The Official Veterinarian (OV) Conference Online returns for 2022 from 27 to 29 September with three days of online content. Organised by Improve International in association with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), it is the only veterinary event dedicated to the CPD needs of OVs, providing an exclusive opportunity to get up to speed on the latest developments and current topics of interest in OV work.
The conference is open to all vets, animal health paraprofessionals, nurses, practice managers and students. The popular online format gives delegates access to the latest developments at the touch of a button – offering up to 18 hours of CPD content with lectures and panel discussions delivered by experts and moderated by Andrew Carrington, who will be returning to chair the conference.
Sue Hay, head of OV training at Improve International, said: “As OVs, we all play a role in protecting and improving the health of our national herd as well as enabling trade with other countries. The OV Conference Online is an opportunity to improve our understanding of diseases and the risks they pose to Great Britain, question the experts and gain greater clarity in how to correctly apply the principles of certification to real life.”
The main topics of this year’s conference include notifiable diseases and disease surveillance, export certification and practitioner well-being.
Notifiable diseases and disease surveillance
Infectious diseases will be at the forefront of the agenda on the opening day. In a fitting start to the conference, which is being held in the same week as World Rabies Day, Luke Gamble from Mission Rabies will discuss its latest projects to eliminate the disease worldwide, while Helen Roberts sheds a light on risk assessing rabies and the pet travel rules.
With ongoing disease outbreaks in Europe – including the current outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) – the programme will also cover the need for continued surveillance and preparedness for notifiable diseases. Christina Papadopoulou’s talk will look at the bluetongue surveillance programme in the UK and Raquel Jorquera will discuss early detection of ASF in wild boar. Back by popular demand, day one will finish with a panel discussion on pet exports and notifiable diseases, during which delegates will be able to pose their questions to the experts.
With ongoing disease outbreaks in Europe – including the current outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) – the programme will also cover the need for continued surveillance and preparedness for notifiable diseases
The morning of day two will be dedicated to TB updates, starting with David Harris, Jenny Diffin and Pilar Romero, who will look at bovine TB (bTB) policy in England, Scotland and Wales and highlight recent and future developments. Zara Gerrard will then consider the evidence for the use of badger vaccination against bTB, while Alison Hollingdale and Daisy Duncan will provide information to support OVs when dealing with a bTB breakdown. The focus on TB will be wrapped up by a panel discussion, in which speakers from the earlier lectures will answer delegate questions on the topic.
In the afternoon, Valentina Vitale will discuss West Nile virus, which circulates across much of southern Europe but thankfully has not been reported in the UK to date. However, as the talk will detail, factors including climate change make it important to be vigilant and keep a close eye on potential spread. Lauren Perrin will explore further the changes in exotic disease patterns in her talk about international disease monitoring.
The export certification requirements that were introduced as a result of us leaving the EU are still proving to be a challenge. Popular speaker Philippa Liles will use her experience as a veterinary officer at the Centre for International Trade to explain the important considerations when completing AHCs.
Andrew Iveson and John Bourne will discuss current problems in export health certification of animal products on day three, attempting to provide practical solutions to some common questions. The pair will then follow this up with a second session highlighting case studies on the topic. Delegates will also get the opportunity to direct their questions to a selection of expert panellists in a discussion on product exports, which will close the conference.
Veterinary work can oftentimes be challenging and supporting the well-being of OVs is all-important. Sue says: “The OV Conference Online is also an opportunity to develop our non-clinical skills and learn some more techniques for building our confidence, as well as expressing ourselves clearly even when the conversation becomes difficult.”
The programme features three lectures on developing non-clinical skills. On day two, Olivia Ogińska will provide insights on how to manage difficult conversations and provide feedback successfully, with a view to ensuring psychological safety and maintaining a positive workplace.
On the final day, Brian Faulkner will lead two sessions: the first will look at how we can mitigate feelings of self-doubt and anxiety, alongside the counter-productive strategies these feelings create. Brian then explores how to build a genuine “24-carat confidence” in his second talk of the day, exploring our perceived understanding of the world, self-efficacy and self-esteem, as well as the interrelationships between the three concepts.
The online platform is immediately accessible to delegates after their ticket purchase, allowing them to explore and view the latest information as it is updated in the weeks leading up to the event. Live presentations will be streamed via Zoom. Although these can be viewed on any device, the use of desktop computer or laptop is advised for the optimum experience.
During each session, delegates can put questions to the speakers by using the Q&A panel. Delegates can also make the most of opportunities to network with colleagues using the discussion forum built into the platform.
Support will be available in the case of any technical issues, and all lectures will be recorded and made available to watch within two working days of the live sessions. These will be available to watch or rewatch on demand for at least six months after the event.
At the end of each day, delegates can complete a short feedback questionnaire in order to access a digital CPD certificate. Each certificate is then available for download and can be easily viewed through a delegate’s profile on the conference platform.
Sponsors and supporters
The sponsors for the OV Conference Online 2022 are PetAir UK, OVForm and ISVPS, and Veterinary Practice is proud to once more be the event’s official media partner. Mission Rabies and VetLife are official charity supporters for this year.
PetAir is a company owned and run by vets, offering a safe pet travel solution to any international destination. Its veterinary team are trained to help pet owners and vets correctly export their pets.
OVForm was founded to support OVs in completing AHCs. The online platform uses a form to collect the relevant information and complete each AHC which can then be printed, stamped and signed, creating a more efficient process for certification.
ISVPS is an organisation dedicated to providing the entire veterinary team with high-quality, achievable qualifications that are recognised worldwide, and works closely with Improve International.
More information about the programme, tickets or answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the OV Conference Online website.
If you are looking for corporate and multiple bookings or if you are a student and want to attend, you can get in touch using the contact page on the website.