WDC conference promotes happy, healthy working dogs

Since 2010, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center has hosted an annual multi-day conference that provides the opportunity to learn from—and network with—leading experts in the working-dog field, including performance dog nutritionists, sports medicine and rehabilitation specialists, emergency specialists, and behaviorists and trainers.

This year’s conference, “Working Dog Health: An Integrative Approach to Building a Stronger Team,” will focus on ways to keep working canines happy, healthy, and ready to work.

The conference runs June 5-8 at the Working Dog Center, 3401 Grays Ferry Ave., and is open to all members of working dog teams, such as handlers, breeders, trainers, veterinarians, technicians, and scientists.

“The 2014 Penn Vet Working Dog Conference offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity right in their backyard,” says Kathleen Kelsey, research coordinator for the Working Dog Center. “Knowledge gained at this conference will drive better care and performance not only in our nation’s working dogs, but in the growing population of high-end competition dogs, including protection sports, flyball, and agility.”

In keeping with the theme of this year’s conference, speakers will discuss ways to prevent injury and illness, as well as maximizing working dogs’ performance through optimizing their health.

“Our goal is to bring awareness to key aspects of canine health, including stress,” Kelsey says.

Stress on working dogs, says Kelsey, can be caused by environmental and nutritional factors, as well as sleep deprivation and different training techniques. To explore these factors, the conference will be broken down into four tracks: behavior, nutrition, sports medicine, and emergency and preventative medicine.

“Our expert panel of speakers will provide attendees with the latest research and case studies as well as exposure to current technologies and protocols for taking care of working dogs,” Kelsey says. “This conference will be a combination of lecture and wet lab, creating the ideal environment for better preparing oneself for the working dogs in your care.”

Attendees can earn as many as 17 hours of Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) credits throughout the conference. An additional six hours of RACE credits can be earned at a scenario-based training session, where participants can engage in real-world search scenarios that will incorporate mock veterinary emergencies, held Sunday afternoon following the conclusion of the main conference.

For more information about conference costs and to register, visit the Penn Vet Working Dog website.

For additional questions, contact Kelsey at 707-701-3390 or kkelsey@vet.upenn.edu.

Working Dog