Dozens of exhibitors—from Acon Laboratories Inc. to Young Again Pet Food—made their NAVC debuts this year with booths set up inside the Marriott World Center convention hall.
Many of the newbies are start-up companies looking to gain a foothold in the industry, while others have displayed at smaller conferences and are jumping to the nation’s largest veterinary trade show. At least one—Lyon Technologies Inc. of Chula Vista, Calif. (Marriott, Booth 4004)—took a few years off before returning to Orlando.
“To be honest, we’re just giving it a shot to see what type of business we can drum up,” said Richard Hogan, sales manager at Lyon, a manufacturer of critical care and incubation chambers.
“I figured we’d do this show, check this out, and then my boss will go to Atlanta,” Hogan said.
Taking place in less than two weeks is the International Production and Processing Expo, which Lyon hasn’t missed in decades. That show is one of the largest in the poultry, meat and feed industries.
For anyone in need of a penguin nebulizer, a unit specifically designed for flightless birds, Hogan is the person to see.
“We worked with SeaWorld to develop it,” he said. “They gave us the size, the dimensions. We let them test it.”
The fact that NAVC is in Florida made the decision to rent a 10-foot booth a bit easier for K9 Carts of Freeland, Wash. The pet wheelchair manufacturer recently opened an office in Port Charlotte, Fla., 120 miles away from the Marriott.
“We knew it was a good meeting, and we’ve been wanting to come to it,” sales manager Krys Parkes said. “Now being in Florida, we knew we had to come.”
K9 Carts (Marriott, Booth 4201) is no stranger to veterinary conferences, having displayed wheelchairs at Western Veterinary Conference and American Animal Hospital Association shows.
“So far, so good,” Parkes said of her first impressions of NAVC. “I’m pretty happy with it. It’s very well run.”
Just 18 months old, NovaVive makes immunotherapeutics such as Immunocidin, a treatment for canine mammary cancer. The product, among four in the Canadian company’s catalog, was acquired from developer Bioniche Animal Health.
“NAVC is huge,” said Jennifer Shea, vice president of business development at NovaVive (Marriott, Booth 4310). “We knew it would be a great opportunity to meet a lot of veterinarians—up-and-coming veterinarians as well as established veterinarians.
“A lot of folks are familiar with these products,” she said, “but because they changed hands a couple of times we have to reintroduce them and familiarize people with the fact that they are available.”
Suni Medical Imaging Inc. (Marriott, Booth 4335) has sold sensors on the human side for more than 20 years.
“We decided to make a concentrated effort to develop the vet market,” said Don C. Jackson, vice president of business development at the San Jose, Calif., company. “This is our first show in the vet area. We haven’t done any advertising or anything else, it’s just been word of mouth.”
Young Again Pet Food (Marriott, Booth 3837) has name recognition among some animal owners but signed up for NAVC to help spread the word to veterinarians about its specialty recipes.
“What we want to [achieve] is to hit a little bit more of the veterinary practice and get the food known out there,” said Michael Massie, president of the Stacy, Minn., company. “A lot of vets are not familiar with nutrition as much as they’d like to be.”
The company’s first veterinary trade show “is an opportunity for us to see what they’re looking for and for them to see what we have,” he said.