The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) World Congress will return as a face to face event in 2022 with a focus on highlighting global inequity in access to veterinary medicines.

Its signature ‘Shaping the Future’ session will highlight the serious problems faced by veterinarians in Latin America and other regions of the world in gaining access to essential drugs needed to provide appropriate care for their patients. For example, many veterinarians struggle to access to opioid analgesics to treat pain, resulting in the unnecessary suffering of millions of companion animals.

The Shaping the Future session will be led by Professor Paulo Steagall, Co-chair of the WSAVA’s Therapeutics Guidelines Group (TGG). Both the causes and consequences of the difficulties veterinarians experience in accessing vital medicines will be explored by speakers from different parts of the world and TGG members during the session.

In 2020, the TGG launched the first List of Essential Medicines for Cats and Dogs. Aimed at supporting the availability of drugs required to perform minimum standards of clinical practice, the peer-reviewed List includes both core and complementary essential medicines.

During the Shaping the Future session, Professor Steagall will call for suggestions, comments, and revisions of the current List from individuals and veterinary associations as part of an ‘open audit’ before it receives its three-year update. The TGG aims to publish the revised List in 2023.

Professor Steagall said in addition to the welfare issues caused by the difficulties in obtaining access to veterinary medicines, we should also consider the frustration this causes these veterinarians as individuals as they are unable to provide the standard of veterinary care they have been trained to deliver.

He says, for a profession already under strain, this is just one more burden.

“We are delighted to be putting this issue in the global spotlight during this year’s WSAVA World Congress and hope that our discussions will help to create practical solutions, supporting pharmacovigilance and helping to mitigate the effects of a growing market for counterfeit pharmaceutical products. I would also like to say thank you to Zoetis, Platinum Partner of the WSAVA, for kindly supporting the session.”

Dr Mike McFarland, Chief Medical Officer at Zoetis, said ensuring veterinarians have access to innovative and approved medicines is one way we can continue to raise the standard of care for pets in all parts of the world.

“Highly effective solutions exist for preventable illnesses and chronic conditions like osteoarthritis pain and dermatitis, but unfortunately, many of the smaller markets struggle to get regulatory approvals in a timely, efficient manner.

“We are committed to supporting practicing veterinarians around the world and providing them with the tools and new knowledge they need to deliver the best care options for the animals they treat. With these overlapping interests and respective missions to improve how veterinary medicine is practiced, Zoetis and WSAVA are building a strong partnership that can make a difference around the world.”

Taking place from October 29-31 October in Lima, Peru, WSAVA World Congress offers a packed scientific program in which global experts explore cutting-edge thinking and new trends in companion animal veterinary care. Speakers from Peru and wider Latin America are well-represented with lectures in both Spanish and English.

WSAVA President Dr Siraya Chunekamrai said: “After three years apart we’re all looking forward to reuniting our dynamic global veterinary community in Lima later this year and hope that as many of our members as possible will be able to join us.

“WSAVA World Congress is, of course, an excellent congress – but it is so much more than that. It is an opportunity to learn, share experiences and socialise with colleagues from around the world – and this, in turn, creates the contacts and friendships that go on to enrich our delegates’ careers and lives. We are grateful to our member association AMVEPPA in Peru for all the hard work they are putting into making this yet another unforgettable congress and to our Industry Partners for their support. Lima – we’re on the way.”

Register here for the WSAVA World Congress 2022. Early Bird rates are available until 6 October.

The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 115 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including pain management, nutrition, and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide.

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