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Highlights and Trends from the Veterinary Industry’s First VMX

By Pam Foster
March, 2018

The entire industry was buzzing the first week of February as the 2018 VMX (Veterinary Meeting & Expo) kicked off the year’s conference and trade show season. Vet Advantage was there to take in all the new and returning highlights, and we’d like to tell you all about it.

As a Distribution Sales Rep (DSR), you may have already heard about new product launches, new CE programs, and other industry news that affects the practices in your sales area. We assume you’d like to stay in the know, even if you weren’t at the event, so you’re keeping up with important industry trends and themes.

A record-breaking inaugural event with nearly 18,000 VMX attendees

First, the event broke records for attendance at an industry conference, with nearly 18,000 veterinary professionals. The new location in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center offered plenty of room for more exhibitors than ever before (close to 800) in total.

And, not only did this year’s Expo Hall include many new product and service launches from well-known, major industry brands as well as small, little-known, up-and-coming brands — there was more space for demonstrations, hands-on “try before you by” opportunities, and on-site learning experiences.

One of the most exciting sections of the Expo Hall was the NAVC Innovation and Technology Center, which featured selected new solutions in the Startup Circle.

Perhaps many of the veterinary professionals from your territory came from the VMX with interest in all kinds of new exhibits in the following categories and many others:

  • Air sanitizers and disinfectants
  • Anesthesia
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Architecture
  • Chemotherapy
  • Client communicationsVMX 2018
  • Cloud-based software
  • CT imaging
  • Dental products
  • Diagnostics
  • Finance companies
  • Fitness
  • Homeopathy
  • House call systems
  • Imaging
  • Kennels
  • Laser equipment
  • Medical collars
  • Medications
  • Mobility
  • Nutrition
  • Pet insurance
  • Practice marketing
  • Pre-clinical research
  • Recovery cones
  • Risk management
  • Skin lesion treatments
  • Staffing
  • Therapy wraps
  • Treats

Be sure to check your distribution catalog and other resources to catch up on all the new solutions available in 2018! And, you can check out all the 2018 exhibitors online.

Besides the buzz about new product launches, several VMX announcements caught the attention of thousands in our industry. We’re sure you’ll be hearing plenty about these initiatives if you haven’t already… and your customers may have questions about them.

For instance:

  • AAHA@VMX: AAHA brought its 2018 CE learning programs under the VMX umbrella, offering special programming throughout the week.
  • Today’s Veterinary Nurse debuted as the new name of the NAVC journal formerly known as Today’s Veterinary Technician. The name change supports the national Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition’s pursuit of legislative amendments to establish credentialing of Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN). 
  • Veterinary Leadership, Inclusion and Diversity took center stage: Several tracks and programs were presented during the VMX with the mission of fostering diversity in the workplace and boost innovation, engagement, and financial performance across all industry organizations.
  • Human-Animal Bond Certification (from HABRI and the NAVC):

Practice team members were encouraged to become Human-Animal Bond certified and set themselves apart, because, according to HABRI (the Human Animal Bond Research Institute):

  • 66% of pet owners (77% of millennials) would have a more favorable view of their veterinarian if they discussed the health benefits of the human-animal bond with them, and
  • 61% of pet owners (74% of millennials) would be more likely to visit their veterinarian if they discussed the health benefits of the human-animal bond with them

If your customers are interested in this Certification, direct them to the NAVC web page for details: http://navc.com/learningacademy/hab/.

  • The 2018 Veterinary Emerging Topics (VET®) Report was released: This collaborative effort between Banfield and the NAVC “shines a spotlight on antimicrobial resistance in feline patients” and offers updated data and guidelines for practice teams.
  • A new PetsPAC initiative was announced: The Veterinary Innovation Council (VIC) has launched a political action committee to generate public policy that supports veterinarians, animal health, pet owners and pets. The aim is to address state-level legislation on the way “companion animal issues are handled.” Stay tuned for developments on the PetsPAC efforts.
  • 2018 State of the Profession Findings revealed: Chris Kelly, Group Publisher at the NAVC and Vet Advantage, has spent the last year talking with market analysts and trend-watchers to develop a clear picture of our future. He said at the VMX, “The pet industry consumer is a huge and changing dynamic that will affect the future of your practice and your career,” and presented a symposium along with David Sprinkle, Research Director from Packaged Facts, Michael Dicks, PhD, Director of Economics for the AVMA, and Chris Ragland, CEO of Animalytix and Vetalytix. (We’ll have much more on their findings in upcoming blog post this month.)

 Many of these topics will be discussed at the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) and at other events throughout the year, across the country and beyond. Therefore, when visiting your customers, ask if they’ve heard about new products and industry initiatives for 2018 – and if they have any questions. You never know; it may open a discussion about opportunities for the practice and for you!

Topics: Conferences and Trade Shows, NAVC, VMX

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