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Spring 2021

Spring 2021, Personal Wellbeing

The Importance of Taking Care of You

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.

Self-care: this term gets tossed around often, especially in our profession. But what is self-care? Self-care describes a conscious act that individuals take to promote their own physical, mental, and emotional health.1 There are many forms self-care may take. We know the importance of getting enough sleep every night—self-care ensures this actually happens. In the …

NAVTA Corner
Spring 2021, Personal/Professional Development

Pay Attention to Job Retention

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.

The path to a happier team and practice is led by practice management willing to do more to support the team to keep them happy, as well as team members willing to give feedback and bring up new information.

Spring 2021, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Examining Racial Diversity in the Profession

Kristi Fender

Kristi Fender, former editor of dvm360 magazine, has spent 20 years covering animal health and veterinary medicine. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and lives in Shawnee, Kansas, with her family, including 2 feisty shelter rescues: an old shepherd mix and a young calico-tabby.

While the reasons for the lack of diversity in veterinary medicine are complex and awareness of the need for change is growing, experts say complacency with the status quo risks the vibrancy and wellbeing of the profession.

Spring 2021, Nutrition

Advising Clients About Home-Prepared and Commercial Fresh Diets

Charlotte Higgins CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Charlotte has been a certified veterinary technician for almost 24 years. For most of that time, she has been employed as the Nutrition Support Nurse at the Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Charlotte has authored many articles in veterinary journals and online magazines and has lectured at national veterinary conferences. She spends her days providing nutritional support to hospitalized patients and working with veterinary and veterinary nurse students to ensure they possess a solid understanding of the importance of nutrition for their patients.

Keeping the lines of communication open is extremely important when a client is considering feeding a home-prepared diet, whether raw or cooked, to their pets.

Spring 2021, Preventive Medicine

Lyme Disease 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.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Client education is key to prevention.

Spring 2021, Practice Management

Postoperative Discharges: Improving Owner Education

Carrie Chandler CVT, CCRP

Carrie is a CVT in the Rehabilitation Department at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, Illinois. Earning her associate of applied science degree from Parkland College in 2011 and physical rehabilitation certificate (CCRP) from the University of Tennessee (Northeast Seminars) in 2016, Carrie provides clinical casework, research assistance, and teaching to both veterinary and veterinary technician students at the university. She has additionally completed the Osteoarthritis Case Manager and Companion Animal Pain Management certificate programs through Northeast Seminars and is currently completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois. 

Improving your clinic’s ability to provide thoughtful, detailed postoperative instruction helps to ensure a more smooth recovery for the pet, the owner, and your clinic.

Spring 2021, Preventive Medicine

Canine Parvovirus

Saleema Lookman RVT

Saleema entered the veterinary field in 2009 and has since held a variety of roles and positions. This diversity led to the discovery of her true passions for patient care, education, and mentoring. In 2015, she took the VTNE and became a Registered Veterinary Technician. Hoping to share her experiences with other veterinary nurses, Saleema has presented as a speaker in many settings. She is currently part of the Boehringer Ingelheim Tech Champion team and delivers CE presentations to veterinary nurses. Currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Saleema practices as a veterinary nurse in a high-caseload small animal practice. She enjoys trail running, crocheting, and being covered in cat hair.

Information is power. By keeping your clients informed, you can help them feel confident that they are protecting their dog from the risks of parvovirus infection. 

Continuing Education, Spring 2021, Ophthalmology

Managing Canine Corneal Ulcers

Pam Kirby RVT, VTS (Ophthalmology)

Pam graduated from Purdue University’s veterinary technology program in 1997. She has been employed at Purdue University ever since, first in the small animal intensive care unit and then in the veterinary ophthalmology department. Pam’s special interests include large animal ophthalmology, ocular imaging, and surgery. She also enjoys teaching veterinary and veterinary nursing students on the clinic floor, in the classroom, in labs, and online. Pam has served on the executive board of the Veterinary Ophthalmic Technician Society as vice president and unseated board member. She is a charter member and current secretary of the Academy of Veterinary Ophthalmic Technicians. She enjoys continuing to learn as much as she can about veterinary ophthalmic nursing.

This review examines corneal anatomy and physiology, basic classifications of corneal ulcers, what owners need to know about caring for dogs with ulcers, and monitoring patients with corneal ulcers.

Spring 2021, Oncology

Multiple Myeloma in a Cat

Darcy Dailey RVT/CVT, MEd

Darcy is an RVT/CVT with a master’s degree in education. Prior to obtaining her AA in Veterinary Technology, she worked as a 6th-12th grade math teacher and contributed to a long-term research study led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on teaching effectiveness. She has enjoyed combining her education background with her veterinary medical career and has worked in shelter medicine, feline-only practice, and specialty/emergency care. She discovered a passion for veterinary oncology after accepting a position with BluePearl Specialty Hospital in Maryland in 2018. She has since relocated to Portland, Oregon, with her husband and 2 college-aged children and is preparing for her next adventure with the support of her Corgi-mix, Bailey, and her German Shepherd, Jenga.

This rare oncologic malignancy is difficult to treat and thus has a high mortality rate.

Spring 2021, Radiology/Imaging

Use of Ultrasonography in Veterinary Emergency Rooms

Elana Benasutti CVT

Elana is a graduate of Harcum Junior College. She has worked at Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for the past 27 years. Her first 10 years were spent as the ultrasound technician in the radiology department and the next 17 years as a critical care veterinary nurse in the intensive care unit. In addition to her interest in ultrasonography and emergency and critical care, Elana loves cows and has spent time working in the dairy industry. She lives with her husband on a small hobby farm with a myriad of much-loved pets.

With proper training, veterinary nurses can perform TFAST and AFAST scans on emergent patients.

Spring 2021, Emergency Medicine/Critical Care

Finding Purpose in Critical Care

Andrea Steele MSc, RVT, VTS (ECC)

Andrea graduated with a BS in Specialized Honours Zoology from the University of Guelph, completed the Veterinary Technician Diploma at the Ridgetown College Campus, and received her master’s degree from the University of Guelph in Veterinary Clinical Studies. Andrea was an ICU technician at the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre for 20 years before moving into a supervisory role of the ICU and Anesthesia departments. She achieved the VTS (ECC) certification in 2003. Andrea is also an experienced lecturer, speaker, author of multiple textbooks, and the executive secretary of the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians and Nurses.

A young patient with an oral and tracheal thermal injury after chewing an electrical wire is an example of some of the cases critical care veterinary nurses manage.

Spring 2021, Practice Management

Handling Angry Clients

Jamie Rauscher RVT

Jamie is an RVT from Atlanta, Georgia. She works in a general practice/emergency room practice as the Medical Manager of a staff of almost 70. Currently, Jamie is the President of Georgia’s Technician and Assistant Association. She has her Fear Free Elite Certification and Human Animal Bond Certification, as well as her Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Certification. Her interests include client education, pain management, anesthesia, patient care, and emergency and critical care. Jamie has presented several case reports at national conferences, spoken at her state technician conferences, and has numerous blogs published. She is married, has a son, as well as a golden retriever and 3 cats.

Unfortunately, angry clients are likely part of your everyday routine. Knowing how to best handle them is a skill worth perfecting.

Spring 2021, Personal Wellbeing

5 Tips for Leading a Balanced Life

Anna Santos RVT

Anna is a registered veterinary technician with 23 years of experience in veterinary medicine and academia. Anna is the supervisor of the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital Small Animal Intermediate Care Ward and Small Animal Isolation. Anna also holds a BS in Animal Science and is currently pursuing an MPH in Disaster Management from the University of Georgia. Anna lives on her family farm in Athens, Georgia, with her husband Brian and her son Zeb, along with an ever-growing menagerie of farm and companion animals.

There is no perfect recipe for leading a balanced lifestyle, but these tips might help.