Press release: NAVC
The North American Veterinary Community concluded its 40th annual Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX 2023) January 18, kicking off the new year with introductions and demonstrations of myriad veterinary healthcare innovations. A record-breaking number of over 28,000 people attended from 78 countries, representing a local economic contribution of $70.8 million.
Trends in noninvasive procedures to diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease and pain management, microsurgery procedures on pocket-sized animals, new approaches to treating aging as a manageable disease, and the critical role veterinarians play in preparing for and addressing future pandemics and their spillover effect topped the agenda. The ’80s-themed conference highlighted the past 40 years of breakthroughs and technologies in the veterinary industry, with celebrity appearances by Kevin Bacon, Cole Hauser and Lady A. VMX 2023, the world’s largest and most comprehensive annual veterinary conference, was held in Orlando from January 14-18 at the Orange County Convention Center.
“The bond between humans and animals has grown tremendously over the past 40 years and animals are not just pets, they are family members,” said Gene O’Neill, NAVC CEO. “The reach of the veterinary industry has exponentially expanded over the past four decades and the commitment to providing the very best healthcare to animals of all kinds has been on full display at VMX 2023, from record attendance, education sessions, exhibits and the incredible excitement we see everywhere.”
With over 50 percent more attendees than previous highs, VMX 2023 shattered attendance records, including a record number, over 9,500, first-time attendees. VMX 2023 included more than 1,300 hours of continuing education in both virtual and on-site sessions.
“Over the last 40 years, we have seen tremendous change in the veterinary industry. Animals are not only living longer, they are living better lives. Dogs are living almost twice as long as they did 40 years ago,” said Dr. Dana Varble, NAVC chief veterinary officer. “A longer lifespan comes with diseases like cancer, arthritis and diabetes. As we have seen over the course of VMX 2023, there are incredible breakthroughs taking place today with new medications designed specifically for cats, dogs, horses, and other species, as well as new medical devices to improve their healthspan and increase lifespan. The more exciting trends this year are non-invasive ways to do surgery, diagnose skin cancer and even understand pain.”
The NAVC also joined with the nationally-recognized DEI program, BLENDVet, to host more than 20 central Florida middle school students for a new Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The event was designed to increase diversity in the veterinary industry in which only 6.7 percent of veterinarians are people of color and 1.2 percent are Black.
“The really exciting thing about the Veterinary Meeting and Expo is that it takes place in January and it really helps veterinarians and veterinary nurses/technicians kick off the year,” said Dr. Varble. “We come here, we learn about new technologies, new medications, new methods to treat animals and we take them back to our clinics knowing we have a whole year to introduce these things to our practice. What that really means for pet owners is that we have new ways to help them and their pet live a longer, happier life together.”
During VMX 2023, NAVC announced a new sustainability initiative and a new, community-based live event program that focuses on topics and trends of interest in local veterinary communities across the country. These events will aim to tackle different needs of the veterinary industry, including patient treatment and the needs of specific members of the veterinary team.