AVA Annual Conference

2019 AVA Annual Conference Perth

The AVA Annual Conference is the largest veterinary conference in the region and is traditionally held in May each year.

The AVA Annual conference rotates around Australia's capital cities with an average of 800 delegates and 1,400 event professionals attending.

The scientific program offers a stellar line-up of local and international speakers, eight concurrent streams and 200 scientific sessions, specialist workshops and field trips and a social program bursting at the seams.

It boasts the largest veterinary exhibition in the country with over 100 exhibitors and over 155 trade booths.

Find more information visit the conference website.

Past AVA Conferences

For handbooks and programs for past conferences visit conference.ava.com.au.

2018  Brisbane

The 2018 AVA Annual Conference featured an exciting new format and attracted over 750 delegates and 1200 veterinary professionals.

The AVA recognises that passion for our profession is important for driving constant improvement, inspiring innovation and enhancing career satisfaction. This year, delegates had an opportunity to share their passion with the inaugural  ‘VetEd’ talks. This series of eight, 10-minute talks provided an opportunity for veterinarians to share inspirational stories or food for thought with their peers. The audience will have the opportunity to vote on the most popular talk.

Additionally, the new AVA Poster Competition enabled veterinarians to gain recognition for their research or clinical work while promoting their professional profile.

Within the body of the scientific program, there were two mini-workshops on wellness and resilience. The plenary sessions featured a range of speakers, designed to share cutting-edge science and promote lateral thinking. Jordan Nguyen, the NSW finalist for Australian of the Year 2017 and virtual reality engineer, provided a glimpse into the future. Dr. Jennifer Whelan, an organisational expert specialising in corporate diversity, inclusion and innovation talked about unconscious gender bias and what we can do about it. Dr. Jenny Brockis discussed the science of high-performance thinking, sharing science-based strategies for thinking smarter, innovating more and working more effectively so you can enjoy that elusive ‘work/life balance’.

The Ben Cunneen Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Jakob Zinsstag, of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. His research focus is One Health and zoonoses, particularly in developing countries.


2017 Melbourne

The 2017 AVA Annual Conference in Melbourne was a huge success attracting over 920 delegates, 100 local and international speakers. The trade exhibition sold out in December 2016 and was the largest in AVA Conference history with 114 exhibitors/151 trade stands..

The conference was opened by the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria who was welcomed by AVA President, Dr Robert Johnson.

Dr Mark Schipp, Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer gave the opening plenary on antimicrobial resistance strategies and plans. Dr Chris Baggoley discussed One Health: a personal perspective from a veterinary graduate. Dr Tony Fernando reviewed the psychology and neuroscience of happiness research and strategies. Dr Andy Roark motivated the audience to commit to their passion for veterinary science, to connect with their clients and to communicate more effectively with co-workers, peers and clients.

International speakers included Safi Barakzai, UK (equine, industry, dental) Stephan Carey, USA (small animal), Peter Edmondson, UK (cattle), Martin Godbout, CAN (behaviour, practice management), Sean Wesley, UK, (welfare and small animal) and Andy Roark, USA (practice management).

The social program was once again a highlight with the Welcome Reception and Exhibition Opening, Meet and Greet Dinner, Accompanying Guests morning tea, Monday-Wednesday Happy Hours, VIP Dinner at Rivers Edge and the ‘Bright Light City’ Gala Dinner held at the Crown Palladium. There were 10 special interest group social events, 5 alumni events and the AVA Orchestra concert.   

There are a record thirteen workshops, field trips and tours: cattle, equine, small animal, conservation biology, practice management, public health, acupuncture, animal welfare and ethics, behaviour and dental.

2016 Adelaide

The 2016 AVA Annual Conference, 22-27 May was held at the Adelaide Convention Centre.   

The conference brought together over 780 delegates, 101 exhibitors and 110 local and international speakers updating the profession on best practice from around the globe.

Professor Darryl Mills (University of Tennessee) led the small animal stream. He shared his knowledge about rehabilitation for a range of conditions including fractures, neurologic and stifle conditions. Dr Lori Bidwell (East West Equine Sports Medicine), focussed particularly on anaesthesia, analgesia, equine neuropathic pain and management of anaesthetic complications.

Professor David Main (Bristol University) discussed a range of welfare topics, from quality of life assessment, certification schemes, animal welfare governance and the role of the farm animal clinician in welfare. In the behaviour stream, Dr Xavier Manteca (Barcelona School of Veterinary Science) addressed the always tricky problem of feline aggression, behavioural problems caused by stress in dogs and cats, preventative behavioural medicine and welfare of dairy cattle.

Professor George Stilwell (Lisbon University) shared his expertise on ruminant welfare in the sheep and welfare stream, covering topics such as animal welfare and profitable farming, lameness in small ruminants, not-so-common indicators of poor health and welfare and animal-based measures. Dr Amanda Donnelly, author of 101 Practice Management Questions Answered, guided everyone through developing a highly successful, problem-solving team in the practice management stream.

The daily plenary sessions delivered entertainment and stimulation. Professor Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre for Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, explored the toll of knowing you are sick, and its implications for acute and chronic pain management. Peter Greste, journalist spoke about “Personal excellence in a time of crisis; insights from an Egyptian prison”. Adjunct Professor Bernard Salt, known for identifying and tagging new tribes and behaviours, provided a lateral perspective on modern trends. Professor Martyn Jeggo delivered the Ben Cunneen Memorial Plenary on disease surveillance: where are we and where we need to be – and what role does one health play?

Comedian and New Inventors host James O’Loghlin was co-host the member forum with AVA director James Gilkerson. This year saw a bold new strategy for the AVA. 

On top of all this, the conference offered a program packed with outstanding local and international speakers, the largest veterinary trade exhibition in the Southern hemisphere, and an unmissable social program, workshops and field trips.

2015 Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference Brisbane

In 2015 the Australian Veterinary Association Ltd (AVA) and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) combined to host a Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference, 24-29 May 2015 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. This event has been held once every five years.    

There was no theme in 2015 except for the expectation that we shall share hot topics, strategy, solutions and camaraderie. It was remarkable, although perhaps unsurprising, that the two associations have so much in common and coming together to share experiences and learning is a unique opportunity.

The joint scientific committee put together a stimulating program leaving delegates with some tough decisions about which stream to attend. Update their skills and learn some new ones; get involved in debates about the future of the profession and challenge your respective association to deliver what you want. The NZVA-AVA members forum was a must attend event as well as enjoy arguably the best line up of plenary speakers ever.

Evenings were spent at the Welcome Reception and the many special interest group dinners culminating in the “Pirates and Pearls of the Tasman” Gala Dinner. The trade exhibition was the largest ever with 93 exhibitors.

Delegates could also choose from nine workshops and field trips ranging from small animal, practice management, cattle, behaviour, public health, unusual pets and poultry, equine, dental and acupuncture.

Brisbane was a great destination and so close to many of Australia’s favourite holiday spots.

The 2015 Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference (Pan Pac) attracted a record number of 1,121 paid delegates, 106 local and international speakers and 93 exhibitors. 124 paid delegates were from New Zealand. In total over 1,518 veterinary professionals gathered in Brisbane at the largest veterinary conference ever in the region.

2014 Perth

What does “What’s Best Practice?” really mean?

How do we continue to provide excellence in animal care and welfare and still make our business thrive, our employees engaged and inspired by their work, and our clients satisfied?

Is “Best Practice” simply about applying the latest in research and development and cutting edge science to your workplace? Or is it about job satisfaction and a manageable life-work balance?

What is “Best Practice” when it comes to dealing with our growing pool of young veterinary graduates? How can we best combine our passion for caring for animals with the economic pressures of the modern world? How do we care for our own environment and open our eyes and resources to problems outside our shores, in a feasible manner without compromising the quality or standard of veterinary care we provide to those that need us?

The 2014 AVA conference will allow us to explore and debate some of the practical and theoretical dilemmas faced by the veterinary profession in the 21st Century.

This conference, we invite you to reconsider the benchmarks, the gold standards and the boundaries you work within.

The conference will be held at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre (PCEC) which is situated in the heart of the beautiful city of Perth overlooking the Swan River and is in easy walking distance from Perth's major hotels. Perth is a city buzzing with a new energy reinvigorating visitors with its sophisticated style, cleanliness, clear blue skies and pristine coastline, yet the relaxed lifestyle and friendly vibe remain. With 16 international, five domestic and 11 regional airlines it is easy to get to and once you are there you will enjoy one of Australia’s sunniest capital cities.  

Copies of the 2013 Proceedings are available to members for free on the VetEd library at http://www.ava.com.au/AVA_Resources. Non-members may purchase a CD copy for $90 plus GST by contacting events@ava.com.au.

Views presented at AVA conferences are the views of the individuals and not necessarily the view of the Australian Veterinary Association.

Cairns 2013

With a theme of "Into the future" over 780 delegates, 130 speakers and 107 trade exhibitors flocked to the 2013 AVA Annual Conference at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Leading international welfare and behaviour expert, Temple Grandin, joined our international line-up of speakers including Jon Bowen, Jim Stowe, Bayard Rucker, Genevieve Fontaine, Stephanie Hansen, Steve Marsden and Dwayne Rodgerson.

Delegates learnt about nuclear medicine, pluripotent stem cells, epigenetics, new vaccines and more.

With eight consecutive streams and 200 scientific sessions to choose from delegates were spoilt for choice. There are eight specialist workshops and field trips providing hands-on experience across a diverse range of specialities and breakfast and industry lectures that will bring you up-to-date with what’s new.

The plenaries included "Into the future - survival of the veterinary profession" with business futurist Craig Rispin. "Pluripotent stem cells in veterinary medicine" with Professor Martin Pera, "Thinking like an animal" with Dr Temple Grandin and "The future of the profession - staying health and happy" with Dr John Jacobson. The Ben Cuneen Memorial lecture was delivered by Dr James Gilkerson on "Through the looking glass - the future of science in the Australian veterinary profession".

The 2013 AVA Annual Conference proceedings are now online at http://www.ava.com.au/AVA_Resources.

Canberra 2012

In 2012 nearly 800 delegates, 130 speakers and 110 trade exhibitors took came together for the 2012 AVA Annual Conference at the Canberra Convention Centre – 20–25 May which focussed on the important theme of Sustainability. The world is changing, and a discussion of where our profession will fit into a changing world is vital to our future success. In a world where the population is ever increasing, where information is available to everyone, and where public perception is becoming more and more important, we need to take a step back and look at where we do and should fit in.

Starting at a new time on the Sunday afternoon, Professor Joe Brownlie CBE addressed the topics of “Who Owns Disease” and the role of the veterinarian in a changing world. On Monday, Professor John Webster – one of the team that developed the “5 freedoms” discussed welfare and the sustainability of agriculture.

Other plenary sessions included a look at the political sustainability of our profession by Senator (and AVA member) Chris Back, and a look at the sustainability of veterinary practices in the face of infectious zoonotic diseases by a well-known face at recent conferences Paul Baker.  

Included in the scientific program amongst a vast array of practical surgical and medical presentations (sustainability of the individual!) were discussions about the sustainable use of wildlife, sustainably feeding 9 billion people, sustainable use of antibiotics and sustainable education of veterinarians. The program had something for everyone, with 17 different groups having had input into more than 180 hours of presentations.

The program boasted an outstanding line-up of Australian and international speakers, a welcome reception, meet and greet dinner, church service, 12 special interest group and alumni dinners, a gala dinner at Parliament House sponsored by Guild and workshops and field trips on equine lameness, holistics, equine pathology, behaviour, practice management, dental wetlabs and a holistics kayaking case study.



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