Dear colleagues and fiends
Every four years ESVOT and VOS, the North American sibling of ESVOT, organise a joint meeting, to promote high-level education and scientific exchange in all fields of orthopaedics and traumatology. In this context, I would like to acknowledge the late Geoff Summer-Smith, who first brought up the idea of a World Veterinary Orthopaedic Congress in 2002. I feel that sharing and living common values and putting them on the podium of an international high-class conference is more important than ever before, at a time where the tendency of some people is to wish for separation and isolation.
For the first time, we offer simultaneous translation into four languages (German, Italian, Spanish & French). We believe that this will allow more people to join us and to further enrich our family of veterinary orthopaedic experts and orthopaedic-oriented practitioners from across the world. The spirit of WVOC is that mixture of voluntary engagement and enthusiasm of over 70 internationally recognized speakers, who willingly share their time and knowledge with us, without any honorarium. This has always been the tradition of ESVOT, and we feel deeply honoured by their overwhelming response to our call.
Because this year it is a WVOC, everything is a little bit different. The congress starts already on Wednesday with labs (both dry- and wet-labs). Satellite seminars on Thursday morning mark the start of the theoretical sessions. We are very happy that the Veterinary Wound Healing Association accepted our invitation to organize one of these seminars, strengthening the topic of soft tissue trauma, which might have been a little neglected in the past.
As is to be expected from ESVOT and WVOC, we have booked an impressive line-up of ‘state-of-the-art’ lecturers. Joan Monilau will speak on joint injuries in the human athlete, Martin Fischer will provide his unique insights in to canine locomotion, Michael Ross will reflect on career learnings in lame horses, and Dror Paley will discuss correcting limb deformities in people.
A new venture for ESVOT and WVOC on Thursday evening will be the “Clinical Arena”. In this session the ever-controversial topic of “The best approach to manage cranial cruciate ligament deficiency” will be debated by a panel of internationally-renowned surgeons. Sparks might fly but all in the name of friendly debate!
Because the research session, which was first introduced in 2016 at the ESVOT congress in London, was very well received, we decided to further adopt this format, focusing on ex vivo modelling of stifle function, this time. The intention is to provide a podium, similar to an expert panel meeting, to hopefully come to a consensus of “best research practice” in stifle joint testing. That stream will be followed by a clinical study and outcome session, focusing on the concepts and methodologies to carry out clinical trials as well as presentations on the outcome of clinical case series.
For the first time, we reserved a dedicated slot for our supporting companies, where they can present their products, surgical techniques and latest results to their actual and future customers.
Over the last decade, most orthopaedic surgeons focused on dogs, while perhaps neglecting the feline patient. However, at least in Europe, cats are common patients in every orthopaedic service and this is why we have put together a separate programme covering exclusively feline traumatology, neurology and joint disease. Being more a cat than a dog man, I am happy that the WVOC supports the standing of cats in this way, hoping that more and more surgeons will recognize that cats can be very demanding and challenging orthopaedic cases.
Attracting equine surgeons to the ESVOT congresses has become more and more of a challenge. Equine practitioners might not be focused as much on orthopaedics compared to small animal surgeons, and the competition with other congresses makes it hard to continue the founding ideal of ESVOT, to have joint meetings between small and large animals. I deeply hope that the WVOC and the embedded equine programme will resuscitate the equine patient within ESVOT to a level that continued care will be enthusiastically pursued in the future.
As is the tradition, the congress would normally end up with a formal gala dinner, some speeches and gift presentations. However, times are changing, and we want to attract, not only our long-standing friends and supporters, but also the youngsters. Therefore, we arranged for a party, with buffet and a DJ. Barcelona with its lovely atmosphere, great weather and the feeling to be surrounded by friends and colleagues sharing the same passion will make this night to be remembered, I am sure. Of course, such a meeting would not be possible without the efforts of all my colleagues on the Boards of VOS and ESVOT, the Secretariat, the speakers and all our sponsors; I thank every one of you.Peter Böttcher
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