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2023 VHA Expo
2023 VHA Expo
Event Date: 8:00 am, November 17, 2023
Event End: 4:30 pm, November 17, 2023
Registration Begins: 12:00 pm, August 24, 2023
Registration Ends: 11:59 pm, November 8, 2023
Location: Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront
Cost per person ($): $100 for Members, $150 for Non-Members
vha expo 2023

About The Event

All veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and practice managers are invited to attend the 2023 VHA Expo to learn about the latest industry trends, innovative products, services, and programs that will make them successful in the future. Receive CE, network with industry professionals, and improve future patient care, all in one day! This program has been approved for six hours of non-medical and medical continuing education credits in jurisdictions that recognize RACE approval.


Attendees will also have the chance to win 2 tickets to the Eagles final tour! Register by September 29, 2023 and you will be entered into a drawing to win 2 tickets to see the Eagles perform Friday night!



Book your stay for the 2023 VHA Expo at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront in downtown St. Paul, MN. Explore the heart of downtown St. Paul while enjoying the views of the might Mississippi River during your time visiting for the expo! Click here to book your room!

The VHA Expo is among the most highly anticipated events in our local veterinary community. Explore the presentations we have prepared for you this year by reading more below!


"Retention: The Most Important Word in the Veterinary Industry"
by Jenni George, CVPM

Description: The entire world is short-staffed and veterinary professionals are few and far between.  What if, instead of constantly hiring new team members, we keep the great team members we already have?  This session will discuss how to retain the team you have by exploring culture, salary and rewards, and letting go of the anchors that are taking our team down.  

Learning Objectives: 

  • Learn steps to fix a broken culture and build a new one 
  • Discuss the importance of psychological safety 
  • Explore creative ways to reward your team to keep them happy 
  • Be empowered to let go of toxic team members

Human Resources Presentations

"Highly Effective Onboarding"
by Melissa Weber
Description: Have you ever contemplated the reasons behind the swift departure of newly hired employeesIn this discussion, we will explore methods to enhance your onboarding procedures. 

"How Employee Perks and Retention Work Together" 
by Melissa Weber
Description: How can you emerge victorious in the battle of employee retentionIs it possible to offer enticing perks without straining your budgetLet’s delve into creative ideas to achieve this balance. 

"The Fundamentals of Performance Management"
by Melissa Weber
Description: Relying solely on annual employee performance reviews for performance management might cause you to overlook valuable strategies for aligning employee and company objectives. 

"Kill the Cattiness!" 
by Melissa Weber
Description: This session will highlight the significance of self-accountability. “Accountability in the Workplace” entails taking complete ownership of the outcomes stemming from our contributions. 


Wellness Presentations

"Burden Transfer in Veterinary Healthcare Teams: More than Compassion Fatigue"
by Mary Beth Spitznagel, PhD
Description: Introduction to client caregiver burden and burden transfer to the veterinary healthcare team; identification of how points of burden transfer relate to difficult thoughts, feelings, and urges during potential burden transfer interactions.

"ACTion Plan, Part 1: Being Present and Accepting"
by Mary Beth Spitznagel, PhD
Description: Introduction to being present; grounding and anchoring exercises; techniques for noticing the “here and now;” introduction to acceptance; tools to acknowledge thoughts and feelings in potential burden transfer interactions without trying to control; identification of being “pulled in” or avoiding thoughts and feelings. 

"ACTion Plan, Part 2: Unhooking and Observing"
by Mary Beth Spitznagel, PhD
Description: Introduction to unhooking (defusion); imagery and other experiential tools to allow thoughts and feelings to come and go during burden transfer interactions; introduction to self-as-context; techniques for stepping back and observing thoughts and feelings as they occur in burden transfer interactions.

"ACTion Plan, Part 3: Identifying Values and Taking Action"
by Mary Beth Spitznagel, PhD
Description: Identification of personal values related to workplace, how values become derailed in burden transfer interactions, and ways to focus on alternate values. Introduction to committed action; personal identification of values-based action; identification of specific goals that serve the value and actions to achieve value-based goals.



"Meet Cat Needs to Prevent and Treat Most Cat Behavior Problems"
by Katherine Pankratz, DVM, DACVB
Description: Much of cat behavior complaints are the result of unmet needs and misunderstanding of their environment. Take a look back at cat’s “wild side” to see how typical indoor cat life lacks the mental enrichment necessary to prevent and treat the most common behavior problems, including some medical problems too. See how your advice to clients and adjustments in your veterinary clinic could foster less stress—and therefore less behavior problems—in your cat patients. 

"Socialization's Impact on Designing the Best-Behaved Pets and Patients"
by Katherine Pankratz, DVM, DACVB
Description: Prevention is worth an ounce of cure! Recognize how your recommendations during key developmental life stages in dogs and cats can impact their future behavior. Without appropriate socialization, dogs and cats have a higher likelihood of developing unwanted behavior problems including fear and aggression which could result in relinquishment or behavioral euthanasia. Your influence of owner education could help foster that perfect patient that stays in the home and one that returns to your clinic for care. 

"Stoic? Overreacting? Is it Pain or is it in Their Head?"
by Katherine Pankratz, DVM, DACVB
Description: Pain can be subtle to detect. The recognition of pain in our patients is vital when presented with a behavioral complaint. Various assessments and perspectives may be necessary to rule out pain as an underlying contributing factor. 

"COVID Crisis! How to Address Behavior Problems in Undersocialized Dogs"
by Katherine Pankratz, DVM, DACVB
Description: COVID19 and the pandemic lockdown affected all of us in some way, our pet dogs included! Although the lock down has lifted, the impact of its effects on dogs is becoming more evident as these dogs adapt to the “new normal” and many are reaching the age where behavior problems most commonly manifest.  Recognize the critical challenges of undersocialization in the pet population and learn how to approach these cases, as we suspect there will be an increasing number of dogs in the coming years. 



"Cushing's Syndrome Updates: Changes to Treatment and Monitoring"
by Eva Furrow, VMD, PhD, DACVIM
Description: Trilostane is commonly used for management of Cushing’s syndrome in dogs, but its dosing and monitoring recommendations have recently changed. In this seminar, participants will learn how to apply current data to trilostane dose selection and monitoring strategies for their patients 

"Canine Diabetes Updates: A Case-Based Approach to What's New"
by Eva Furrow, VMD, PhD, DACVIM
Description: Continuous glucose monitors, insulin pens, and novel insulin types are recently being applied to management of diabetes mellitus in dogs. In this seminar, participants will learn approaches for using these monitoring and treatment tools to gain clinical control of difficult diabetes cases. 

"Understanding Feline Diabetes and The Role of Bexacat"
by Kelly Makielski, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Description: Feline diabetes is a common and often serious disease. This seminar will provide a comprehensive overview of feline diabetes, focusing on the disease pathophysiology. It will also provide an in-depth discussion of the treatment options available, including insulin therapy and the role of nutrition. We will also cover Bexacat, the first oral drug approved by the FDA for treatment of feline diabetes, with a focus on the pharmacology, appropriate case selection, and available evidence regarding the use of Bexacat in the management of feline diabetes. 

"Diagnosis, Treatment, and Monitoring of Canine Addison's Disease"
by Kelly Makielski, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Description: The seminar on canine hypoadrenocorticism will offer a comprehensive exploration of this complex endocrine disorder in dogs, emphasizing a personalized approach to diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing patient management. With a special focus on monitoring response to therapy and tailoring treatment to each unique patient, this seminar equips veterinarians with the knowledge and tools to optimize the care of animals affected by Addison's disease.



"It's Veterinary Practice, Not Perfection! Coping Compassionately With Mistakes"
by Marie Holowaychuck, DVM, DACVECC

Session Description: As veterinary professionals, we are taught to believe that “practice makes perfect” and that mistakes should be avoided at all costs. But the realities of veterinary practice are far from flawless. Medical errors are common and, combined with perfectionism, can lead to significant psychological distress, and have personal and professional ramifications. Attendees of this keynote will gain an understanding of perfectionism and its consequences, as well as how to successfully recover from mistakes in veterinary practice. 

Session Objectives: By the end of this session, attendees will:  

  1. Understand perfectionism and its impact in veterinary practice, including potential consequences on psychological wellbeing.
  2.  Recognize how common medical errors are in veterinary practice and how they impact members of the veterinary team.  
  3. Learn strategies to overcome perfectionism, embrace mistakes as valuable learning experiences, and recover with a sense of meaning and purpose.

Proudly Sponsored By:


About The Speaker

Jenni George is a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager and Co-Owner of Deerfield
Veterinary Clinic - a mixed animal practice in New Hampshire. She oversees 25
women and one man (her husband) in their busy 5-doctor practice. Jenni also
enjoys speaking about building confident and effective teams and living in a positive
culture. In 2020, Jenni started The Veterinary Survival Show podcast with co-host
Mark McGuann. Their goal is to help veterinary business owners and managers
know that they are not alone and give them inspiration and ideas to thrive in the
veterinary jungle. Jenni lives next to their practice with her husband, 3 children, 7
dogs, 2 cats, and 1 set of grandparents. Organized chaos is a way of life for her and
she loves every minute of it!

Melissa Weber is an experienced HR Specialist with 2.5 years of dedicated service
to the Veterinary Hospital Association members. With a passion for supporting
the veterinary industry, Melissa is a trusted resource for both employees and
management. Melissa is able to provide guidance on HR-related matters, including
performance management, employee relations, recruitment, compensation and
benefits assistance, and compliance with employment laws and regulations.

Dr. Spitznagel completed a PhD in clinical neuropsychology at Ohio University and
Fellowship at Brown University. Her research examines how pet owner burden
impacts veterinary healthcare teams, and establishes evidence-based methods to
decrease burnout. She is Professor of Psychological Sciences at Kent State University
and Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Pankratz graduated with her veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin
– Madison in 2014 and pursued a small animal rotating internship in New York.
She completed her behavioral medicine residency program at North Carolina
State University and became board certifified by the American College of Veterinary
Behaviorists in 2018. She stayed on at NC State for her fellowship and as a clinical
instructor before joining the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, OR in 2019.

Dr. Eva Furrow is an Associate Professor of small animal internal medicine at the
University of Minnesota. She completed her veterinary doctorate at the University of
Pennsylvania and a residency and PhD at the University of Minnesota. Her research
areas include hereditary, urinary, and endocrine disorders.

Kelly Makielski is an Assistant Professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine at the
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Makielski’s clinical
interests include endocrinology and infectious/immune-mediated disease, and
her research interests include exosome biology and translational osteosarcoma

Dr. Marie Holowaychuk is a board-certified small animal emergency and critical
care specialist and passionate advocate for veterinary team wellbeing. As a yoga
and meditation teacher and wellness coach, she facilitates workshops and retreats
for veterinary clinics and organizations and offffers individual and group coaching
and online programs for veterinary team members. She recently launched a new
website ( containing wellness resources for veterinary
professionals and is the host of the Reviving Vet Med podcast, which offffers practical
tools and easily applicable tips for burnout prevention and workplace wellbeing.

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