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VMX 2024 Showcases Groundbreaking Innovations in Veterinary Medicine to Provide Best Care for Pets

By Pet Age Staff//January 18, 2024//

VMX 2024 Showcases Groundbreaking Innovations in Veterinary Medicine to Provide Best Care for Pets

By: Pet Age Staff//January 18, 2024//

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Press release: NAVC

The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) concluded its 41st annual Veterinary Meeting and Expo (VMX 2024) Jan. 17, kicking off the new year with the latest product introductions and innovations and setting the direction for the $104 billion animal health care industry in 2024. More than 27,000 people attended the event from 82 countries with 8,700 first-time attendees. Nearly 26,000 were in person, representing a local economic impact exceeding $65.3 million.

Across the five-day conference, veterinary professionals learned about the newest technologies benefiting the veterinary industry, most notably breakthroughs in research and advances with artificial intelligence (AI) that allow veterinary professionals to be more efficient and provide the highest quality care to patients. Speakers shared insights surrounding a new bacterial component found in the “mystery dog illness” sweeping the nation, new medications developed specifically for cats and dogs having better outcomes with fewer side effects and a new oral drug class to manage feline diabetes. The “Show of Shows” theme celebrated the innovation, excitement and sharing of cultural traditions in World’s Fair-style featuring a carousel, games and a drone show that lit up the night sky with cats, dogs and other animals. Other trade show highlights included celebrity appearances by Dan LevyTerri and Robert Irwin and Tyler Hubbard.

“VMX 2024 was truly the Show of Shows and brought the best in education and new technologies and products that are transforming veterinary medicine, plus invaluable networking opportunities and headlining entertainment. The size and scope of VMX and its timing, kicking off the new year, enable veterinary professionals to get ahead of the wave with their continuing education requirements. They can take what they’ve learned here back to their clinics and utilize their new skills right away,” said NAVC CEO Gene O’Neill. “At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is provide the best care for pets around the world. The way to do that is through the best innovations and efficiencies, so that veterinarian professionals can spend more time with patients.”

“At VMX 2024, we saw things that once sounded like fantasy now become a reality,” said NAVC chief veterinary officer Dana Varble, DVM, CAE. “We’ve been talking about AI for about five years, but this year, we’re really seeing the evolution of this technology from something very theoretical to something undeniable. Equally as exciting, for the first time ever, we’re seeing medications designed specifically for different species of animals improving the lives of pets and their owners.”

The NAVC is the global leader in continuing education (CE) for veterinary professionals, and this year’s event offered more than 1,300 CE hours at the in-person event. VMX 2024 Virtual included more than 245 virtual sessions and over 200 sessions available on demand. Presented by world-renowned veterinary professionals, sessions covered innovations in oncology, advances in cardiovascular and respiratory disease in dogs and cats, neurological and behavioral problems in companion animals and the latest in animal health, spanning every discipline and species from pythons and bearded dragons to otters and sea turtles.

VMX 2024 Highlights:

  • The VMX Expo Hall featured a record 720 exhibit booths. Companies of all sizes demonstrated life-changing innovations, including the New Product Gallery, which featured 20 companies showcasing 29 revolutionary products. Additionally, the VMX Startup Circle allowed breakthrough companies to demonstrate their newest technology.
  • A broad range of AI technologies were presented that are transforming the veterinary industry, expediting diagnosis and tests and allowing veterinarians to get more detailed results faster than ever.
    • Various exhibitors and presenters shared the implementation of AI to enhance medical diagnoses through MRI imaging and radiology. AI-powered veterinary radiology services were presented that provide rapid, more accurate AI assessments for veterinary X-rays in a matter of minutes.
    • Technology to assess animal pain and help pet owners and veterinary professionals provide the best care to all companion animals.
    • Efficiencies to reduce time spent on administrative services such as using AI to generate medical records and results within minutes, not hours, so veterinarians have more time to spend with patients.
  • Breakthroughs in feline diabetes treatments were shared at VMX. Audrey Cook, DVM, Diplomate of both the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Internal Medicine and professor of small animal internal medicine at Texas A&M University, kicked off a diabetes session about a new class of hypoglycemic drugs for diabetic cats that will make health care safer and more accessible. Dr. Cook predicts that thousands of cats will now live longer and better lives, thanks to treatment options for feline diabetes in the form of two newly FDA-approved drugs that replace twice-daily insulin injections with a pill or liquid to manage blood sugar levels.
  • New medications developed specifically for cats and dogs were exhibited, including advances in pain management related to osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs. A newly approved FDA drug that was specifically designed for dogs will help improve their physical and emotional health while coping with this painful and progressive disease. The once-monthly injection that controls pain associated with OA in dogs will help improve mobility and quality of life of dogs with OA-associated pain.
  • “Mystery Dog illness”: David Needle, DVM, DIPL. ACVP and senior veterinary pathologist at the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, shared findings from his team of a new bacterial component of the canine infectious respiratory disease and the potential to move forward with more studies to characterize the bacteria, which, he said, may eventually lead to a treatment to stop the spread of the disease.
  • Experts in a variety of disciplines shared best practices and new learnings for both traditional pets and exotic species. Stacey Wilkinson, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Reptile & Amphibian) and owner and head veterinarian at the Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital of Georgia, debunked the most common myths about bearded dragons, which are the most popular reptile pet, and expressed the need for more exotic animal veterinarians across the country.
  • Sustainability measures abounded throughout the conference including a sustainability hub in the Expo Hall that featured waste sorting stations, a sustainability pledge tree for exhibitors and attendees and a live art demonstration.
  • The second-annual “Believe & Belong in Veterinary Medicine” event, presented by NAVC and nationally recognized DEI veterinarian certification program blendVET, hosted 80 middle school students from underrepresented communities for a full day of immersive learning alongside veterinary experts.
  • The NAVC Annual Awards Night featured the NAVC Gives Marquee Award presented to Pet Peace of Mind. The national non-profit focuses on enabling individuals in hospice to keep their beloved pets with them throughout their end-of-life journey and ensuring that those pets find new loving homes.
  • World-famous therapy horse Magic the Mini Horse graced the Expo Hall, educating attendees about the importance of therapy animals in crisis.
  • The popular Puppy Playground and CatNap Café showcased local pets available for adoption, with many of the animals involved finding a forever home after the conference.
  • Dogs, cats, horses, cows and more lit up the Orlando sky in a drone show sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.