healing within the joint looks very exciting.
There were several other interesting lectures on soft-tissue abdominal surgery as well as some pioneering cancer surgery.
On the second day, I enjoyed learning about new techniques for stabilising diabetic animals and also the use of specialist laser therapy to decrease pain and stimulate healing after surgery.
In addition to the lectures, there were two enormous commercial exhibitions where suppliers of products and services to the veterinary industry demonstrated their wares. There was everything from new pharmaceutical products and X ray machines to software systems, CT scanners operating lights and kennels.
Among the many many products that would be useful back home in Huddersfield, there were some less practical products on show including a mobile Vet Clinic on an American truck and one gentleman who tried to convince me he had developed a product that repaired chromosome damage and was a cure for the aging process. As I stood and looked at the wrinkles on his face and his white hair and beard, I had to question the true value of his product.