Things To Think About While Considering Your Options

How do you decide which animal health events to attend? What’s in it for you, your organization, company, business, or consultancy?


Where Do You Fit in the Animal Health Event Universe?

A list of 2017 US animal health conventions and conferences contains more than 30 events. Held in succession, there would be about one every 12 days. And that list doesn’t include state, local or subject-matter-based gatherings. 

General questions to ask yourself:

  • Is my involvement in animal health broad, narrow, or something in between?
  • Am I more or less comfortable in gatherings of a particular size?
  • Which events do my key customers and advocates attend?
  • Which conferences or conventions are likely to have content and contacts most relevant to me and my work?
  • What are my specific goals and objectives and are they measurable?
  • What’s my budget?
  • How much time can I spend at conventions and conferences?


  • Plan, plan, plan, understanding that taking advantage of unexpected opportunities requires flexibility. Many events feature apps to help you plan and keep up on new developments, schedule changes, sponsored events, lists of exhibitors and, in some cases, lists of attendees
  • Take advantage of cost-saving early bird registration
  • Is the conference or convention a good venue to:
    • Spot industry trends
    • Check out the competition
    • Get hands-on experience with products
    • Make comparisons between like products and services and talk with reps
    • Generate new ideas
    • Evaluate prospective partners, collaborators, and sources
    • Take advantage of conference/convention deals
    • Get more ballpoint pens than you know what to do with

    If you’ve been a loyal attendee at specific events year after year, see if the groove is still right for you:

    • Take another look at the short-, mid- and long-term outcomes of previous years’ attendance
    • Is the conference or convention still a good venue to:
      • Network with your target audience
      • Meet potential customers or clients
      • Generate sales and leads
    • Review the exhibitor list. Who’s new and who’s no longer attending? Why aren’t they?

    If you’re new to animal health:

    • Is the conference or convention a good venue to:
      • Learn more about the scope of the industry
      • Build your network
      • Attend social events
      • Hear what key opinion leaders have to say
      • Check out competitors’ products and services
      • Attend talks and presentations

    If you’re looking for business development opportunities:

    • Use the convention or conference app ahead of time to review exhibitor and speaker lists; schedule meetings. If there’s no app, contact key people via email or phone.
    • Does the event attract the types of potential partners, collaborators, or investments in which you’re interested?

    If you’re a consultant:

    • Does the event attract an audience that’s appropriate in terms of your services?
    • Is there ample time in the schedule to meet with key individuals?

    If you’re an animal health professional whose role is or may be changing:

    • Does the convention or conference attract the type of companies, organizations, potential clients you’re interested in working with or for?
    • Is there ample time in the schedule to meet with key individuals?

    If you’re in a business that supports or could support animal health:

    • Don’t assume animal health is just the critter version of human health
    • Review the exhibitor and attendee lists to target potential customers
    • Prepare marketing materials specific to animal health
    • Use the event app, if available, to set up meetings ahead of time
    • Be prepared for meetings – make sure you understand what target companies do

    If you’re considering exhibiting or you’re an exhibitor revisiting your choices:

    • Evaluate the demographics – do the right people attend a given event?
    • Are there ample opportunities to:
      • Educate customers
      • Prospect for new customers
      • Build awareness of your product or service
      • Generate useful leads
      • Identify potential partnerships
      • See current clients
      • Network with vendors and distributors
      • Scope out the competition
      • ID new trends in tradeshow exhibiting

      If you’re responsible for your company’s tradeshow strategy, look for our comprehensive tradeshow ebook soon. It contains facts, figures, tips and a tradeshow planning guide to help you get the most out of your trade show experience. Click HERE and we’ll send it when it’s available.

Know Your Animal Health Organization Acronyms*

  • AABP = American Association of Bovine Practitioners
  • AAEP = American Association of Equine Practitioners
  • AAFP = American Association of Feline Practitioners
  • AAHA = American Animal Hospital Association
  • AASV = American Association of Swine Veterinarians
  • AAVP = American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists
  • ACVIM = American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
  • ACVS = American College Of Veterinary Surgeons
  • AFA = American Farriers Association
  • AHVMA = American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
  • APDT = Association of Pet Dog Trainers
  • AVMA = American Veterinary Medical Association
  • AZA = Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • IVECCS = International Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Symposium
  • MVC = Midwest Veterinary Conference
  • NAVC = North American Veterinary Community
  • SWVS = Southwest Veterinary Symposium
  • WVC = Western Veterinary Conference
  • WWVC = Wild West Veterinary Conference

*Please let us know what we’ve left off the list.