You know that your veterinarian trained when he or she was getting a degree, but what happens after that? How does your vet learn what is new in medicine for your cat? Continuing education is required for vets in most states, though the hours vary from state to state. One of the ways that vets get their continuing education is by going to veterinary conferences and attending seminars, such as the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) conference that just wrapped up in Orlando yesterday.
At the NAVC conference, the 16,000 attending vets had the chance to take classes about a dizzying range of topics, from risk assessment and treatment of feline cardiac patients to the role of anxiety in feline house soiling. There are plenty of courses about other animals, too, from dogs to chinchillas to dolphins to horses. If your vet was one of the 16,000 who attended, they are returning with lots of information they can put to use right away.
Like most conferences, NAVC has an accompanying expo. It featured the vast array of products you would imagine, like pharmaceuticals, prescription foods, and medical supplies. It also featured some unexpected things like big trucks converted to create mobile veterinary practices.
Among the thousands of products featured at the expo were not one but two new FeLV/FIV rapid tests, Witness from Zoestis and the Abaxis VetScan. Neither of them require refrigeration, unlike the commonly used SNAP tests, so these could prove to be useful, especially with veterinarians who do outreach work for rescue organizations in locations without ready refrigeration.
Watson for Veterinarians
It’s literally impossible for your vet to read every study published in every journal. But a computer can sift through that information, if it’s programmed intelligently. Do you remember IBM Watson, the computer who won on Jeopardy? IBM has teamed up with the new NAVC/AAHA joint VetFolio site to make Watson’s skill at answering questions work for veterinarians as well as game show audiences.
LifeLearn Sofie is an intelligent treatment support tool that uses Watson’s cognitive computing to assess and interpret vast amounts of data and perform research on demand. When a veterinarian asks it a question in natural language, Sofie will provide focused, evidence-based treatment options. With a tool like this, vets have a lot more resources at their fingertips than they can keep in their heads, just by asking a question. That’s an innovative way to use technology to help meet your cat’s health care needs.
Why This Matters to You
Your vet relies on the latest in knowledge and techniques to help make the best treatment decisions and have the best outcomes for your cat. Continuing education helps your vet be ready to provide better treatment options for your cat and more peace of mind for you.