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Fall 2021

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Stepping Forward

Kara M. Burns MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

The veterinary nursing profession is full of strong-willed, loving, smart individuals. Even when it might be hard to keep going in this profession, perseverance persists.

NAVTA Corner
Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Making Strides Toward Optimal Utilization

Ed Carlson CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Ed is the director of technician learning and development for Ethos Veterinary Health and VetBloom. He is also the 2020 president of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association and the treasurer of the New Hampshire Veterinary Technician Association. Ed has served on multiple NAVTA committees and is the 2020 NAVTA president-elect. He obtained his VTS (Nutrition) in 2014 and lectures frequently at local, regional, and national veterinary conferences on a variety of nutrition topics. Ed was also the recipient of the NAVTA 2019 Technician of the Year award.

There are many ways to promote proper veterinary nurse/technician utilization, and it starts with bravery, pride, and education.

Fall 2021, Featured, Exotic Medicine , Nutrition

Avian Nutrition: It’s for the Birds

Kara M. Burns MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

Pet bird owners influence their bird’s diet and therefore have a major impact on their birds’ health and longevity. Educating the owner on proper nutrition is one of the most important roles of the veterinary healthcare team. 

Fall 2021, Parasitology

Roundworm Infections in Dogs

Ann Wortinger BIS, LVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM, Nutrition)

Ann is a 1983 graduate of Michigan State University and got her specialty certification in Emergency/ Critical Care in 2000, in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2008 and in Nutrition in 2013. In 2017 she attained her Fear Free Level on certification, and has since moved into level 2.

She has worked in general, emergency, specialty practice, education and management. Ann is active in her state, national and specialty organizations, and served on the organizing committees for Internal Medicine and Nutrition. She has mentored over 20 fellow VTSs and has worked on a variety of committees and positions. She is currently an instructor and Academic Advisor for Ashworth College’s Veterinary Technology Program, as well as an active speaker and writer.

Ann has over 50 published articles in various professional magazines as well as book chapters and a book, Nutrition and Disease Management for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses in its second edition in 2016 coauthored with Kara Burns. Ann received the 2009 Service Award for her state association (MAVT), the 2010 Achievement Award for the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT), and in 2012 received the Jack L. Mara Memorial Lecture Award presented at NAVC.

Her fur/feather/fin family consists of 4 cats, 2 domestic geese, 14 chickens and a pond full of goldfish.

Preventing roundworm exposure through diligent fecal pick-up, year-round monthly preventives, and always treating dams and puppies before and after delivery are the best ways at keeping dogs infection-free.

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

The Euthanasia Experience

Valarie Adams CVT

Valarie Adams is a CVT with over 40 years working in veterinary medicine. Graduating from the Medical Institute of Minnesota in 1973 puts her in the “aged but still useful” class. Throughout her career in veterinary medicine she has worked with large and small animal, emergency and critical care, and delivering in-home veterinary hospice and palliative care. Valarie has lectured on end-of-life topics nationally as well as written and co-written for textbooks on pet hospice and facilitated pet loss support groups. She fills her soul with her horses, as well as volunteering on a Native American reservation and gathering with free-spirited, wise women. You can also find Valarie at confidesinanimals.com.

Euthanasia is not just a medical event, it is a complex procedure. Emotions are high all around and communication and empathy are your biggest allies.

Fall 2021, Featured, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Improving Health Literacy in Veterinary Medicine

Christina Melvin CVT, LVT, MPH, EdD

Dr. Christina Melvin works as a full-time high school biomedical science instructor and part-time general practice veterinary nurse in Northern Virginia. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Worcester State University, Master of Public Health from the University of New England, and Doctorate in Education for Health Professions from A.T. Still University. She is a CVT in Massachusetts and LVT in Virginia. Dr. Melvin’s professional interests include One Health, health literacy, and health education. She previously started and directed a high school veterinary assistant program in Massachusetts, and is passionate about introducing veterinary medical careers to young students.

Refraining from using medical jargon, presenting clients with written and visual materials, and employing the teach-back method will make sure your clients are on the same page as the veterinary team.

Fall 2021, Preventive Medicine

Feline Panleukopenia Virus

Sabrina Klepper LVMT, VTS - Clinical Practice (Canine/Feline)

Sabrina is a senior veterinary technician (level 1) at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center, where she began working in 2004. She works with the community practice rotation, teaching students the value of preventive health care. Her special areas of interest include feline-friendly and low-stress handling of patients, as well as nurturing the human-animal bond. 

Veterinary nurses who understand the FPV disease process and supportive care that must accompany treatment of FPV-infected cats will be able to provide excellent nursing care for the patient.

Continuing Education, Fall 2021, Featured, Rehabilitation

Key Components of Canine Gait Analysis in the Rehabilitation Exam

Wendy Davies CVT, CCRVN, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation)

Wendy has been a veterinary technician for more than 25 years. She began her career in a private practice setting before moving to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine as an anesthesia technician. She was lucky enough to move around the veterinary college in different capacities, including research, orthopedics, and shelter medicine, and finally found her niche in rehabilitation. She helped develop the rehabilitation department at the university and has seen it grow and expand tremendously. Wendy is a charter member and the current president of the Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians.

The gait analysis is one of the most important components of a physical rehabilitation examination because it allows the veterinary nurse to narrow possible causes of an abnormal gait and help obtain a diagnosis.

Fall 2021, Gastroenterology

Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Sequelae

Kelly Hickey CVT

Kelly’s veterinary career spans 18 years, covering corporate practice, disaster response, community  veterinary care, and private practice. She became a CVT in 2008. She has worked with the ASPCA and FBI to oppose blood sports, puppy mills, and hoarding, as well as with the USDA, where she was recognized for her role in stopping the outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in 2015. She has also volunteered across the world with Animal Balance, helping with their spay/neuter program for indigent communities. She is currently pursuing VTS certification in internal medicine, is a RECOVER-certified rescuer, and actively teaches the RECOVER guidelines. She has a Himalayan cat named Blue. He had small cell lymphoma, which helped drive Kelly’s interest in IBD.

This case report highlights the difficulty in managing multiple comorbidities.

Fall 2021, Clinical Pathology

The Veterinary Nurse’s Guide to Fecal Flotation Techniques

JoLynn Haller LVT, VTS - Clinical Practice (Canine/Feline)

JoLynn, a graduate of SUNY Delhi, has been in clinical practice for 16 years. She has experience in shelter medicine, emergency medicine, and is currently in small animal clinical practice. JoLynn serves on the board of the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice as a Canine/Feline Member at Large to consult on canine and feline updates. She currently works at VCA Fairmount Animal Hospital in Syracuse, New York, as the Veterinary Technician Supervisor. Her current interests are laboratory techniques and anesthesia. JoLynn shares her house with her family, a St. Bernard, and a chocolate Labrador retriever.

The CAPC recommends fecal examination for adult dogs and cats at least twice per year.

Fall 2021, Emergency Medicine/Critical Care

Stabilizing the Critically Ill Patient

Karl R. Alon AS, RVT, VTS (ECC)

Karl has been a veterinary technician for almost 14 years, during which he has worked exclusively in veterinary emergency medicine, both in extended-hour general practices offering emergency care and state-of-the-art multispecialty referral practices. Karl obtained his RVT certification in 2013, after working as an unlicensed veterinary assistant for 6 years, and his VTS certification in 2017. His areas of interest include acid-base derangements, electrolyte abnormalities, trauma, and technician training. He is currently a veterinary technician instructor. He has lectured many times at local continuing education events in California, as well as large international veterinary conferences such as IVECCS.

Stabilizing patients in critical condition include timely triage, interventional therapies, and clear communication with the critical care facility for transfer.

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Veterinary Nursing as a Military Spouse

Caitlin Murphy RVTg, BAS

Caitlin is a military spouse of 6 years to an active duty Marine and currently stationed with her husband in Okinawa, Japan. She graduated with her AAS degree in veterinary technology in 2018 and has recently graduated with her BAS in veterinary nursing. She now serves as a member of the Red Cross in the prefecture of Okinawa where she provides veterinary aid during natural disasters, such as seasonal typhoons. Caitlin is also pursuing a master’s degree in veterinary medical sciences online at the University of Florida.

Military spouses who work as veterinary nurses face many obstacles in advancing their careers, but they can succeed due to their unique qualifications and several resources designed to help them along their journey.

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Fostering: An Open Home and an Open Heart

Robyn Townsend CVT

Robyn began her career as a kennel assistant at a local veterinary hospital in 1992.She became a certified veterinary technician in 2004. Her career has led her from working in a general practice to managing an ER/ICU in a large specialty hospital. She is currently managing a general practice in Everett, Massachusetts. She currently lives with her 3 dogs, Emme, Merry, and foster failure Bindi; 2 cats, Finn and Griffin; and lovebird, Luigi. Robyn continues to foster whatever animals come her way. Her latest foster was a house sparrow named Lucky.

Fostering is the next best thing to adopting, and it is often an essential step in getting a pet into their forever home.

Fall 2021, Personal/Professional Development

By Appointment Only

Nicola Lakeman PGDip, RVN, CertVNECC, CertSAN, VTS (Nutrition)

Nicola works as the Head Medical Nurse at Plymouth Veterinary Group. She has written for many veterinary publications and textbooks and is the editor of Aspinall’s Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing. Nicola has won the British Veterinary Nursing Association/Blue Cross award for animal welfare, the Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) Veterinary Nurse of the Year award, and the SQP Nutritional Advisor of the Year award. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in advanced veterinary nursing with Glasgow University. 

There are many benefits to these clinics but increasing the welfare and quality of life for these patients must be the most important. Don’t underestimate the worth of the RVN, increasing opportunities for veterinary nurses to gain experience and increase confidence and comfort in seeing clients will help practices run more smoothly and veterinary nurses to feel more empowered.

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