2020 OV Conference goes digital - Veterinary Practice
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2020 OV Conference goes digital

In this fast-moving and regulated area, the OV Conference Online is your best opportunity to stay informed on the most recent developments to affect the profession and your role within it

The Official Veterinarian (OV) Conference, an annual event hosted by Improve International in association with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), is moving online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the only event dedicated solely to the CPD needs of OVs, the conference provides a unique forum in which OVs can discuss current topics of interest and recent developments in their work, as well as gain exclusive offers from industry-leading sponsors and exhibitors.

The 2020 OV Conference will offer up to 25 hours of CPD with live lectures, workshops and Q&A sessions from world-class speakers in small animal, farm animal and equine streams. There are two ticket types available: the first will allow you to attend all sessions (up to 25 hours of CPD) throughout the week, or you can get a more tailored ticket allowing access to only the equine stream on Friday 2 October 2020 (4.5 hours of CPD). The CPD can count towards OV revalidation qualifications, but you don’t have to be an OV to attend – the event is open to all vets, as well as animal health paraprofessionals, nurses and practice managers.

“The OV Conference is an important event in the calendar for Official Veterinarians, and we recognised that it was vital for us to adapt in order to help you to continue learning and gaining CPD safely,” says Sue Hay, Head of Official Veterinarian training at Improve International. “Speakers, sponsors and delegates alike have so far welcomed the decision, and we are certain that the OV Conference Online will be just as successful, enjoyable and informative as the face-to-face event would have been.”

The online nature of this event brings with it many benefits. Using a Moodle site to host the conference, there will be six sessions every day, each lasting 45 minutes and including a live Q&A session after each presentation. In addition to the live content, delegates will also be able to view recordings of all the sessions on-demand for three months following the conference, up to 31 December 2020.

Networking is a key part of any in-person conference, and the OV Conference Online has been built in a way to provide plenty of opportunities to discuss the most recent developments within the profession with colleagues throughout the week. Such opportunities include live Q&A sessions with speakers after each presentation, but also workshops, an online forum and a Sponsors’ Area, where sponsors will be available to discuss the products and services they offer. Delegates can also find exclusive offers from sponsors in their virtual conference bag.

Lecture streams

Across three streams over five days, the main topics covered at the 2020 OV Conference Online will include notifiable diseases, biosecurity and disease control, and export certification.

Small animal (days one and two)

The OV Conference Online will begin on Monday 28 September 2020 with two days of content for small animal practitioners. Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), will give an opening address. Infectious diseases will be at the forefront of the programme on day one, with talks on bartonellosis, rabies and tuberculosis by Ian Wright, Samantha Holland and Conor O’Halloran respectively. Gail Camp will be discussing the management of illegal puppy imports coming through Dover and the APHA virology team will be giving a topical update on coronaviruses in livestock and other mammalian species in this stream.

On the second day, Claire Wade and Linda Smith of the APHA will give guidance on what to do if you suspect a case of rabies. Ian Wright will give a second presentation, this time on the threat of leishmaniosis in the UK, and Alasdair Macnab will discuss the changes in attitude in practice about biosecurity over the years. Lesley Larkin will be looking at public health considerations linked to raw pet food and the current control measures in place. Exports will be a hot topic, with talks by Neil Forbes on avian exports and by Philippa Liles on issues occurring during pet exports which have been highlighted by audits.

Farm animal (days three and four)

Wednesday 30 September sees the beginning of the farm animal stream of the OV Conference. With an opening address by the UK’s CVO, various topics will be covered. APHA TB Advisors will be giving TB policy updates from England, Scotland and Wales and Juan Herreros will be presenting case studies showing the use of whole genome sequencing in bTB field investigations. Lourdes Leon Fabregas will be discussing the events of the avian influenza outbreak in December 2019, from the first report to the lifting of restrictions. Julia James will describe common and notifiable diseases in backyard pigs, Andrew Iveson will be looking at common problems with product exports and how to deal with them and Paul Gethings will be discussing the courtroom experience.

On 1 October, the second day of farm animal content, Anne Tordoff will be talking about issues in certification and planning for farm animal exports highlighted by audits. Claire White will discuss best practice for on-farm killing and what OVs need to know, Alasdair Macnab will be giving his talk on biosecurity again in this stream and Alan Wight will be discussing miscellaneous and exotic farmed animal disease surveillance and recent post-mortem findings. Claire Wade and Linda Smith will detail what happens when a case of bluetongue is suspected and James Russell, BVA Junior Vice President, will discuss the future of OV capacity post Brexit.

Equine (day five)

The equine stream takes place on Friday 2 October 2020 and equine specialists can purchase a special one-day ticket for these lectures. The main themes of this stream are equine welfare, exports and infectious diseases. After the opening address by Christine Middlemiss, Laura Trigg will give a topical talk on the welfare implications of the coronavirus pandemic on equines. Allison Williment will discuss whether shorter journeys protect the welfare of equines when being transported, and Balazs Toth will be looking at the future of equine exports. Richard Newton will be giving an update on equine endemic and exotic diseases, and Claire Wade and Linda Smith of the APHA will be looking at what to do if you suspect a case of African horse sickness. The last lecture on day five will be looking at the newly introduced export health certificate (EHC) online application system.


A selection of workshops will also be taking place at the 2020 OV Conference Online. These will each be limited to 20 attendees to allow for interactive and inclusive discussions. Conference ticket holders should apply for places via email. If you are unable to get a space at a workshop, the main topics and a summary of the content covered will be added to the discussion forum afterwards, and the facilitators will be contactable after the workshops to continue the conversation.

To find out more about the 2020 OV Conference and book your tickets, visit their website.



Protexin Veterinary is dedicated to producing innovative research-based products of the highest quality that emphasise its guiding philosophy – science and nature in balance.


World Horse Welfare is an international charity whose values are grounded in pragmatism and compassion that strives to support and improve the horse-human partnership in all of its guises.



PetAir UK specialises in offering all that is required to safely and correctly export pets. PetAir UK can offer flights, crates, vet work, permit applications and transport by road.


Pets Abroad provides personalised and professional pet export and import services, sending pets all around the world and also ensuring their smooth arrival
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PLH Medical Ltd is one of the leading suppliers of X-ray imaging equipment and solutions across its markets in the UK and internationally.

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