The behavior residents had a busy summer centered on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Annual Convention held in Boston.

Thursday was Resident’s Day which is a resident-only event focused on behavior specific training. This year Dr. Gerry Flannigan and Dr. Debbie Horwitz covered learning theory and current scientific research in the field while Dr. Katherine Houpt presented a review of equine behavior including abnormal repetitive behaviors and welfare implications.

Friday was the Veterinary Behavior Symposium organized by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. The key note speaker was Dr. Ray Coppinger who presented on the domestication of dogs and the evolution of behavior. There were over a dozen speakers, a number of them internationally based.  Hats off to Dr. Colleen Koch, winner of the RK Anderson ACVB Resident Award for her presentation on Training Rhea Americana chicks to walk across a scale for weight assessment.

At the AVMA convention itself there were two full days of behavior presentations primarily focused on dogs and cats.  One of the days was a landmark event concentrating on in depth talks on key areas affecting behavior such as nutrition, pathophysiology and genetics. In addition to the behavior specific tracts, there were other worthwhile lectures scattered throughout the week including topics such as pharmacogenomics and shelter medicine.

All was not work, there was some play (and a lot of eating) including a resident’s dinner at Salvatores,  a dinner at The Daily Catch Seaport sponsored by Hills, the Fear-Free dinner sponsored by Vetoquinol at Morton’s Steakhouse and a night at the New England Zoo sponsored by Merial.  For those of us who stuck around for an extra day, there was also an outing to the New England Aquarium with observation of penguins that seemed bent on helping penguin numbers rebound.

It was a wonderful time to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  Everyone is looking forward to next year’s meeting in San Antonio with the hope of visiting with some of our special friends in the military both human and canine at Lackland Air Force base!

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