The Veterinary Assistant class at Ross Medical Education Center in New Baltimore, Michigan recently completed a very busy module two. As part of the Veterinary Medicine and Practice/Animal Handling and Restraint module, they were given the opportunity to listen to a board certified animal behaviorist. Dr. Jill Sackman from Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners and her licensed technician Lauren Wozniacki came to the campus to visit and to share with students.
Dr. Sackman and Lauren reviewed many visual signs used to identify fear and aggression in dogs and cats. They also answered a variety questions and responded to concerns that a veterinary assistant student many encounter in their externship and in the field. Handouts and brochures were available for the students and clients that can be used as very helpful educational tools.
In addition to hearing about behavior and restraint, Ryan Turner, a dog trainer and Veterinary Assistant at Blue Pearl brought in his dog Ryder and Ryder’s girlfriend Dora. Ryder is a border collie mix and Dora is a cattle dog mix. Both were used for demonstration and hands on learning. The students were able to work with Ryder and Dora and place them in several common restraint positions as well as witness their different behaviors and body language.
A trip to Goodell Equestrian Center was the highlight of their large animal restraint. The students were able and very willing to participate in horse restraint, haltering, leading, and cleaning of the horse hooves. Each individual had the opportunity to interact and even give sugar cube treats to many of the horses!
Last but not least, as an important aspect of the veterinary profession, veterinary assistants must learn how to deal with losing a pet. Not only on a personal level but also as an educator to clients who have either lost a “fur baby” or may have a very sick animal.
Dr. Courtney Graham is a licensed veterinarian and a member of the Lap of Love organization. She specializes in animal hospice and at home euthanasia. As a guest speaker, she helped the students understand the importance of empathy. Her presentation included ways to communicate with clients the importance of quality of life versus quantity of life. The field trips and guest speakers certainly created an excellent learning experience for everyone!