The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)—which embraces 95 member associations that represent 157,800 veterinarians from around the world—works to globally advance veterinary care of companion animals. Each year it holds its flagship event, the WSAVA World Congress, in a different region of the world.
This year, the World Congress takes place in the beautiful and historic city of Cartagena, Colombia, a city I first learned of in my history class as a British schoolboy. The battles of the sailor adventurer Sir Francis Drake in the War of the Spanish Main, and his sacking of the city in 1586, are legendary. Events at sea have recently brought Cartagena into the news once again with the discovery of the wreck of the treasure galleon San José just off its coast. This ship was sunk by the British Royal Navy during its war with Spain in 1708 and is thought to contain billions in gold and other treasure.
WSAVA’s initiatives to improve international companion animal health care are accomplished by its 16 working groups and committees, as well as its dedication to developing and growing veterinary associations and bringing continuing education to developing countries.
The committees and working groups have created a range of resources to support the work of veterinarians in practice. These resources include the WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee Toolkit (wsava.org/nutrition-toolkit) and Global Pain Council Guidelines (wsava.org/guidelines/global-pain-council-guidelines), together with standardized guidelines for the diagnosis of liver and intestinal disease.
If you submit liver or intestinal biopsies, and your pathologist uses our standardized criteria, then you are benefiting from a core WSAVA project. If you belong to the American Veterinary Medical Association or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, or attend the NAVC Conference or Western Veterinary Conference, you are a WSAVA veterinarian.
World-Class Education in a World-Class Location
This year’s Congress, held from September 27 to 30, will be a memorable event for the more than 2000 international delegates who will gather to consume four days of multiple-stream, world-class continuing education from some of the leading lights in the profession, together with a host of other educational experiences.
However, while science and learning are very important, there is so much more to the WSAVA World Congress. For a start, there is the location, and, on top of that, a delightful social program, which will culminate in a magnificent “white” beach party, free to all delegates.
Colombia is inexpensive and getting there is easy—the hotel is just five minutes from the international airport. American and Avianca offer direct daily flights from Miami, and Spirit Airlines flies direct from Fort Lauderdale. This is a better route than changing planes in Bogota.
Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the safest cities in Colombia and a wonderful place to visit. Recently ranked as the world’s second “emerging destination” by TripAdvisor, the old walled city is just a few minutes from the Congress location and beachside Congress hotel. It offers quaint 16th-century plazas, colonial architecture, legendary outdoor cafés, a cathedral, a castle, museums, and great restaurants.
With Cartagena as a base, you are well placed to visit other parts of this fascinating country or take a trip to neighboring countries. The nearby area of Bocagrande offers great shopping, a choice of hotels, and soft sandy beaches.
You may also wish to volunteer for a unique WSAVA initiative—the WSAVA Companion Animal Global Outreach Program, which enables veterinarians and veterinary technicians to work with local animal organizations on educational and clinical programs to improve animal welfare. If you would like to assist with spay/neuter in field conditions, please consider getting involved with Global Outreach.
The World Congress in Cartagena will bring to a close my term as WSAVA president. Therefore, I cordially invite you to visit this beautiful country and help me sign off in style. I cannot promise you Spanish treasure, but I can promise world-class, RACE-approved continuing education; a fantastic international experience among friends; and an alluring destination close to home. What more could you ask? I hope to see you there!
Yours in veterinary medicine,
Colin Burrows, WSAVA President
For more information on the WSAVA World Congress and Global Outreach, visit wsava2016.com. Early bird registration is available until June 1.