Friday, June 29, 2012

Big Fun and "Big Ideas in the Big Easy"

I love to attend veterinary conferences.  I always have – from the very start of my career as an equine practitioner, through my university faculty years and now as a technical services veterinarian in industry. Sure… attending conferences is a requirement of my profession - since I need a certain amount of CEU’s to renew my veterinary licenses every year (and don’t get me wrong, I really love learning new things to help out my equine friends and make me a better veterinarian) - but just as importantly, they provide me with the opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues.  There is usually some sort of Iowa State University alumni event where I can meet up with former classmates and faculty and find out the latest happenings in Ames.  I also really love the trade show at a big vet conference.  It is really fun to walk around checking out all the latest and greatest veterinary equipment, medications and supplies. So attending is really not much like work for me.  In fact it’s more like a side benefit.  And another reason why I really love my job!!  

Earlier this month Drs. Karen Davison, Katie Young and I attended the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana.  This meeting is a gathering of over 3000 veterinary internal medicine specialists, non-specialist veterinarians, veterinary technicians and representatives of the pharmaceutical, veterinary equipment, specialty animal diet and miscellaneous other industries.  The main purpose of the Forum is to provide continuing education to veterinarians.  The ACVIM Forum is well known for providing the most up-to-date, cutting edge information in veterinary medicine and research.  The educational session presenters are widely recognized as the very best in their particular field.  So the meeting really is a great way for veterinarians to expand their knowledge and continue to develop and refine their clinical skills.  The theme for this year’s forum was “Big Ideas in the Big Easy”.

A large trade show is also associated with this meeting and the 3 K’s manned the booth for Purina Horse Feed.  Over the course of 3 days we fielded many questions from veterinarians who stopped by our booth to learn more about Purina Horse Feeds and the role of nutrition in equine veterinary medicine. Our focus for this show was to educate veterinarians about one of our newer products, WellSolve WellGel®.  WellSolve WellGel® is a powdered diet available only to veterinarians.  It has been formulated to meet the nutritional needs of horses suffering from various illnesses, or who are in the recovery stages after surgery or a long illness.  The diet is unique in that it can be administered in relatively small volumes through a nasogastric tube providing 100% of the horses’ daily nutrient requirements.  It also contains fiber to help maintain hindgut health and glutamine to support enterocyte function.  WellSolve WellGel® is also very palatable and can be fed as a slurry or topdressing.

Staying current on equine health issues and veterinary research is critical to our mission to develop diets that help horses stay healthy and active throughout their lives.  Veterinary meetings such as the ACVIM Forum and AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) Convention are wonderful opportunities for us to communicate with and learn from the veterinary community (we also attend several regional veterinary meetings and host our own Purina Equine Veterinary Conference each year in October in St. Louis).  These interactions allow us to quickly recognize and respond to the needs of veterinarian’s for nutritional products and programs.  They also give us the opportunity to learn how we can help veterinarians to educate their clients about proper nutrition suited for each horse’s particular needs.  WellSolve L/S®, W/C® and WellGel® were all developed directly as a result of our interaction with the veterinary industry.  Several years ago Equine Metabolic Syndrome was characterized and quickly became a widely diagnosed (and talked about) condition in horses.  Veterinarians and researchers here at Purina quickly recognized the need for a diet that would provide excellent nutrition in a formula that would not exacerbate insulin resistance.  After nearly 4 years of controlled research and field trials WellSolve L/S® was launched into the market.  Similarly, when the connection between obesity and insulin resistance was discovered the Purina Equine Research and Development unit went to work developing a weight control product now known as WellSolve W/C®.

I still have several vet conferences to look forward to this year. On my calendar of events are the New England Association of Equine Practitioners 4th Annual Symposium, the Purina Equine Veterinary Conference and the 2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention.  All of them should be educational and FUN!!!!

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