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Spring 2020

Spring 2020, Personal/Professional Development

Recognizing the Best

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.

Apply for the Earl H. Rippie, Jr. Veterinary Nurse Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes veterinary nurses who have demonstrated leadership skills and have made a positive impact on the profession, and get the chance to win a full experience at VMX 2021!

NAVTA Corner
Spring 2020, Personal/Professional Development

The Veterinary Technician Association’s Role in Public Education

Christen Puckett-Smith BS, RVT

Christen Smith is a 2009 Murray State College graduate. She graduated from East Central University in 2005 where she received her bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She currently works at Murray State College Veterinary Technology Department in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. She is a full time faculty member and instructs the Veterinary Assisting certificate program. She also works at Ada Veterinary Clinic in Ada, Oklahoma one day a week to keep up her skill set and current best practices. Christen currently serves on the Oklahoma Veterinary Technician Association’s executive board as the Past President. She is a member of NAVTA, AVTE and SVBT. Recently she was voted as the NAVTA District 9 Representative. OVTA named her Veterinary Technician of the year in 2015. Christen enjoys studying animal behavior. She received her Silver Certification in Low Stress Handling University in 2018 and her Fear Free professional certification in 2019. MSC staff and students implement enrichment, positive reinforcement, socialization, and low stress handling while promoting the enhancement of the patient’s clinical experiences and relationships with staff. She has been married to her best friend for ten years, Ragan. They own 7 dogs, 3 cats, 1 hedgehog, 4 alpacas, and 3 nigerian dwarf goats. Their ranch is named BMK Acre, where they offer education events and alpaca love sessions. 

Kenichiro Yagi MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM)

Ken has spent nearly 20 years in practice. He obtained his VTS certification in emergency and critical care, as well as small animal internal medicine, and earned his master’s degree in Veterinary Science. He served as ICU Manager and Blood Bank Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital until 2018, and is now Program Director for the RECOVER CPR Initiative and simulation lab manager of the Park Veterinary Innovation Laboratory at Cornell University. He co-chairs the Veterinary Nurse Initiative and serves as a board member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians, and the Veterinary Innovation Council.

Veterinary technician associations are on the front lines of advocating for the profession at the state level and providing public education so that the critical work performed by members of our profession is recognized. Behind the scenes, veterinary nurses contribute to the work of their state veterinary technician associations, working to elevate the profession and to ignite the passion in others to consider the profession as a career.

Spring 2020, Nutrition

Diets and Dietary Supplements for Anxiety in Dogs

Jessey Scheip LVT, VTS (Behavior), KPA-CTP

Jessey earned a degree in Veterinary Technology in 2011. Her medical experience includes general practice, surgical specialty, and emergency/critical care. In 2016 she joined a behavior specialty practice in northern Virginia, now called the Animal Behavior Wellness Center, where she is lead technician and hospital manager. Jessey is also a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Behavior, a Fear Free Elite Certified professional, a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and on the board of directors for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Jessey is passionate about the value of behavioral education to ensure the best outcomes for the patient and family.

No longer is nutritional management limited to diabetes mellitus or renal insufficiency; it now also addresses emotional disorders such as anxiety. A variety of nutritional compounds and supplements that help improve emotional stability in companion animals have been identified.

Spring 2020, Neurology

Seizing the Moment

Julie Ann Nettifee RVT, BS, VTS (Neurology)

For more than 20 years, Julie Ann has been on the staff at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She earned her AAS in Animal Health Technology at the University of Minnesota, Waseca, and a BA degree in Journalism with a minor in Natural Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Duke Center for Nonprofits. She currently supports clinical research in neurology and nutrition, teaches, and conducts outreach. She has presented locally, nationally, and internationally, and has authored numerous articles on veterinary nursing.

This article will focus on the questions to ask when faced with uncertain seizure events in pets, as well as tips for keeping the pet owner calm and helping them to maintain a safe environment for their pet. It will also outline the best procedure for bringing a pet to the clinic safely and how to communicate that procedure to a stressed and anxious pet owner.

Spring 2020, Integrative/Alternative Medicine

CBD for Dogs and Cats—What’s New?

Don Vaughan

Donald Vaughan is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. His work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Boys’ Life, Military Officer Magazine, Today’s Veterinary Business, and numerous other publications. He is also the founder of Triangle Association of Freelancers.

As a result of public interest in the medicinal use of CBD in human medicine, interest in its possible use for pets is growing as well. But whereas research on the effects of CBD in humans has been ongoing for many years, similar research on dogs, cats, and other species is just beginning, with many questions remaining regarding safety, efficacy, dosage, and more.

Spring 2020, Personal/Professional Development

Building Meaningful Connections

Abbie Hathaway CVT | Banfield Pet Hospital, Vancouver, Wash.

Abbie’s career in veterinary medicine began nearly 12 years ago, following her undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California. After gaining experience in retail management, Abbie started as a veterinary assistant, then earned her veterinary technician credentials and evolved her leadership skills as a practice manager. In her current role as Program Manager of Veterinary Technician Training, Abbie supports current and aspiring veterinary technicians across Banfield Pet Hospital’s more than 1000 hospitals nationwide to help create healthy workplace environments and enable lifelong careers.

While the goal of most other veterinary professionals is to help as many pets as possible, that isn’t possible without also making meaningful connections with clients.

veterinary SIRS
Continuing Education, Featured, Spring 2020, Emergency Medicine/Critical Care

Recognizing, Treating, and Monitoring Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome and Sepsis

Courtney Waxman BAS, CVT, RVT, VTS (ECC)

Courtney has worked in emergency and specialty veterinary practice for almost 15 years. Her areas of special interest include CPR, mechanical ventilation, one-on-one case management, critical care nursing, critical thinking, and technician/nurse training. She currently works as an instructor for Purdue University’s Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning Program and in the veterinary teaching hospital’s intensive care unit. She lectures nationally and internationally on topics relating to emergency and critical care and has been published in several veterinary technician/nursing journals. In 2019, Courtney was awarded New Educator of the Year by the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators.

SIRS and sepsis patients represent some of the most severely critically ill veterinary patients. Following evidence-based medicine and implementing patient care bundles can greatly reduce patient morbidity and mortality, and providing supportive, diligent nursing care is essential in promoting a positive outcome.

Spring 2020, Cardiology

A-Fib You Not: Quivering Through a PDA Ligation

Bonnie Lockridge RVT

Bonnie is an RVT in the anesthesia department at the University of Georgia. After graduating from Tri-County Technical College in 2014, she completed a large animal rotating internship at the University of Tennessee. Over the past 5 years in academia, she has found great fulfillment in the challenge of taking each case as a puzzle to be solved by providing balanced anesthetic protocols, addressing complications, troubleshooting anesthetic equipment, and triaging emergency cases. Bonnie is currently pursuing VTS certification in anesthesia and analgesia. She resides in Athens, Georgia, with her husband and their 3 dogs.

This case report describes a young dog who experienced simultaneous bradycardia and atrial fibrillation while undergoing surgery to repair a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). In addition to describing the approach used by the surgical team to manage the cardiac event, this case report describes alternative approaches and proposes possible causes.

Spring 2020, Infectious Disease

The Veterinary Nurse’s Role in Preventing Hospital-Acquired Infections


Meri is a graduate of Central Carolina Community College where she earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Medical Technology. She is a charter member of the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians, as well as a member of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. She has contributed to a number of publications and presents at numerous veterinary conferences. Her special interests are the pathophysiology and transmission of infectious diseases.

Veterinary nurses are integral in preventing, managing, and controlling disease transmission in veterinary hospitals. From the moment a client calls about a potentially infectious pet, the veterinary nurse’s knowledge of the disease process and hospital protocols is key to making informed decisions about patient handling.

Spring 2020, Wound Management

Basic Principles of Wound Care

Michelle Jaeger BS, CVT, VTS (Surgery)

Michelle is the referral coordinator at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where she has worked for 14 years, 13 of which were as the soft tissue surgery technician. After obtaining a BS in Biology from the University of Illinois, she then obtained an AS in Veterinary Technology from Parkland Community College. In January 2013, she earned the VTS (Surgery) distinction. Michelle is the recertification committee chair for the Academy of Veterinary Surgical Technicians and a member of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association.

In veterinary medicine, wounds are common. Although they can be challenging, they can also be rewarding when managed properly by the veterinary team.

Spring 2020, Practice Management

Stop Workplace Cyberbullying

Michelle Guercio-Winter CVT, CVPM, CVJ

In her 35 years in the profession, Michelle has worked in every paraprofessional position in veterinary practice. She began in hands-on animal care positions, but shifted to the business side when she realized a passion for veterinary business. The need for veterinary business knowledge was nationwide, which was the impetus for creating the Patterson Veterinary University program, which has educated many veterinary professionals since 2006. Michelle is currently responsible for the education and development of practices owned by the Encore Vet Group, a group whose focus is to elevate and empower the people providing animal care.

Cyberbullying has the same effects, and should have the same repercussions, as traditional bullying or harassment. Read this article for insight on how to manage workplace bullying in your practice.

Featured, Spring 2020, Pain Management

No Pain, All Gain: Becoming a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner

Tasha McNerney BS, CVT, CVPP, VTS (Anesthesia)

Tasha became a VTS in anesthesia in 2015 and is a certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner who works closely with the IVAPM to educate the public about animal pain awareness. She loves to lecture on various anesthesia and pain management topics around the globe. In her spare time, Tasha enjoys reading and spending time with her son.

Becoming a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner is a great way for veterinary nurses to be more involved patients’ pain management process and client education and compliance.

Spring 2020, Personal/Professional Development

A New Solution: Relief Veterinary Technicians

Michelle D. Krasicki-Aune MBA, BS, CVT Vet Teams, LLC

Michelle D. Krasicki-Aune, MBA, BS, CVT, is the founder, owner, and lead relief Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for Vet Teams, LLC. She loves drawing on her more than 20 years of experience as a CVT to meet the challenges that relief work brings in her daily experiences and also loves all things related to boxer dogs! She also dedicates her time to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians as the organization’s treasurer, works behind the scenes to help further veterinary nurse education, and helps teach and train the veterinary community in Fear Free practices.

The concept of a Relief Credentialed Veterinary Technician (rCVT)/Nurse is new to many managers and practice owners, but could drastically improve the teamwork and efficiency of a clinic or hospital.