Saturday, July 25, 2009

The AVMA Conference

There was a lot of this:

and a bit of this:

I attended as an exhibitor, but I did get to slip away to listen to a few seminars. One about puppy socialization, one on dogs that bite, and one about drug compounding. I learned something at each. Such as:

-Some vets recommend keeping a puppy inside and away from other animals until it's fully vaccinated (at 16 weeks old). This seemed extreme to me, but it must be a fairly popular view, because the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior went out of its way to say it believes taking advantage of that window of learning (between 4-16 weeks) for socialization is worth the risk. In other words:

-Take your puppy to puppy class as young as 7-8 weeks old. (With one vaccination and one de-worm under their belt. And choose one that's indoor, on a hard, non-porous floor with puppies of similar age). This makes perfect sense to me, because:

-Many, one study says 40%, of owner-surrenders to shelters are because of behavior problems. In other words, what's the point of isolating your puppy and protecting it from parvo or distemper, if you end up surrendering it to a shelter a year later because it's an unsocialized mess?

Speaking of, my favorite talk was titled "Biting dogs: Do they have to go?" and was given by Dr. Margaret Duxbury. She was a great speaker, very funny, with a lot of stories of her old dachshund Scooter that had the entire audience laughing. I think I'll talk about that in a seperate post.

The drug compounding seminar was interesting. I didn't know much about it before, except that it's somewhat controversial. (Interestingly, there were several compounding pharmacies with booths in the exhibitor hall).

Overall, it was a great weekend, if exhausting (standing for 9 hours at a booth and then going out on the town afterward really wears on you after 5 days, I tells ya). I feel like it took me almost two weeks to recover. It doesn't help that I've been busy since I got home, too. And my computer is STILL broken. Aargh! I haven't had Photoshop for almost a month now. I'm getting the shakes, the withdrawal is that bad. I need help.

I leave you with this pair of cute-on-stubby-legs that wandered past our booth. I thought about having my colleague distract their owner long enough for me to stuff them into my suitcase, but it was impossible; every time they stopped for more than a few seconds, they'd get surrounded by a crowd of cooing vets and vet techs.



Anonymous said...

I very much agree with early socialization, including starting them after one vaccine and worming.

However, in some areas there are parvo strains that, for some reason, are able to infect vaccinated puppies.

That said, early socialization is very important. More dogs die because they are improperly socialized and trained in this country than die from any of those diseases.

CyborgSuzy said...

That's the AVMA's position as well.

Makes sense to me. My informal mental survey of all the dogs I've ever known came up with exactly once case of a puppy getting sick from being in a puppy class.

Meanwhile, the shelter population of 2 year old, boisterous, untrained owner-surrendered dogs remains robust.