Get Ready for the Veterinary Event of the Year: FASAVA Congress 2023 in Mumbai!

The stage is set for an incredible event in the world of small animal veterinary medicine. The Federation of Asian Small Animal Veterinary Associations (FASAVA) Congress is a significant platform for veterinarians, researchers, and experts to gather and exchange knowledge, discuss the latest advancements in the field, and offer valuable continuing education opportunities. This year, the excitement is palpable as the 11th FASAVA Congress is taking place in the vibrant city of Mumbai, India reports Smita Dwivedi.

Smita Dwivedi
Smita Dwivedi

Dedicated to the development of small animal practice in Asia, South East Asia and Australia. The body was formed way back in 2008 and comprises small animal practitioner groups from India, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand. FASAVA is governed by an Executive Board comprising of 7 members. There are currently 21 associations which are part of FASAVA.

The 11th FASAVA Congress is being held in Mumbai, India from 27-29th October 2023. This will be the largest gathering of veterinarians at a single place. The Pet Practitioners Association of Mumbai (PPAM) will host this global event. Over 1300 veterinarians are expected to attend this event. This Congress will be spread across 7 streams. All the lectures will be held simultaneously. Key opinion makers and knowledge leaders from across the world will be speaking at this Congress.

Stage is set – Its larger than life

This congress promises three days filled with enriching experiences. Dr Mathew Retchford, President FASAVA, and

Dr Gopinathan Gangadharan, Honorary Secretary FASAVA, expressed“We feel confident that all interested vets and vet students will be present for this mega-event,which will be an incredible experience,” they said.

Sharing his excitement about the upcoming event, Dr Makarand Chavan Chair and Organising Secretary, FASAVA Congress, 2023, shared, “It’s a privilege and great honour to welcome all vets, vet students and corporate sponsors from Asia at the 11th FASAVA Congress. With the goodwill of its member associations, across Asia, the FASAVA Congress is proud to bring international speakers to upgrade the clinical knowledge and skills of all the participants in this mega event of Vet Education.”

Get, Set, Go – Be future ready

Dr Jairam Ramani, Executive Member FASAVA Board, India narrated the importance and relevance of such congress and said, “The small animal veterinary practice in India has grown by leaps and bounds. Lots of small animal clinics have opened in Tier 1 and 2 cities across India. Mumbai, NCR, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Kochi and Hyderabad have taken the lead in opening well-equipped hospitals. We will be seeing new multi-specialty practices opening across all cities. Younger veterinarians are looking for specialization at the start of their careers. We are also looking at large hospital chains coming into this field. These chains are being started by companies or a group of veterinarians coming together.”

He further emphasized the corrective measures that need to be taken and said, “As the pet parent becomes more educated and aware, the demand for quality veterinary care increases. The veterinary profession is trying to cope with a sea change in practice and learning about new species, diseases and their treatment. The Veterinary Council of India has proposed changes to the syllabus and also set up minimum standards of veterinary practice. The universities are going into collaboration with foreign universities and trying to teach newer techniques to veterinary students. All these changes will take time. I see good development in dermatology, orthopaedics, imaging, dentistry, cancer care, critical care, cardiology, pathology and ophthalmology.”

The Pioneer – PPAM

Dr Dhananjay Bapat, Hon. President PPAM further shared about the extensive sessions and said “PPAM is the pioneer association that was formed for the up-gradation of veterinary faculty. We are expecting more than 1300 Veterinarians. Almost 200 doctors are coming from abroad more than 1000 are joining from all over India, even North-East. The highlight of this congress is that we are running seven streams at one time, which has never happened in India. We are planning all the international standards for this event and are engaged with more than 20 foreign speakers from USA, Canada, Europe, Sri Lanka etc. We are having numerous hands-on pieces of training on exotics, orthopaedics, and physiotherapy. We always have motivated veterinarians to do their best.” But the main thing that’s required is the educational pattern. We need to add some educational activities related to the MRI, CT scan, physiotherapy and have information added in the syllables that are needed for today.”

Success Plan for going Global

Dr Sunita Patel, Veterinary surgeon; ex -president PPAM explained, “The major cities in India are well equipped to deal with most kinds of veterinary procedures either surgical or medical. Rural areas are still way behind and animal welfare is not a priority of either the state or central government. So, the struggle is still on. A rigid curriculum is short-sighted and the Veterinary Council of India has to give priority to improving veterinary education and animal welfare if you want to compare or compete with global standards. Intensive veterinary care should also be made affordable especially at the university level and at teaching hospitals. PPAM has had a major role to play in bringing veterinary education to where it is today. I have been with PPAM since its inception, and the association has benefited all veterinarians at a social and educational level. The association has made it possible for Indian vets to be recognized abroad and participate and continue education all over the world through its membership with FASAVA and WSAVA.”

Dr Sangeeta Vengsarkar Shah is India’s first Veterinary Cardiologist and PPAM member added, “Watch out for India- this is where the real growth story for pets is! Veterinary medicine is making progress by leaps and bounds, and though challenging to keep up, it is also a very exciting time to be in practice! As vets, it is rewarding to be able to give cutting-edge diagnostics and quality care to pets. Most families consider their pets to be part of their family (hence the shift from owner to guardian or pet parent) and as vets, it is rewarding to be able to do justice to their pets’ health. The Internet and international-level CE conferences have brought unprecedented access to medical information, and we can provide world-class service to pets in India.”

Challenging the challenges

“No matter how diligent and careful you are as a doctor, the profession can be quite stressful. Burnout is another problem faced by Vets due to constant stress on the job. Taking a step back to take stock as well as taking small but complete short breaks does help,” Dr Sangeeta aadded.

Dr Anil Vade, Joint Secretary, PPAM, shared, “Veterinarians in small practice face various challenges. The most common ones are Google treatment, self-medication, client relationship management, liaison with government authorities, maintaining sustainable structure and profitably looking after staff and salary are some of the examples. On a brighter side there is growth in pet practice in metro cities with Multi Vet Clinics & Hospitals on a rise. Healthcare services are being provided for best interest of pet wellness. Even in tier two cities, the future of Companion pet care is positive and encouraging across India.”

Dr Nihar Jayakar, Joint Treasurer, PPAM opined, “There is an urgent need to educate more veterinarians and provide them with the necessary equipment and infrastructure to help our companion animals. It is time for our government to step in and assist. Serious deficits in quality and lack of coordination between Veterinary Colleges, practising vets and their organisations, along with legislative bodies take a toll on policy-making, industry standardizations and day-to-day economics of clinical practice.In general, the lack of respect for veterinary doctors and ignorance towards the facts of veterinary needs and clinical practice by adjoining industries such as pharma, banking and finance sectors etc, lead to a toll on mental and physical health. Standard of care has improved in Metro cities with advance imaging and diagnostics easily available giving pets similar health options as human, not to mention advances in minimally invasive surgical techniques etc. But this is not the case in Tier 2 and smaller cities where they lack basic veterinary facilities. Herein lies the scope of improvement.”

Dr Hitesh Swali Hon. Treasurer, PPAM said, “The biggest challenge for us right now in India is not realising that India has got a different geography and that a lot of medicines and drugs which are available abroad for treatment aspects may not be suited for the Indian climate, specifically for the skin disease and the quality of the drugs available. We need to upgrade the quality.Pet population has increased in India manifold in the last three to four years, specifically after the COVID times, and I have personally seen a lot of pet parents developing in the B and C tier cities.”

For growth ahead

While challenges persist, events like the FASAVA Congress stand as beacons of hope, uniting the veterinary community in the pursuit of excellence and compassion in pet care. Together, the Indian veterinary community is poised to lead the way in providing cutting-edge diagnostics and quality care to pets, with a focus on education and improved standards. By collaborating and sharing knowledge, veterinarians are shaping a brighter future for pet health in India.