The XX. Tagung über Pferdekrankheiten which took place on 22 to 23 March 2013 in Essen proved to be an enjoyable and successful conference. With more than 600 attendants from Germany and Europe, 35 nationally and internationally recognised speakers and 45 exhibiting companies, the conference once again fulfilled all expectations. To sum up the numerous reactions: a highly interesting, very concentrated scientific programme, great speakers, a lively discussion and generally a very agreeable atmosphere at the congress centre.
The scientific programme was rich in variety. The arrangement of lectures into blocks with 2 to 3 talks of 15 minutes each followed by a discussion made for a very varied and informative course of events which was rewarded with consistent positive feedback from the attendants.
Anglophone contributions by Bathe, Brink and Hendricks as well as the lectures by young German speakers such as Leite, Gerdes, Geburek and Lichtenberg captured the audience.
Thematically, the contributions on embryo transfer and on Generation Y and their integration into everyday practice were particularly informative and entertaining.
A very constructive discussion between elder and younger colleagues yielded many a valid point and could thus contribute to a better mutual understanding. Veterinarians are only economically capable of paying acceptable wages to their assistants and practice staff if they claim sufficient remuneration for their medical services from the clients.
A colleague from the Stuttgart area said that he has been able to raise contentedness and performance of his staff by implementing a new salary structure which provides higher basic salaries at his clinic, but that on the other hand the returns of his enterprise have declined. Whether he will be able to operate economically with the reduced returns in the long run is yet to be seen. Further similar remarks pointed in the same direction.
On the Saturday afternoon, there were also some eager and controversial discussions. The guidance notes for veterinary due diligence presented by our colleague Schüle (a long-standing visitor of the Essen conference, he already participated in 1975) and the GPM (Association for Equine Medicine), which is chaired by him, were not universally approved by the audience.
Some colleagues expressed their skepticism towards a "set of rules" which may restrict them in their action. Lawyers warned that such guidelines could easily be seen as legally valid policy in the hands of solicitors, lawyers and judges, and that there would no longer be a differentiation between guidance notes, guidelines or directives.
Solicitor Dr. Oexmann points out that "with the intended guidance notes, GPM might place German equine practitioners in a dilemma. It should therefore by all means be avoided that the intended guidance notes are associated with the guidelines of the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany. Otherwise there is be a risk that civil court judges will qualify the GPM guidance notes as liability standard for due diligence according to § 276 Abs. 2 BGB."
Naturally, no solutions could be provided during the discussion. However, those responsible on the side of the GPM could gain some important clues to the direction in which these advisory "recommendations" have to be further developed.
Around 6pm on Saturday, a great number of content colleagues left the congress center, but not before they had accepted a glass of champagne offered by the organiser to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this long-established conference. Many promised they would return to attend the 21st issue of this ever practice-oriented CPD of high scientific quality.
During the conference breaks, the many attendants gathered for coffee and conversation at the trade exhibition in the foyer which was well-stocked with more than 40 exhibitors. From champagne to beer and from "Currywurst" to banana smoothies, manifold delicacies were offered at numerous impressive trade stands and the veterinary clients were very much pampered. By offering a hot lunch at noon, the organiser could keep the number of visitors up even during the lunch breaks. The exhibiting companies were very pleased with this new measure as they appreciated the large numbers of interested visitors at their stands. Next to the two traditional main sponsors Boehringer Ingelheim and MSD Tiergesundheit (previously Intervet), there were many other fine and modern stands which helped to give the exhibition a very positive and friendly atmosphere. The companies Zoetis (previously Pfizer) Elanco and IDT Biologika attended the exhibition as sponsors for the first time as well as the exhibitors from UTC Imaging and Esteve. Mr Trosien from Esaote was highly content with the course of the two days and reported very successful business proceedings at the trade exhibition in the conference foyer. Dr. Stuka from Zoetis was delighted with the exceptionally friendly and relaxed atmosphere during the two conference days.
Overall, a great number of attendants found the atmosphere at this year's conference inspiring and relaxed.
We would like to thank the attendants, many of which have been loyal to us for decades, all our speakers and all industrial partners for their contribution to a particularly successful conference.
The proceedings of the XX. Tagung über Pferdekrankheiten can now be ordered via wak Verlag or bookselling trade (ISBN 978-3-9812848-6-7, 28 Euro).
The Tierklinik Hochmoor is delighted with the many positive comments regarding this year's conference and would like to invite you to Essen already for the next XXI. Tagung über Pferdekrankheiten within EQUITANA on 20 and 21 March 2015.
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