AAEP: Convention Wrap-Up


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Close to 5,500 veterinary professionals, students, guests and exhibitors from across the United States, Canada and 46 other countries attended the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 62nd Annual Convention in December in Orlando, Fla. Vet Advantage: American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 62nd Annual Convention in December in Orlando, Fla.

The meeting offered more than 130 hours of continuing education in core areas of equine medicine, including imaging, infectious disease management, internal medicine, lameness and reproduction. In addition, airway surgeon Norm Ducharme, DVM, MSc, DACVS, presented the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture, while ethics speaker Chuck Gallagher delivered the keynote presentation.

“Our tried and true topics, such as colic and lameness, remain popular topics,” says Executive Director David Foley. “However, it isn’t so much the topic as it is the delivery method and attendee experience that is changing. New interactive technology within selected sessions brought additional value and a fresh dimension to the program by enabling audience-speaker engagement through their smartphone, tablet or laptop.

“Attendees are showing strong preference for those topics delivered with a more practical, ‘take it home and put it to work’ type of format, as well as opportunities to interact more with the presenter,” he continues. “We’ve also increased the number of non-scientific topics, such as wellness and ethics, to offer a more well-rounded program.”

In addition to the educational program, the convention offered a variety of social and networking opportunities at which practitioners and students could expand their professional footprint; and a trade show featuring 347 exhibiting companies showcasing products and services for equine practice.


Annual awards

Four AAEP members and two horse industry advocates were honored during the President’s Luncheon:

  • Michael Blowen, founder, Old Friends Equine: The Lavin Cup.
  • Jay Hickey, past president, American Horse Council: AAEP George Stubbs Award.
  • Dennis Brooks, DVM, Ph.D., DACVO: Distinguished Educator Award – Academic.
  • Bill Moyer, DVM: Distinguished Service Award.
  • Glenn Blodgett, DVM: Distinguished Life Member Award.
  • Nat White, DVM, MS, DACVS: President’s Award.Vet Advantage: American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) 2017 Board of Directors

Michael Blowen founded Old Friends in 2003 to provide dignified retirement for racehorses. The center cares for more than 160 horses across three states whose racing and breeding careers have ended. Old Friends is the only Thoroughbred rescue/retirement facility that specializes in accepting stallions, and takes pride in its pensioned classic winners, such as 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, Silver Charm, and 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, Sarava. Known as the AAEP’s equine welfare award, the Lavin Cup recognizes a non-veterinary organization or individual that has distinguished itself through service to improve the welfare of horses.

Jay Hickey’s tenure with the American Horse Council spanned 27 years and included involvement with almost every major federal law and regulation concerning the equine industry. Under his direction, the AHC coordinated economic impact studies at the state and national level, and became a driving force behind the formation of the Congressional Horse Caucus; the Congressional Cavalry; the Unwanted Horse Coalition; and the AHC’s marketing alliance known as Time to Ride, which seeks to increase horse ownership and participation. In recent years, Hickey was a leading voice for establishing the Equine Disease Communications Center, an organization that coordinates and distributes breaking information on equine disease outbreaks across the country. Named for the late artist and educator George Stubbs, the award recognizes a non-veterinarian who has contributed substantially to equine veterinary medicine through leadership, product development, public service, public policy development, volunteerism, advocacy, research or education.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dennis Brooks trained 31 equine ophthalmology residents, educated more than 3,400 veterinary students, and mentored 76 visiting veterinarians at the University of Florida. His research is published in 74 refereed publications and 82 non-refereed publications and book chapters. He continues to lecture around the country in his quest to improve the level of ophthalmic care administered by veterinarians. The Distinguished Educator – Academic Award honors an individual who by his or her actions and commitment has demonstrated a significant impact on the development and training of equine practitioners.

Dr. Bill Moyer is a leading voice for the AAEP’s educational programs, and was instrumental in recruiting up-andcoming academic leaders to become more involved with the AAEP. He served as the association’s director-at-large from 2001-2004 and president in 2011. Additionally, Dr. Moyers’ advancements in lameness and the treatment of foot disorders cemented his position as one of the foremost authorities on equine lameness issues. His research appears in numerous refereed journals, and he remains active in educating the equine community at continuing education meetings worldwide. Dr. Moyer retired from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015, although he continues to serve as a professor emeritus. During his 22 years with the university, he served as the head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences; associate director of the Center for Equine Business Studies; director of the Link Equine Research Endowment; and on the Veterinary Emergency Team, a program that implements emergency response and disaster management for both human and animal populations.


New officers and board members

R. Reynolds Cowles, Jr., DVM, Free Union, Va., was installed as the 63rd president. He is joined as a 2017 officer by:

  • Margo Macpherson, DVM, Gainesville, Fla., president-elect.
  • Jeffrey T. Berk, VMD, Lexington, Ky., vice president.
  • Jack Easley, DVM, Shelbyville, Ky., treasurer.
  • Kathleen Anderson, DVM, Fair Hill, Md., immediate past president.

New members of the board of directors are Leslie Easterwood, DVM, College Station, Texas; and Tracy Turner, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, Stillwater, Minn.

The AAEP’s 63rd Annual Convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 17-21, 2017.