Pet Parent Runs Loose at National Veterinary Conference, NAVC

Was your veterinarian out of town this week? If so, he or she might have been at the North American Veterinary Community’s national conference to learn, mingle and celebrate pets with other pet professionals. I was lucky enough to join more than 16,000 professionals in the veterinary industry this week to get a behind-the-scenes view of how our veterinarians live, care-for and love pets. But what happens when you let an avid pet parent (and non-veterinarian) run amok among over 6,000 DVMs?

First, let me say how huge the NAVC conference is. Many veterinary professionals come here to learn and to earn required continuing education (CE) credits. With over 1,200 hours of CE offered, spanning two conference hotels, it’s impossible for one pet parent to see it all. However, I did make it to several wonderful sessions spanning topics from airborne diseases to health effects of the urban landscape on pets and people.

I also made it to several sessions focused around how practices can better communicate with us (their clients). Two presentations especially stood out for me (although all were excellent): a talk about how veterinarians can help pet parents take better care of pets given by Dr. Mary Ann Vande Linde, and an interesting presentation about airborne pathogens in camels by Dr. Sharon Deem from the Institute for Conservation Medicine. Why did I attend a session about camels, you ask? Well because it’s camels. :) )

Of course I can’t forget the many informative sessions delivered by our own wonderful veterinary bloggers — Dr. Ernie Ward, Dr. Sophia Yin and Dr. Justine Lee. Dr. Jeff Werber was there charming the crowds as well.

Not all of the fun at NAVC was in the sessions though; in case you didn’t know, I used to run the pet-parent side of before joining the Pet Health Network team.

I got to say hi to a few of my longtime buddies: Betsy Saul (pictured, right), co-founder of — who also recently founded Heal, and pet-media powerhouse, Steve Dale from Steve Dale’s Pet World. Betsy’s was one of the many wonderful companies who were exhibiting at NAVC, including some really fun pet products. 

But my favorite booth by far was run by Greyhound Pets of America. I got to snuggle with the gentle giants and learn about the group’s many adoptable greyhounds — who were rescued from racing tracks. Pepper (pictured, left) was the star, flashing smiles to passers-by.

Meeting tons of new, inspiring pet-lovers was the best part of the conference. I must have chatted with hundreds of people in the veterinary industry, all of which truly love pets and are working hard to help them live long, happy, and healthy lives with their pet parents. In fact, I’m certain I teared up a bit (and I’m not a crier) when I met Winona Burgess from the Morris Animal Foundation and Jingles (pictured, right with Winona). That day, Winona had adopted Jingles from being a prison guard dog. Jingles hadn’t known family or home before, but he was greeting everyone who passed with a nuzzle and a tail wag. Lucky dog!