Wednesday, September 28th

5:00 – 7:00 PM  Job Fair

Employers and job seekers, you won’t want to miss the Veterinary Medical Alumni Association Job Fair.

It’s not just about jobs. It’s an opportunity to network, learn about opportunities, showcase your practice, discuss externships and summer employment, and more.

All University of Illinois veterinary students will be encouraged to attend regardless of their class year. Practicing veterinarians who are interested in making a change will also be invited. The Job Fair is free to attend for those who are exploring the job market.

Thursday, September 29th

9:00 – 9:50 AM

Controlled substance regulations are essential to comply with, but it is often difficult to determine from reading the regulations how to put them into practice in a feasible manner. This session will cover statistics and examples of the importance of controlled substance security as well as what the basic regulations are and ideas of how to comply with them. Various ideas for different types of practice will be provided.

This lecture will provide a general review on the principles of fluid therapy, review recent literature, and discuss updated recommendations for prescribing fluid therapy in small animals.

10:00 – 10:50 AM

Equine analgesia typically relies on the utilization of medications that provide pain relief through decrease of inflammation (NSAIDs) or through the utilization of sedatives that also contain mild analgesic properties (alpha 2 agonists). There is a stigma attached to opioid utilization in equine patients due to the concerns for the potential increased risk ileus and colic. This lecture will cover a brief review of pain and the pathway of transmission, with a focus on a review of recent literature on the pros and cons of opioid use in this species.

This lecture will provide a general overview on the principles of hemodialysis, review the various modalities available in veterinary medicine, and provide examples of patient criteria and clinical scenarios in which hemodialysis would be recommended for dogs and cats.

11:10 AM – Noon

Your Content Goes Here

Your Content Goes Here

Your Content Goes Here

Your Content Goes Here

11:50 AM – 1:30 PM  Lunch & Alumni Awards

1:30 – 2:20 PM

Signalment, history, clinical signs, and physical examination can often provide clues that allow differentiation of the cause of advanced endocrine disorders, but early detection requires an understanding of laboratory options to correctly diagnose endocrine disorders. Common endocrine disorders will be discussed, along with an update on testing and treatment for animals with suspected disease.

This lecture will discuss localization, differentials and work up for vestibular disease and will be a cased based discussion.

This workshop will define and address the emotional load absorbed when providing care for others experiencing trauma. The emotional burden of responding to the trauma, is further complicated by our individual capacity for empathy. This combination of factors results in both work satisfaction and emotional exhaustion.  Becoming emotionally available to the pain of others, takes a unique toll on the emotional health of the individual service provider.  This workshop will provide a format for tailoring self-care to the individual’s needs. The workshop will provide a variety of resources and a mapping format for constructing a personal self-care plan.

Urinary tract infections (UTI) affect approximately 14% of dogs during their lifetime. Often, major urinary bacterial pathogens of dogs and cats are resistant to antimicrobials commonly used to treat UTIs. In this lecture, we will describe the most common causative bacterial pathogens of canine and feline UTIs and present their antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, and provide treatment options for veterinarians. Lastly, we will discuss the advantages of using nitrofurantoin, as an effective antibiotic to treat UTIs with multidrug-resistant bacteria.

2:30 – 3:20 PM

There are a myriad of identified equine myopathies that result in a great deal of confusion regarding how to confirm and manage the various equine myopathies. The decision tree for appropriate diagnostic sampling and newly available genetic testing will be discussed.

Meningoencephalomyelitis of unknown etiology (MUE) encompasses a group of non-infectious inflammatory central nervous system diseases in dogs. We will describe the most common subtypes of non-infectious inflammatory disease that MUE encompasses, clinical presentation, along with diagnostic and treatment options. The goal of this talk is to provide you with more comfortability in including MUE on your differential list, and to instill confidence in your client communications about this disease prior to referral.

Discussion will include how to interpret grade and margins on biopsies and when to treat MCTs with more than just surgery.

3:20 – 3:40 PM  Break

3:40 – 4:30 PM

Discussion of common equine foot problems to be addressed through the collaborative efforts of the veterinarian and farrier.

This case-based talk will highlight lesions that may appear to be cancer, how to get a diagnosis, and what treatments may be considered depending on the disease process.

Tickets are required to attend this session.

Ticks and tick-borne diseases have been increasing and spreading across Illinois and pose a threat to small animal health. We will guide participants through a simulated tick check on artificial feline/canine patients, identification of “found” tick species using real tick specimens, and discuss potential pathogen concerns and differentials based on the species and feeding duration. Through this hands-on lab, participants will review the most common locations for tick attachment, the frequently encountered tick species and their associated pathogens, and the latest in tick control strategies. We will provide handouts detailing tick species, their ecology, and associated pathogens that participants can use for future reference.

4:40 – 5:30 PM

Cytology is a powerful diagnostic tool, with a large number and variety of sites that can be sampled with aspiration and disease processes that can be elucidated. A systematic approach to sample acquisition and assessment will be presented. The tremendous utility of cytology will be highlighted by case examples and discussion, including diseases ranging from neoplasia to infectious diseases.

6:30 PM  ILLINI Dinner

College of Veterinary Medicine, Basic Sciences Building Atrium

Join your colleagues and classmates for dinner following the conference sessions. You will have an opportunity to reconnect and meet new people – with plenty of time to socialize! Tours will be available to see our new spaces and equipment.

Friday, September 30th

8:00 – 8:50 AM

The hiring market for new graduates is one of the best it has ever been for the profession. How can a practice make themselves stand out when in need of a new associate? What are new graduates looking for in a practice? What are available resources to determine appropriate salary and benefits? This session will cover all these topics and more and will include a student panel so you can hear from those you are looking to hire.

Anesthetic complications happen to the best of us! Whether you’re frustrated with dysphoria, prolonged recoveries, or other adverse events, we’ll cover the most common problems in small animal practice. And you’ll leave armed with a few potions and spells for com batting these complications.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common illness of geriatric pets. This session will cover the in’s and out’s of various traditional and novel CKD therapies. Emphasis will be placed on when therapies should be initiated, therapeutic targets, and monitoring. Therapies addressed will include diet, hydration support, RAAS blockade, antihypertensives, phosphate binders, calcitriol, and therapies for anemia.

Wildlife patients can present to a veterinary clinic with little to no warning. We will discuss triage considerations, opportunities for patient stabilization, opportunities for community support, and regulatory concerns applicable to the private practitioner with an opportunity for short term care for wildlife.

9:00 – 9:50 AM

This session reviews the variety of clinical presentations of heart failure as well as diagnostic and therapeutic options for these patients. The focus is on cases that involve more emergent intervention and stabilization.

The session will have description of the history of FMT, the rationale of FMT administration and a recent experimental evidence for potential efficacy

Maybe you heard the news? – domestic ferrets can be infected with COVID! A more important pathogen for ferrets is ferret coronavirus. Coronavirus of ferrets has a similar epidemiology to feline coronavirus, with an enteric and systemic form. The case presentation, diagnostic criteria, therapeutic options as well prognosis will be discussed for COVID-19 and ferret coronavirus.

9:50 – 10:10 AM  Break

10:10 – 11:00 AM

Giving and receiving feedback is one of the most dreaded tasks in a work environment. This talk presents the feedback process in a new light, with pointers for both delivering it and ways to rethink aspects when on the receiving end. This talk will be informative and entertaining!

Most general practitioners are comfortable to a routine intubation for a surgical procedure. However, there are times that they may be faced with an unexpected challenge with regards to patient airway management due to factors outside of their control (foreign body in the airway, neoplasia, facial trauma, etc). This lecture will review options for airway management and oxygen delivery that can be life saving in those instances that the case in front of them needs immediate intervention to prevent patient decline.

There is a new fungi in the room – Emydomyces testavorans is a newly described fungal agent that is associated with shell infections in aquatic turtles. This lecture will review what is currently known, diagnostic strategies and what to do if you have a case!

11:10 AM – Noon

Noon – 12:45 PM  Lunch

12:45 – 1:35 PM

Educating the next generation of veterinarians, whether clinical experience while in veterinary school or when mentoring new graduates, can be a rewarding aspect of clinical practice. These efforts often necessitate an open, flexible framework designed around mentor and clinical needs. While the relationship between mentor and mentee can be a valuable and satisfying learning experience, it also has the potential to be taxing, time consuming, and frustrating. Ideally, clinical teaching encourages the mentee to participate, problem solve, and integrate knowledge. Tactics used in a controlled university setting can be utilized in a clinical practice with minimal additional expectation on the mentor. Such tactics include thinking aloud, deconstructing and reflecting on an experience, and asking good questions. Preemptive consideration of learning priorities has the potential for mentors to identify relative strengths and areas for improvement, improve mentee experience, foster opportunities for programmatic development, and optimize team dynamics. Independent structured learning tools for students, encouragement of an open dialogue, establishment of expectations early, anticipation of priority conflicts, and identification of teachable moments can aid mentors in defining an efficient, effective, and mutually beneficial educational program, while remaining adaptable to the inherently unpredictable nature of our profession.

Increasing the diversity and inclusion within your veterinary practice makes good business sense. The US Census Bureau reported in 2020 that 4 in ten Americans identify with a non-white racial or ethnic group, and that the rate of diversification of the US population is increasing more rapidly than previously predicted. An inclusive practice is better equipped to meet the needs of a growing population of potential clients. Attendees will enhance their awareness of diversity and inclusion issues in veterinary medicine. A series of self-reflection activities will be employed to understand how unconscious bias and privilege impact the experience of the veterinarian, veterinary staff, and client. Strategies to create a more inclusive climate in your veterinary practice will be discussed.


1. Gain awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine

2. Describe the impact of implicit bias and microaggressions on the health and well-being of our colleagues and clients

3. Explain the role of intersectionality in compounding the experience of oppression and discrimination

4. Use the provided resources for self-assessment of implicit bias and privilege and interpret the findings

5. Identify individual actions that can be taken to mitigate the impact of bias and microaggressions in veterinary educational and clinical settings

6. Learn skills for enhancing empathy across our differences

This session will address many common questions and misconceptions regarding diagnosis, treatment, diet, and many other aspects of cardiac disease in dogs and cats.

This session will be interactive and focus on discussion of specific small animal fracture cases that can be managed surgically and non-surgically in a general practice setting. The session will also review fracture biology and bone biomechanics as they relate to clinical decision making for orthopedic patients.

Exotic companion mammals commonly present with ectoparasites. This lecture will review the common ectoparasites of the common exotic companion mammal species (rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, rats) will focus on cytologic diagnosis, common differentials and best treatment practices.

1:45 – 2:35 PM

This session will focus on the challenges of and opportunities in developing a more direct and informed approach to religious diversity in interacting with clients and caring for animals. Survey data from the past four decades tells us that Americans’ religious and spiritual identities are increasingly diverse. Different religious traditions approach animal-human relationships and the nature of animal life in very different ways. What might it look like to practice veterinary medicine in ways that recognize these differences and attempt to take them into account when developing a plan of care? This session will ask these questions, suggest some answers, and use a case-based approach to developing the necessary skills for communicating productively across lines of religious difference. The session leaders, Yvette Johnson-Walker, Ross Wantland, and Jonathan Ebel have developed and taught a course on the topic for the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine.


1. Enhance the ability of veterinarians and veterinary staff to communicate effectively and empathetically with audiences from diverse religions and spiritual belief paradigms.

2. Develop skills in client-centered communication that elicit discussion of client goals, expectations, perspectives and constraints, considering the human-animal bond and the impact of religion and spirituality on those goals.

3. Increase understanding of client and workplace religious and spiritual beliefs that may influence end-of-life care decisions (e.g., palliative care and euthanasia).

4. Foster cultural competence and inclusivity in professional veterinary settings by demonstrating respect for religious and spiritual belief diversity and value the contribution of that diversity in the workplace.

This session will provide attendees with a practical approach to diagnosing and treating common emergency arrhythmias in dogs and cats.

2020 will always be remembered as the year of the COVID pandemic, but it wasn’t the only infectious disease that was introduced to the United States. RHDV is a calicivirus that has spread across the United States causing mortality in companion rabbits as well as wild lagomorphs. In this lecture, the current literature will be reviewed with a focus on recognizing potential cases, diagnostic protocols and the vaccines available.

2:45 – 3:35 PM

Companion animal medicine is now increasingly including minor species that are part of the client’s family. They are a diverse group that often requires sedation and/or anesthesia in order to appropriately perform even routine examinations safely as well as to perform diagnostics, such as lab work and radiographs. This session will provide an overview as well as some tips and tricks for anesthetizing a variety of these minor species for the general practitioner.

4:30 PM Alumni Celebration

Papa Del’s Pizza | 1207 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL

Join us at Papa Del’s Pizza for our Alumni Celebration! All Fall Conference attendees and guests are invited to attend for free. The number of tickets needed should be indicated during Fall Conference registration.