Past AVA annual conferences

The 2019 AVA Annual Conference left delegates left blown away when TED Talk speaker Nigel Marsh took to the stage and gave us some food for thought for leading a healthy life and successful career.

8 courageous and inspirational fellow veterinary professionals also left delegates with ideas about the profession and themselves during their 10 minute VetEd Talks which this year was upgraded to a plenary format. The scientific program was also undeniably world-class, as we had the latest findings and thinking presented in sessions throughout the week.

Some of the other highlights included:

  • Innovation Symposium | Sunday 5 May 2019 9.30am – 4.45pm
    The latest from industry and researchers as they presented their clinical research and findings directly to the profession.
  • Food Security Day – Thursday 9 May 2019 8.00am – 4.30pm
    How is the world going to feed itself into the future and what is going to be the effects on the environment, animal and human welfare and biosecurity? Delegates considered the crucial food security issues facing humanity up to 2050.

    During the day a series of experts from around the world reviewed the ‘assets’ available to meet this need and to consider the environmental, welfare and biosecurity implications. They presented global perspectives whilst also highlighting the Australian perspective and the role of our animal industries.
  • AVA Poster Competition | Monday 6 May until Thursday 9 May 2019, 2.00pm
    Showcased clinical research from veterinarians and a great opportunity to raise their professional profile at Australia’s largest gathering of veterinary professionals.

2019 conference handbook 

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.

Provet Partners in Practice Article

What a conference! Congratulations to the hard working scientific committee who did an exemplary job of preparing a diverse and engaging program.

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 was 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.

If you missed the conference or one of the plenaries, you can still access them.

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 the 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, the 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, a 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-hosting 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.

Vets from Australia and New Zealand came together to attend the Pan Pac Veterinary Conference, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest animal health conference and trade exhibition.

The Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference was a collaboration between the Australian Veterinary Association and the New Zealand Veterinary Association. It was held at the Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre 24-29 May 2015.

The conference brought together over 1,110 delegates, 90 exhibitors, and 114 presenters and covered the latest in veterinary science for animals of all shapes and sizes.

Keynote speakers include Professor David E Anderson, University of Tennessee, Dr. Daniel Chan, Royal Veterinary College in London, Assistant Professor Meghan Herron, Ohio State University, Professor Josh Slater, University of Cambridge, along with an array of other health experts including:

  • Professor Peter Doherty AC, University of Melbourne, who shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize for discovering the nature of the cellular immune defence.
  • Professor Peter Collignon, an infectious disease physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital.

The 2014 AVA Annual conference was held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on 25-30 May 2014 attracting 1,200 veterinary professionals including 730 delegates.

Plenary speakers were Sean Aylmer, group director of business media – Fairfax Media, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Professor Fiona Wood and the Ben Cunneen Memorial Plenary with Deborah Middleton. International speakers included Associate Professor Jason Coe, Professor Derek Knottenbelt, Dr Martin Whiting, Dr Patrice Mich, Dr Gary Landsberg and Dr Mark Rinshniw.

The conference them was "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 allowed us to explore and debate some of the practical and theoretical dilemmas faced by the veterinary profession in the 21st Century.

Copies of the 2014 Proceedings are available for free on the VetEd library. Non-members may purchase a CD copy for $90 plus GST by contacting

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

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 learned 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 specialties 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 healthy 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 in the Vet Ed Library under the Vet Ed tab.

  • Members can access the proceedings free of charge, you just need to be logged into the AVA site.
  • Non-members can purchase the proceedings for $90 + GST by contacting Kandy Musgrave, National Events Manager, on

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 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 teams 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 nine 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 wet labs and a holistic kayaking case study.

800 delegates attended the 2011 AVA Annual Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre. A major theme for the conference was Evidence-based medicine and our opening plenary discussion “Evidence from a Scientific perspective” delivered by the hugely popular Dr. Normal Swan, signalled the start to an exciting, varied and comprehensive four day lecture program offering over 199 sessions and 20 streams of the most up-to-date and cutting-edge information that can be used on a daily basis by a wide variety of different veterinary practitioners in private practice and covering a range of topics including government service, undergraduate education, welfare, food safety, the pharmaceutical industry and conservation biology. This year’s conference also celebrates the Year of the Vet 2011, a significant milestone in veterinary education since the first veterinary school was established in Lyon France in 1761 and the formation of the Australian Veterinary Association in 1921.

International speakers and sessions on animal behaviour by the behavioural expert Dr. Jacqueline Neilson, nutrition and animal health for sheep, cattle and equine by Pennsylvania’s State University’s Dr. Robert Van Saun, tumours, teeth and reconstructive surgery sessions presented by specialist veterinary dentist Loic Legendre and Hill’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Hahn. Dr. John Madigan the Head of the University of California’s Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team will present on Fire and Disaster Management & Equine Transport and Dr. Dru Forrester, a Small Animal specialist, will discuss complete clinical examinations and talk on the topic of arthritis. Topics as diverse as advances in acupuncture treatment for greyhounds were presented by Dr. Huisheng Xie who is a leader in his field.

The AVA joined with the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) to present the Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference with 965 attendees.

The conference theme, ‘Embracing Challenges’ kicks off with the opening Plenary Address by Professor Frazer Allen on the Key drivers for change and new skills required to embrace emerging challenges facing our profession. Plenaries also included Hypothetical: My kingdom for a horse – the veterinary profession and the law, moderated by Dr. Ian Robertson from MAF Enforcement.

We also welcomed international keynote speakers Alan Guthrie (equine), Doug Thamm (small animal oncology), Dean Richardson (equine) and Sarah Heath (small animal behaviour). You can also catch up on the latest practice management tips with Jane Shaw and Thomas Catanzaro.

Year City Year City
1990 Townsville 2006 Hobart
1991 Sydney 2007 Melbourne
1992 Adelaide 2008 Perth
1993 Gold Coast 2009 Darwin
1994 Canberra 2010 Brisbane - Pan Pacific with NZVA
1995 Melbourne 2011 Adelaide
1996 Christchurch - Pan Pacific with NZVA 2012 Canberra
1997 Brisbane 2013 Cairns
1998 Sydney 2014 Perth
2000 Perth 2015 Brisbane - Pan Pacific with NZVA
2001 Melbourne 2016 Adelaide
2002 Adelaide 2017 Melbourne
2003 Cairns 2018 Brisbane
2004 Canberra 2019 Perth
2005 Gold Coast 2020 Gold Coast
2004 Canberra 2021 Sydney (AVA Centenary)