Check back regularly for the latest news tailored to you, the veterinary nurse!
NEW DRUG-RESISTANT STRAIN OF HEARTWORM DISCOVERED IN LOUISIANA DOG
Alarming news coming from Metairie, Louisiana: “Maddie,” a yellow lab, was found to have contracted heartworm despite being on a monthly heartworm preventative. Maddie was a patient of Dr. Cynthia Benbow, DVM, CVA, who suspected the lab had become infected by a drug-resistant strain of heartworms.
To confirm her suspicions, Dr. Benbow sent a sample of Maddie’s blood to Ray Kaplan, DVM, at the Department of Infectious Diseases at University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kaplan’s lab confirmed that the heartworms were indeed drug resistant, making Maddie the first pet in the U.S. to be infected by this new strain. Dr. Kaplan established the strain for research purposes, naming it “Metairie-2014.”
Speaking on these developments, Dr. Benbow said, “It is crucial for pet owners to understand the importance of being on consistent, monthly heartworm prevention and a mosquito repellant. Since this resistant strain was found in Metairie, the double-protection approach is the best way for owners to protect their pets from now on, no matter what time of the year.”
The work of Dr. Benbow to discover this strain is helping researchers at UGA better understand and help solve the problem of drug-resistance in heartworms.
For more information, please click here.
DELIVERING LOVE AND RELIEF TO ANIMAL REFUGEES FROM THE CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES
American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, in conjunction with Chicken Soup for the Soul, the Banfield Foundation, Zoetis, and philanthropist Lois Pope created an outlet to deliver love and emergency relief to animals taking refuge from the wildfires impacting California’s Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
American Humane utilized its new animal rescue vehicle to distribute 3,000 pounds of free Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food to approximately 160 lost dogs and cats at the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center. The donation was part of a national campaign put on by the two parties called “Fill-a-Bowl…Feed-a-Soul,” which aims to deliver one million meals to shelter animals in the greatest need. The campaign had already benefited the animal victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.
The rescue vehicle was funded by internationally renowned philanthropist Lois Pope, while its operational costs were covered by Banfield Foundation as part of its Disaster Relief Grant program. This program is available to nonprofit animal organizations and local or state government agencies whose communities suffer the impact of disasters.
Leading animal health company Zoetis helped sponsor the rescue vehicle used to deliver the food.
“This campaign helps animals when they need help most,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “On behalf of all the beloved pets across the country, a big thank-you to Chicken Soup for the Soul, the Banfield Foundation, Zoetis, and Lois Pope!”
For further details on the relief efforts, please click here.
Earlier this month, the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) announced they had approved a new blueprint for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
Following a review of the validation survey results by the VTNE Committee, it was determined that the system deserved a change. The committee recommended a new blueprint for the exam, which, according to an AAVSB news release, “is closely aligned with the survey data in keeping with credentialing best practices.” The nine-domain structure of the test was verified and will remain unchanged.
The new blueprint will be available on the AAVSB website for VTNE candidates to review following the conclusion of the March 15 – April 15, 2018 exam administration period.
For more information, please click here.
THE NORTH AMERICAN VETERINARY COMMUNITY ANNOUNCES REPOSITIONING OF OFFICIAL JOURNAL: TODAY’S VETERINARY NURSE
ORLANDO, FL — October 17, 2017 – The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) announced plans to introduce Today’s Veterinary Nurse, an official publication of the NAVC, in support of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition led by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). The Coalition is pursuing legislative amendments in all 50 states to establish credentialing of Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN), to elevate both the standard and perception of the profession’s invaluable veterinary technicians.
Endorsing these efforts, the NAVC will reposition Today’s Veterinary Nurse as Today’s Veterinary Nurse with the same high quality, peer-reviewed educational content that has been its hallmark. The journal will be published on a quarterly basis beginning in Winter 2018 and will be supplemented with an increased emphasis on digital communications and a continuous supply of educational content throughout the year.
“The NAVC fully supports a single credential for veterinary nurses nationwide and we believe it will improve the level of patient care, reduce pet owners’ confusion and lead to an improved public perception for the great work these individuals are doing on a daily basis,” said Tom Bohn, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the NAVC.
“NAVTA supports and appreciates the NAVC’s decision to change its journal’s name to add momentum to the Veterinary Nurse Initiative,” says Mary Berg, BS, LATG, RVT, VTS (Dentistry), and President of NAVTA. “The initiative is a veterinary-wide effort and the commitment from organizations to recognize and promote the movement allows the veterinary nurse and veterinary technician profession to continue thriving and advancing.”
“I am thrilled that NAVTA is leading the way with the Veterinary Nurse Initiative. The change to Today’s Veterinary Nurse shows the NAVC’s support and commitment to the profession and this initiative.” said Lynne E. Johnson, RVT, Editor in Chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. This is an exciting time in the veterinary community and NAVC is proud to stand with all professionals across the country to promote consistent educational requirements and unify the profession under a single title, Registered Veterinary Nurse.
NAVTA is the only national organization representing the profession and is actively pursuing the legislative changes, making it difficult for NAVTA to pursue both a name change to their journal and the association itself. NAVTA will proceed with changing the name of its publication and organization after states begin to pass the use of the term “Veterinary Nurse” and the credentialing requirements.
The Veterinary Nurse Initiative working group is co-chaired by Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM, SPHR and Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM).
To learn more about the Veterinary Nurse Initiative, please click here.
BANFIELD PET HOSPITAL, ROYAL CANIN USA AND BLUEPEARL VETERINARY PARTNERS ANNOUNCE SUPPORT OF VNI
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) proudly announced the support and major sponsorship of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative (VNI) by three key industry partners: Banfield Pet Hospital, Royal Canin USA and BluePearl Veterinary Partners. The Veterinary Nurse Initiative Coalition is actively pursuing legislative amendments in all 50 states to establish the name and credentialing of Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN).
“The endorsement by these industry leaders demonstrates just how important we are to a hospital, our colleagues, and the communities in which we serve as professionals in veterinary nursing,” says Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM), co-chair of the Veterinary Nurse Initiative.
For more information, please click here.
UNION FORMATION FOR THE VETERINARY WORKFORCE GAINING MOMENTUM
During the Banfield Pet Healthcare Industry Summit in Portland, Oregon, news began to spread about efforts geared towards the unionization of the veterinary workforce. The push is led by the National Veterinary Professionals Union.
As described by its official website, the NVPU is a “collective of veterinary professionals in the United States open to employee veterinarians, licensed, registered, or certified veterinary technicians, assistants, and other unlicensed assistive personnel.” Its purpose is to work as a collective voice for the veterinary workforce. It serves to “collectively bargain and negotiate for better wages and benefits, safer worker conditions and more workplace support.”
Liz Hughston, a registered veterinary technician, serves as communications director of the NVPU and is a member of the group’s steering committee. The committee also includes Morgan VanFleet, licensed veterinary technician and operations director, and Dr. David Gill, a veterinarian who focuses on safety issues.
Efforts began in Washington state and were positively received, leading to encouragement for regional and nationwide expansion.
In a VIN article, Hughston emphasizes there is much more to fight for than just wage increases: “We’re talking about things like work/life balance, like respecting professional boundaries, like making sure we have safe procedures and protocols in place, that we have safe levels of staffing. We want to provide gold-standard levels of patient care. It’s very difficult for most of us to do that, the way the industry is going right now.”
According to VIN, in addition to efforts to spread the word, a group of volunteers are formulating organizational documents and compiling paperwork to file with the National Labor Relations Board, all of which may lead to the NVPU becoming an officially recognized union. After gaining official recognition, individual workplaces will have the opportunity to unionize themselves.
For more information, please click here.
VETERINARY TECHNICIANS SWEEP INTO ACTION AMIDST CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES
A number of dangerous wildfires have wreaked havoc across the state of California. Responsible for more than 20 deaths and the destruction of thousands of homes and buildings, the disaster has been met with a swift response from emergency workers.
In southern California, a blaze being called “Canyon Fire 2” had burned more than 8,000 acres and was 40% contained as of Tuesday evening, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Animals aren’t forgotten amidst the disaster. At El Modena High School in Orange, California, one of the classrooms had been converted into an animal shelter, where the SoCal Animal Response Team (SCART) was sent by the Red Cross to help care for pets.
According to SCART’s official website, the team’s mission is as follows: “To respond to animal needs and assist other agencies during a disaster or crisis; to educate the public in the care of animals during a disaster or crisis and educate them regarding animal abuse; to provide training to individual owners to take care of their animals at home, and to assist the neighborhood animals before, during and after a disaster; and to offer assistance to cities with animal sheltering, pet response and disaster recovery as needed and requested.”
Among the team members was a veterinary technician, tasked with alleviating the stress of the displaced pets. According to USA Today, as of Tuesday afternoon, the team was taking care of four dogs and two cats, as well as horses, goats and llamas.
For more information, please click here.
NATIONAL VETERINARY TECHNICIAN WEEK 2017
October 15th marks the beginning of a week-long celebration, honoring you, the individuals committed to fostering excellence in the daily operation of veterinary practices. This annual celebration began in June 1993, when NAVTA’s Executive Board passed a resolution declaring the third week of October as National Veterinary Technician Week. Since then, the week has been a yearly opportunity to recognize the critical role vet techs play in providing high-quality care to veterinary patients.
Free media kits are available on NAVTA’s website, intended to “help veterinary technicians focus favorable attention on our profession through a variety of activities.” Among the activities included in the packet are: Preparing for National Veterinary Technician Week; A sample National Veterinary Technician week proclamation, press release, and public service announcement; Event ideas for National Veterinary Technician Week; and Outreach for National Veterinary Technician Week.
According to NAVTA, there are four main goals for these activities:
- Educate the public about this vital member of the veterinary medical team.
- Reinforce the value and professionalism of veterinary nurses/technicians to veterinarians and the public.
- Provide an opportunity for veterinary nurses/technicians to salute one another for excellent performance in their work.
- Acknowledge veterinarians for hiring credentialed veterinary nurses/technicians.
To learn more and get ideas to implement in your practice, please click here to access the media kit.
NEWLY REVISED CANINE VACCINATION GUIDELINES
The American Animal Hospital Association introduced an online (and mobile-ready!) version of the Canine Vaccination Guidelines. According to AAHA, “By converting to a web-based format, the Canine Vaccination Task Force is enabled to provide timely updates on vaccination recommendations, references, and newly licensed biologics for use in dogs in clinical practice and shelters in the United States and Canada.”
The guidelines were created through the work of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Task Force, comprised of experts in the field. The task force was led by Dr. Richard B. Ford, DVM, an Emeritus Professor of Medicine from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
For more information and to check out the revised guidelines, please click here.
UC DAVIS VETERINARIANS REMOVE HEARTWORM FROM CAT’S FEMORAL ARTERY
Stormie, a 4-year-old female Siamese cat, was given a new lease on life thanks to the groundbreaking work of veterinarians at UC Davis. A series of tests revealed that Stormie had an advanced form of heartworm disease. The heartworm was afflicting her pulmonary artery, and also caused pulmonary hypertension. Following an abdominal ultrasound, it was revealed that the heartworm extended into her abdominal aorta and down her leg into the right femoral artery.
The problem in the femoral artery put Stormie at risk for an amputation if swift action was not taken. Cardiologist Dr. Catherine Gunther-Harrington and Dr. Ingrid Balsa of the Soft Tissue Surgery Service, with the help of cardiology resident Dr. Maureen Oldach, “collaborated to successfully remove the 13 centimeter heartworm from Stormie’s right femoral artery without breaking it.”
This particular surgery is extremely rare, it has only been reported on a few occasions in dogs, but never in cats.
For more details about the procedure (including a video) and Stormie’s road to recovery, please click here.
CARDIOLOGY CERTIFICATION: REWARDS AND CHALLENGES FOR A VETERINARY TECHNICIAN
Kristen Antoon, of Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals, has a distinction shared by only a select few. A year ago, she became the 20th certified veterinary technician specialist in cardiology in the United States. In an interview with Tufts Now, Antoon shares her story and discusses the rewards and challenges of her work, while offering advice to other veterinary technicians interested in following her path.
Speaking to the rewards of her job, Antoon explained, “I think for everyone working in the veterinary field, the most rewarding thing is seeing our patients go home and knowing that we gave them more time to spend with their families.”
Conversely, the most difficult part of her work, is “the emotional side” according to Antoon. “Showing constant empathy and compassion goes a long way in helping our clients who may be going through the very difficult time of caring for a sick pet, but I have to be sure my own emotions don’t get the better of me.”
When asked what potential vet techs need to possess in order to specialize, Antoon listed three attributes: “drive, perseverance, and motivation.” She references the great deal of work that goes into earning a specialization, including three years of cardiology experience, a lengthy application process, and authoring countless case reports and logs.
For the full interview, please click here.
AVMA AND NAVTA PARTNER FOR CLOSER COOPERATION
With the goal of enhancing and supporting the entire veterinary healthcare team in mind, the AVMA has partnered with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). This partnership will allow NAVTA to take advantage of AVMA’s professional association management expertise.
According to a news release from AVMA, in return, the partnership will “help the AVMA amplify [its] support of AVMA member veterinarians by establishing more open lines of communication with the technicians who are integral to [their] veterinary teams.”
Speaking to the genesis of the partnership, Dr. Tom Meyer, AVMA President for 2016-2017, said, “It is only natural that our organizations support one another, we have worked closely with NAVTA for many years, and I am looking forward to strengthening this partnership, which serves to benefit all of our members.”
For more information about this new partnership, please click here.
The CAPC recommends annual testing for tick-transmitted pathogens, “especially in regions where pathogens are endemic or emerging.”
In compliance with this recommendation, IDEXX has introduced an innovative new test that provides extensive results quickly and easily. According to Dr. Beall, the concept for the SNAP 4Dx Plus Test was client-driven: “We recognized that vets are constantly getting questions from clients about ticks and tick-related diseases.”
So what sets this test apart? Both veterinarians and veterinary technicians can administer the test and it is unique in how quickly and easily it can be administered, as Dr. Beall notes, “It can be done right in veterinary hospitals and only takes about 10 minutes.” In addition, the results are extensive: “In a single visit, you can test for up to 5 different types of tick related diseases, get the results, and consult the client.”
It is Dr. Beall’s hope that by making this test part of a client’s yearly visit, vets are given the chance to educate their clients about tick-related diseases and what to be on the look-out for.
For more information about the SNAP 4Dx Plus Test, please click here.