Veterinary Anesthesia Leaders From Around the World Descend on Grenada for AVA Meeting

St. George’s University served as the center of a worldwide veterinary anesthesia discussion as more than 100 veterinary experts traveled to Grenada for the semi-annual Association of Veterinary Anesthetists (AVA) conference. Customarily held in Europe where the organization was founded, the Spring 2018 meeting however marked the first time in the organization’s history that the conference was held in the Caribbean.

“We are very proud to be sponsoring this congress here in Grenada. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase not only SGU but also our beautiful island,” said Dr. Neil Olson, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “St. George’s provides the perfect platform for members of the veterinary anesthesia community to collaborate and offers great levels of exposure to different veterinary professionals from around the world. Hosting the AVA group also speaks to the quality of our vet school and to our presence throughout the globe.”

Themed “Anesthesia and Analgesia—Myths and Misconceptions,” the three-day conference featured lectures and abstract sessions from a wide range of delegates. Presentations included “Evaluating recovery of horses from anesthesia: moving beyond the subjective” by Dr. Stuart Clark-Price, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine; “Safe anesthesia in young children: what really matters” by Prof. Markus Weiss, Anesthesiologist-in-Chief, University Children’s Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland; and “Pain in Mice and Man: Ironic Adventures in Translation” by Dr. Jeffrey Mogil, Canada Research Chair in the Genetics of Pain at McGill University.

“I’m increasingly speaking at veterinary meetings I presume because of the Mouse Grimace Scale, which has gotten me the attention of the veterinary research world,” stated Dr. Mogil. “Although most of my talks are to a human anesthesiologist audience, I enjoy even more speaking to veterinary groups than neurologists, psychologists, and anesthesiologists. This is because I get to see firsthand how interested people in other research communities are to what I study, and the questions and feedback are always completely different and usually more useful than what I get from the standard audiences.

“Additionally, this is also a lovely opportunity for me to branch out, and on the other hand, I get to give a veterinary audience like this something that is beyond the usual affair and hopefully useful for their thinking as well.”

Dr. Karin Kalchofner Guerrero, Associate Professor in Veterinary Anesthesia at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, served as Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, working diligently to arrange the meeting for which SGU and the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort in Grand Anse served as hosts.

“We are extremely pleased with the success of this event, which proved to be beneficial for both the AVA and SGU,” commented Dr. Guerrero. “We received plenty of positive feedback, with attendees complimenting our scientific program, the social events and of course the beauty and hospitality of Grenada. Additionally, many of our European participants were first-time visitors to Grenada and the Caribbean, therefore we hosted the first two days of the meeting on the SGU campus, giving them a chance to visit our picturesque University’s grounds and to interact with faculty, staff, and students.”

Usually convening in such locations as Paris, France; Helsinki, Finland; and most recently in Berlin, Germany, the AVA meeting provides a venue for veterinary interns, residents, and practitioners to exchange ideas, expand their knowledge, and develop new skills. The AVA Autumn 2018 meeting will be the World Congress of Veterinary Anesthesiology (WCVA), which takes place every three years and is scheduled for Venice, Italy, followed by the Spring 2019 meeting to be held in Bristol, United Kingdom.

– Ray-Donna Peters