WVC welcomes record crowd

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LAS VEGAS — The number of paid veterinarians rose 21 percent at this year's Western Veterinary Conference (WVC). The 77th-annual event grew for the fourth-consecutive year as more than 14,000 attendees convened on the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to take in more than 900 hours of lectures, symposia and wet labs. About 7,050 veterinarians, 1,850 technicians, 800 administrators and 2,850 exhibitors from more than 450 companies were present.

LAS VEGAS — The number of paid veterinarians rose 21 percent at this year's Western Veterinary Conference (WVC). The 77th-annual event grew for the fourth-consecutive year as more than 14,000 attendees convened on the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to take in more than 900 hours of lectures, symposia and wet labs. About 7,050 veterinarians, 1,850 technicians, 800 administrators and 2,850 exhibitors from more than 450 companies were present.

Attendees crowd the Mandalay Bay for hotel check-in (bottom) Feb. 20. About 450 companies were present at the tradeshow (top) that opened the following day.

"We thought it went quite well; attendance soared," says Steve Crane, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, executive director of WVC. "We continue to have growing pains in terms of room size, and that will be something that we address next year. Otherwise, the scientific programs were exceptional."

WVC will continue to tweak its show for 2006; Crane says next year's show will include programming for hospital managers and supporting employees to accommodate the 11-percent attendance surge in support staff.

A consolidated large animal section of the tradeshow is in the pipeline, too.

"We are going to create a one-stop shopping district for people with large animal orientations so that people can go to one place and see all the relevant exhibitors without wandering the 4.1 acres of space," Crane says.

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This year's conference included a tribute to Dr. Ross O. Mosier. The honors were granted to Mosier for his commendable loyalty, vigorous leadership and his dedication to the meeting and profession.

Mosier has been a member of the WVC Board of Directors since 1981. He was president of the conference in 1988 and treasurer from 1989 to 2002. Mosier says in a prepared statement: "I have become more tolerant of my own limitations. I realize that there is much that I don't know, and I strongly suspect that no one else does either."

Building for the future

WVC is poised to break ground on a 61,000-square-foot clinical instruction facility, which will house the show's wet labs beginning in 2007. The Oquendo Center for Clinical Education will include a reception area, an operating suite, imaging center, dental suite, animal management areas, large animal exercise area, multimedia center, overnight accommodations, conference areas, laboratory sections and centers for bovine, equine and small ruminant animals.

When not being used for WVC, the Oquendo Center will be available to outside specialty groups that require an advanced scientific venue for laboratory training on other hands-on curriculum.

Crane says he expects a similar showing for WVC in 2006, and he is confident that the health of the industry will propel positive gains in the meantime.

"Everybody is pretty optimistic. A lot of exhibitors had an excellent show," he says. "Everything in the animal health industry continues to change and consolidate, but I don't see veterinarians struggling for revenue."

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