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    Winter 2022

    Winter 2022

    To read the digital issue, click here.


    Winter 2022,

    Living With Gratitude

    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.

    Show gratitude to yourself and your teammates. You made it through another tough year but your perseverance has made you a stronger person and the profession a better place. Here’s to 2022!

    NAVTA Corner
    Winter 2022, Personal/Professional Development

    Are Veterinary Nurses Paraprofessionals?

    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.

    Words matter. Our profession has evolved to the point that we utilize our critical thinking and clinical judgment abilities along with our honed nursing care skills to provide treatments and make recommendations that help our patients in the best way possible. We are professionals.

    Winter 2022, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Grassroots Initiatives to Grow and Enrich the Profession

    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.

    Rather than waiting for the community to come to the profession, veterinary nursing needs to bring the profession to the community. Starting this process may appear challenging, but there are several ways veterinary nurses can begin grassroots initiatives in their own communities to grow and enrich the profession.

    Winter 2022, Nutrition

    Treat Nutrition: The Why, How, and What of Proper Treating

    Jessie Nelson AAS, CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

    Jessie graduated in 2009 from National American University with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with an emphasis in veterinary technology. After graduation, she worked in general practice in South Dakota. In 2010, she moved to Arizona and joined Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists in 2012. She found a passion for veterinary nutrition and earned a VTS in nutrition. Jessie was the president of the student chapter of NAVTA while in college, and has continued to be an active member of NAVTA and of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians. In her free time she loves to be outside with her pets, riding her bicycle, reading, and swimming with her dogs in the pool.

    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.

    Treating is a subcategory of pet nutrition. The veterinary healthcare team should understand the “why” behind an owner’s need to provide treats and be prepared with appropriate recommendations for treats based on the individual pet and the owner when nutritional adjustments are needed. 

    Winter 2022, Parasitology

    Telehealth Consultations for Parasite Prevention

    Holly Cummings LVT

    Holly has been a licensed veterinary technician since 2005. She has worked in a variety of practices and as an educator and administrator of veterinary technology programs across the country. Holly currently works in the Diagnostic Imaging Department at Washington State University and fills the occasional shift at the Lewiston Veterinary Clinic in Lewiston, Idaho. She enjoys speaking professionally to veterinary nurses across the country and being a board member of the Companion Animal Parasite Council. In her spare time, Holly enjoys all of the outdoor activities the Pacific Northwest has to offer, accompanied by her wirehaired pointing griffon, Oddly Bee.

    Telehealth can be an invaluable tool for veterinary practices, especially for those willing to utilize veterinary nurses to perform these virtual appointments. With good preparation and organization, veterinary nurses are capable of meeting the growing demand for virtual appointments.

    Featured, Winter 2022, Urology & Renal Medicine

    “Why Does My Cat Have Trouble Urinating?”

    Paula Plummer LVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM) | Texas A&M University

    Paula has been at Texas A&M University since 2007, first working in the small animal intensive care unit and then moving to the feline internal medicine service in 2011. She graduated from Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and has been a registered veterinary technician since 2000. In 2011, she earned her veterinary technician specialty in emergency and critical care, and in 2014, she earned her second specialty in small animal internal medicine. Paula is also involved in teaching technicians in online programs and as a guest lecturer and lab instructor at local, regional, and national continuing education symposiums. When she is not working, Paula enjoys spending time with her husband and furry 4-legged family.

    This series will help veterinary nurses understand the most effective way to guide clients through common questions, with key communication tips along the way.

    Winter 2022, Behavior

    School Is in Session: Kittens Only!

    Sherrie Yuschak RVT, VTS (Behavior), KPA-CTP

    Sherrie is a faculty member of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Behavior and Training. She was employed by the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in the behavioral medicine service for 5 years, where she assisted with cases; provided behavior modification sessions; educated veterinary students, staff, and clients; and contributed to a behavioral research team. Twelve years as a general practice technician spurred her passion for behavior. Sherrie is a Fear Free Certified Professional, has collaborated on several of Fear Free’s educational modules and certification standards, and is a member of its speakers bureau. Enthusiastic about continuing education, Sherrie frequently attends events, lectures at conferences, writes articles, and teaches hands-on skills to veterinary professionals. 

    Kitten classes are a low-risk, high-benefit service that demonstrates your practice’s commitment to behavioral health and the high priority that you place on cats.  

    Continuing Education, Featured, Winter 2022, Oncology

    Staging Cancer: Digging Deeper Than the Diagnosis

    Danielle D. DeCormier LVT, VTS (Oncology)

    Danielle has worked for almost 20 years in veterinary medicine, with the last 14 in emergency and specialty practice. Her areas of special interest are oncologic pharmacology, specifically chemotherapy, and paraneoplastic syndromes. Her other passion is the people in veterinary medicine. She currently works as a regional training partner for BluePearl Veterinary Partners and focuses on training and career development for technicians and assistants. She is the current director-at-large for oncology in AIMVT and lectures nationally on various topics, including chemotherapy, grief, compassion fatigue, burnout, and communication. 

    Having a deeper understanding of the staging process can help the veterinary nursing staff feel more comfortable facing questions from clients and anticipating the doctor’s needs.

    Winter 2022, Urology & Renal Medicine

    Subcutaneous Ureteral Bypass as a Treatment Option for Urolithiasis in Cats

    Julie Commons RVT, VTS (SAIM)

    Julie earned her AAS from Columbus State Community College and her BS from Purdue University; both degrees are in veterinary technology. She joined the internal medicine service at Purdue University in 2003 and quickly developed a passion for the urinary tract and minimally invasive procedures. She achieved her VTS in small animal internal medicine in 2013 and in 2016 became the Nephrology/Urology Technologist in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Hospital with the addition of the hemodialysis service. She participates in clinical instruction of both DVM and veterinary nursing students and lectures within the Veterinary Nursing Program. 

    The SUB is an exciting option for treatment of obstructive upper urinary tract disease in cats, and it continues to get better through adaptations to decrease complication rates and improve long-term patient comfort. 

    Winter 2022, Equine Medicine

    Periparturient Hemorrhage in a Mare

    Janine Baker BTech

    Janine earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in equine science from SUNY Morrisville and intends to complete the AVMA-accredited Penn Foster Veterinary Technician program in December 2021. Janine has worked at Rhinebeck Equine since 2015 as the assistant to the internal medicine team, working closely with the board-certified internists. She has developed a passion for internal medicine and contemplates pursuing a VTS in large animal internal medicine. Janine lives in New York’s Hudson Valley region, where she enjoys hiking with her English pointer, Ace.

    This case report of a mare that began hemorrhaging into her abdomen soon after parturition illustrates how preliminary laboratory work, careful observations, and prompt treatment allowed for the best possible outcome.

    Winter 2022, Dermatology

    Pyoderma in the Dog

    Jennie Tait AHT, RVT, VTS (Dermatology)

    Jennie graduated as an animal health technician in 1986. She worked in general practice for 3 years, at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) for 25 years, and found her niche when she joined the OVC dermatology service in 2000. She eventually retired, but her passion for dermatology brought her back to referral work part-time at the V.A.D.E.R. Clinic in Morriston, Ontario. She was the fourth person to achieve RVT certification in Canada, is a charter member of the Academy of Dermatology Veterinary Technicians, and is currently the only VTS (Dermatology) in Canada. Jennie is also the only veterinary technician on the Executive Committee for the Canadian Academy of Veterinary Dermatology and is an author and international speaker in her area of expertise.

    Pyoderma is classified as surface, superficial, or deep. Diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes depend heavily on the type.

    Winter 2022, Personal/Professional Development

    VTS in Dentistry

    Benita Altier LVT, VTS (Dentistry)

    Benita is a licensed veterinary technician as well as a veterinary technician specialist in dentistry. She began her career in veterinary technology in 1988 and has worked in small animal general medicine, ophthalmology, equine and llama neonatal care, canine reproduction, and dentistry. Benita is the current president-elect for the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians and the secretary for the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians. She has co-authored 2 textbooks on veterinary dentistry for veterinary nurses as well as published several articles in professional journals. Through her business, Pawsitive Dental Education LLC, she has provided professional dental instruction and consultation to veterinary hospitals and conferences across the United States, Canada, and China since 2008. Giving back to the profession and helping veterinary nurses grow their careers in ways they never thought were possible is something she is very passionate about.

    Specializing in any area of veterinary medicine opens many doors. Earning a VTS credential takes time, expertise, and money, but investing in yourself will pay off.

    Winter 2022, Personal/Professional Development

    Résumés: Putting Your Best Foot Forward

    Carolyn Becker CVPM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CVT

    Carolyn has an insider’s perspective from more than 20 years in the veterinary profession as a CVT, practice manager, HR director, HR partner, and HR consultant. Carolyn’s deep understanding of veterinary team dynamics is the foundation for Starpath Consulting LLC, which provides veterinary-focused HR support. Carolyn is a Colorado native, and is grateful for the blue skies, Rocky Mountain views, and sunshine. She lives in southwest Denver with her family and 3 dogs. Carolyn is passionate about veterinary practice culture and empowering hospital teams. She offers résumé review and individual coaching services; see details at starpathconsulting.com.

    In presenting your résumé, aim to intrigue the manager with the depiction of you, the person, and not just you, the veterinary nurse.

    Winter 2022, Personal Wellbeing

    Alleviating Neck Pain

    Saleema Lookman RVT, CPT

    Since entering the veterinary field in 2009, Saleema has held a variety of roles and positions. This diverse experience led to the discovery of her true passions for patient care, education, and mentoring. Saleema is currently part of the Boehringer Ingelheim Tech Champion team, delivering continuing education presentations to veterinary nurses, and practices in a high-caseload small animal practice. Saleema lives out her passion for fitness as a certified personal fitness trainer and group fitness instructor.

    Working in the veterinary profession is a physically tolling job. These easy stretches and exercises shared from a veterinary nurse and fitness instructor are easy to incorporate into your daily work day.