First Canadian Elected to WSAVA Presidency

(15.10.2016) A Canadian veterinarian is the new President of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Dr Walt Ingwersen, a member of the Association’s Executive Board, was elected to the presidency during WSAVA World Congress 2016, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia, from 27-30 September.

He takes over from Professor Colin Burrows and will serve a two-year term. Following qualification from Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) and a year in general small animal practice, Dr Ingwersen returned to the OVC for four years of post-graduate training. 

Dr Walt Ingwersen
He followed this with 12 years in general and referral practice in Canada before going on to hold a range of non-clinical roles.

Among his achievements, he helped to develop and popularize the Global ISO microchip (RFID) standard and bring it to North America – a project which brought him into contact with the WSAVA for the first time. 

He became involved in volunteer veterinary medicine while working with the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association and the American Animal Hospital Association.  He is currently a Technical Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd.

The WSAVA works to enhance the clinical care of companion animals globally, representing more than 160,000 veterinarians around the world through 100 member associations. 

Its core activities include the creation of Global Guidelines which set standards for veterinary care and providing continuing education (CE) and other educational resources for its members, particularly those in which companion animal veterinary care is still emerging.

Dr Ingwersen’s first role with the WSAVA was as a member of its Microchip Committee in 1996.  He later worked as its news editor and webmaster and joined the Executive Board in 2008 as honorary secretary, a position he held for four years.

In 2013, he led the creation of WSAVA Global Pain Council and he remains an active member of this WSAVA Committee. 

As President, he will lead the delivery of the WSAVA’s Strategic Plan, which is focused on engaging the association’s growing membership into an active, connected and supportive global community of veterinary peers.

Commenting, he said: “We have come a long way in a short time - but there is much more to do and we have ambitious plans to continue to drive up standards of veterinary care globally, as well as to achieve the fundamental goal of the WSAVA Strategic Plan, which is to develop our members into an engaged and collaborative community.

We also intend to our make our voice heard on issues that affect our members and impact their ability to care for their patients to the highest standards. 

Our campaign against the proposed rescheduling of ketamine and our new initiative to secure the availability of medicinal products for companion animals to veterinarians wherever they are working are examples of this.

“We are a global family and, by working together, we can make a real difference to the veterinary care of companion animals worldwide.  It will be an exciting two years and I am honored to have this opportunity to serve our profession.”

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