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Last week I was lucky enough to attend BEVA Congress with work. Having never been before, I was unsure what to expect but it turned out to be a very good day out!
BEVA congress is held over several days and is open to vets, vet students and journalists. There are many lectures, demonstrations and lots of stalls to wander around and learn more about technology and products available to you as a vet. The company I work for had a stall there but I got to wander around the other stalls and talk to people about what they do.
There were lots of feed companies there, which gave me another opportunity to discuss Scottie’s weight and diet, which has led to more free feed samples for Scottie to try, including a chaff from Thunderbrooks which includes I think 12 different herbs! So he is going to be a bit spoilt over the next weeks. However, after talking to all these feed companies, it became clear that Scottie doesn’t need a change in diet at all. Which is always nice to know, although many of the companies suggested one of their feeds to swap on to, but they all seemed to be very similar to what I am already feeding.
It was also interesting talking to several supplement companies there. Many of them only sell to vets, which struck me as a bit odd. Supplements is a huge business in the UK with owners buying all sorts for their horses, many of which the horse does not need or might not even work. Because of this, my initial thought was that it is an odd idea to not sell directly to horse owners because in theory you are guaranteed to make money of gullible horse owners… However, because the market is so competitive they decided to only sell to vets to essentially earn the horse owners trust that the product works as their vet has recommended it. The vet can then make more money from selling these supplements to the horse owner. So everyone is happy.
The people I spoke to about these supplements also made it sound like a lot more research goes into creating their supplements. I don’t know how much research goes into making your bog standard supplement. But these supplements sold only to vets definitely had an educated approach to creating it. One woman I spoke to said that they use research to determine what ingredients they use and to justify how much of each they use. However, I don’t think anyone I spoke to said that there was any research to say that the product actually works. Which I thought was interesting.
I also spoke to a company who have just launched a new app on Iphone and will be launching it on android soon which |I think could be a good tool if used by a large amount of people. It sounds a bit like stable mate (possibly made by the same people I can’t remember) but everything you enter about your horse/pet can also be seen by your vet. Which means that your vet can use this information to help determine what or why your horse may have developed a problem. I’m keeping an eye out for this app and I think it has been developed by Zoetis, but I’m not sure! If you think you found it do let me know!
It was a really good day out and next year I think I’m going to see if I can go for the whole weekend and get to a few lectures as I think it is fantastic for horse owners to see what is available to them (albeit through vets and farriers.) If you ever get the opportunity to go I highly recommend going!