Disease Du Jour: AAEP Wrap-Up
In this podcast, we offer you a 2023 AAEP Convention Wrap-Up to help you find some educational nuggets you might have missed.
There were many informative sessions and fun events for veterinarians at the 2023 AAEP Convention. | Getty Images

The 2023 AAEP Convention is over, but we offer you an AAEP Wrap-Up to help you sift through and find some nuggets you might have missed. You can still register or log in to AAEP’s website to access the Convention presentations. Virtual Registration includes on-demand access to digital recordings of all scientific presentations. It also includes live post-Convention Table Topics to be held virtually Monday, December 11 through Friday, December 15. Those are then available on-demand. 

In this popular annual episode of the Disease Du Jour podcast, we talk to the Merck Animal Health Equine Veterinary Services Team. They give us a wrap-up about the events and presentations at the 2023 AAEP Convention that they found particularly useful or fun.

You can find a listing of sessions at the 2023 AAEP Convention here.

Dr. Bryant Craig AAEP Wrap-Up

Bryant Craig, DVM, is the associate director of scientific affairs for equine professional services and pharmacovigilance at Merck Animal Health. Craig said the exhibit hall is always a good place to meet with veterinarians, and it “didn’t disappoint” this year.

A key to his Convention experience was the Vet Story Night, of which Merck is a sponsor. “We were able to raise more than $1.15 million to the AAEP Foundation for the Horse this year,” Craig noted. That was thanks mostly to a $1-million gift from Pennsylvania horse owners and equine enthusiasts Robert “Bob” and Toni Mallet. Added to that were ticket sales to the AAEP Vet Story Night at the Convention and other donations.

“If you haven’t made it to Vet Story Night before, we encourage you to get a ticket to enjoy absolutely fabulous storytellers,” said Craig.

Dr. McCue’s State of the Art lecture was well done in theriogenology. Craig said there was something for new graduates to veteran practitioners.

He also said a highlight for him was the President’s Luncheon. “It was good to see our good friend (Dr.) Kenton Morgan be honored this year,” Craig said. Morgan received the 2023 Distinguished Life Member Award.

Dr. Duane Chappell AAEP Wrap-Up

Duane Chappell, DVM, is chair of the AAEP Professional Conduct and Ethics Committee. As a Purdue graduate, he enjoyed alumni night at the AAEP Convention.

Attending Committee meetings was a highlight for him at this year’s Convention. The Member Engagement Committee continues to find new ways for members to be engaged with the AAEP

The Foundation Scholarship Awards gave out a record $530,000 for student scholarships this year, he noted. Twenty-nine exceptional veterinary students pursuing future careers in equine practice shared that total scholarship amount.

While many sessions conflict, many were recorded so you can go back and listen to them later.

Pusterla’s presentations included on Friday, December 1:

  • Investigation of the Systemic Antibody REsponse and Antigen Detection Following Intranasal Administration of Two Commercial Equine Herpesvirus-1 Vaccines to Adult Horses
  • Investigation of the EHV-1 Genotype (N752, D752 and H752) in Swabs Collected from Equids with Respiratory and Neurological Disease and Abortion from the United States (2019-2022).

He also said if you missed the Avenues Internship and Externship night, plan on going next year. “I would encourage students and practices to take advantage of this evening,” said Chappell.

Dr. Chrissie Schneider AAEP Wrap-Up

Chrissie Schneider, DVM, DABVP (Equine), said the whirlwind of activities and seeing friends and colleagues is always a highlight.

Merck’s team kicked off the Convention sessions with the Merck Animal Health-sponsored sunrise session. This session featured Shane Baird, Stacey Cordivano, Wendy M. Krebs, Cara Wright, Michael Clark.
This panel discussion among the practitioners was called, “Updates in Creating a Sustainable Practice Model.”

Schneider said the veterinarians gave personal accounts of how their practices were addressing veterinary sustainability. “It was a popular session despite it’s 6:30 a.m. start,” said Schneider.

Creativity, communication, having a team approach (even if you are a solo practitioner), and boundaries that work for you are key ingredients that the panelists said make equine practice work for them.

She said the keynote speaker fit well with the veterinary sustainability focus. Cassandra Worthy spoke on Master the Chemistry of Change: Uncover Your Inner Change Enthusiasm®.

Merck sponsored an afternoon of presentations on sustainability on Friday afternoon titled. This session was titled “I Am Change: Transforming Your Equine Practice with Innovative Solutions.”

Schneider also said there are several useful tools on the AAEP Website from the subcommittees of the AAEP Veterinary Sustainability Initiative. Schneider serves on the Practice Culture Subcommittee.

She said a Table Topic on Field Neurology by Monica Aleman and William F. Gilsenan was excellent. The good news is if you missed that topic at the Convention, it was recorded from an online live presentation held by the AAEP on December 13, 2023.

Schneider said she didn’t make it to the Burst Sessions on Saturday morning of the Convention, but she is looking forward to seeing these on-demand.

Dr. Philip Van Harreveld AAEP Wrap-Up

Philip Van Harreveld, DVM, MS, DACVS (Large Animal), is a Senior Equine Professional Services Veterinarian for Merck Animal Health.

Van Harreveld said he enjoyed the opening session’s updates on what is going on in the organization. He said starting salaries for equine veterinarians was going up was great news. He also enjoyed the recognition of veterinary students and first-year equine practitioners.

The Kester News Hour highlight was one of Van Harreveld’s favorites this year. He liked the humor and the updates.

He enjoyed his colleague Dr. Cara Wright’s presentations on “Coping Strategies for Managing On-Call Stress in Equine Practice” and “How to Combat Decision Fatigue in Equine Practice.” Those were part of the Saturday morning session titled “Business and Practice Life: Optimizing Personal Wellness in Practice.”

Dr. Cara Wright AAEP Wrap-Up

Cara Wright, DVM, MS, is a member of the Merck vet team. She was a founding member of the Sustainability in Equine Practice seminars. Wright also is a facilitator in the Decade One and Starting Gate programs for equine veterinarians and vet students.

She said a “don’t miss” presentation was “Responsible and Intentional Leadershipo for Early Career Veterinarians” by Jesse Tyma, DVM DACVS (Large Animal).

Wright said a statistic that was quoted in several presentations was from Meggan Graves, DVM, of the University of Tennessee. She lead a table topic on “Emergency Alternatives—Starting an Emergency Practice and Decoupling Emergency Duty from Regular Schedules.

Graves looked at all emergency calls that came into the university over six years and broke down the statistics. She found that 2.6% of equine ambulatory emergency calls came in between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Wright coupled those statistics with information on biologic stressors she presented at AAEP in her talk titled “Coping Strategies for Managing On-Call Stress in Equine Practice.” She concluded that there needs to be discussions around what emergency coverage looks like in equine practice.

“There are solutions out there that could lead to more rest and recovery,” said Wright. She said that can be done while still providing for that relatively small number of calls that come through on ambulatory during those overnight hours.

She said the Emergency Subcommittee toolkits are available for practitioners who are looking for ways to be creative in their emergency coverage.

Another presentation she wanted to highlight was David Hall, BSc, BVSc, MS, DACVR-EDI, who spoke on “The Growing Role of Social Media in Delivering on the Mission of Equine Care.”

Listen to the podcast for more tips on content at the 2023 AAEP Convention.

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