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Veterinarian Technician January 2008 (Vol 29, No 1)

Program Notes: Veterinary Technician CE Seminar

by Liz Donovan

    Veterinary Technician was proud to help technicians expand their knowledge through its 6th annual CE Seminar, which was held last fall in Ulster, New York; Detroit, Michigan; and Dallas, Texas. The program, titled "Perfecting Practical Skills," attracted more than 300 technicians and veterinary health care staff. The events were made possible with generous support from Bayer Animal Health.

    With seven lectures and one wet lab, the program was designed to provide opportunities for all members of the veterinary health care team to enhance their knowledge and skills. Each lecturer at the seminar was a current leader in veterinary technology with extensive experience in presenting world-class continuing education. The lectures included practical tips — in the areas of behavior, dentistry, cytology, urinalysis, and parasitology — that could be applied immediately in the veterinary practice.

    The 2-day seminar offered 12 hours of continuing education credit. Veterinary Technician editorial board member and frequent contributor Margi Sirois, EdD, MS, RVT, served as program chair for the event. Editorial board members Elaine Anthony, MA, CVT, and Julie Shaw, RVT, presented lectures, as did Vickie Byard, CVT, VTS (Dentistry). Edward Robinson, VT, AAS, BA, presented the wet lab.


    Julie Shaw, senior animal behavior technologist at Purdue University, gave three lectures on behavior, including the keynote lecture, titled "Shooting the Client Is Not Politically Correct: Using Behavior Modification Techniques to Change Client Behavior." During this lecture, Julie discussed the importance of communicating with clients. "Technicians spend an enormous amount of time educating, counseling, communicating, and modifying the behavior of the humans in their exam rooms," she stated. She gave technicians essential information, illustrated by scenarios, about shaping the behavior of clients to improve compliance.

    In her second lecture, "Puppies Gone Wrong … And Right Again!," Julie discussed a new way of thinking about the dominance theory. "The dominance theory has been overused and has led to complications in the relationship we have with dogs," she explained. Julie discussed alternative reasons why puppies can become aggressive (e.g., genetics, poor socialization, inconsistent owner interactions) and described risks and warning signs of potential behavior problems. Through the use of videos and case examples, Julie discussed successful and unsuccessful treatment plans.

    In Julie's third lecture, titled "Behavior Modification: Getting It Right," she discussed common behavior modification techniques, including counterconditioning, response substitution, and desensitization. Videotaped behavior modification sessions were used to demonstrate these techniques.


    Vickie Byard, inpatient supervisor and dentistry coordinator at Rau Animal Hospital in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and president-elect of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians, presented two lectures on dentistry. Her first lecture, titled "Dental Radiology: Are Intraoral Radiographs Really Necessary?," provided an overview of the importance of radiography in veterinary dentistry. During the lecture, Vickie cited statistics that indicated that radiography performed on dental patients with obvious clinical findings revealed additional pathology in 50% of dogs and 53.9% of cats. She also addressed the financial benefits of having a dental radiography unit in the clinic, and she gave technicians examples of practical radiographic techniques that can be used to obtain diagnostic-quality images.

    Vickie also gave a detailed lecture on the importance of toothbrushing and promoting periodontal prophylaxis in the clinic. In the lecture, titled "Toothbrushing to Marketing: Veterinary Dentistry Topics You Can Chew On!," she discussed ways that technicians can promote regular dental cleaning by easing clients' fears about anesthesia and by showing clients at-home cleaning techniques. Vickie also offered suggestions on creating a multimedia dentistry marketing plan for the clinic.

    Cytology and Urinalysis

    Elaine Anthony presented lectures on urinalysis and cytology. Elaine has more than 20 years' experience as a veterinary technician lecturer, is a veterinary nutritional consultant for Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, and works part time at a veterinary internal medicine clinic. She is also a veterinary technician educator and a frequent contributor to Veterinary Technician. In her urinalysis lecture, titled "Microscopic Examination of Urine Sediment," Elaine described various cells, casts, crystals, and miscellaneous components that are commonly seen in an analysis of urine sediment from dogs and cats. She also explained techniques for conducting the microscopic examination. "All staff members should follow the same standard protocol when collecting, processing, and examining urine samples," Elaine stated.

    In addition, Elaine presented "Examination of Cytology Specimens," a 1½-hour lecture on practical cytology. She emphasized the importance of performing a cytologic evaluation and discussed terminology that should be used when describing cell types. She also explained how to differentiate inflammatory cells from neoplastic cells and how to determine whether the neoplastic cells are malignant or benign.


    Edward Robinson, a Bayer wet lab administrator and a veterinary technician educator, presented the wet lab, which focused on centrifugal fecal flotation. In the lab, titled "Advanced Fecal Examination Procedures," he explained that the most current method recommended to perform in-clinic fecal examination is centrifugal flotation. Technicians had the opportunity to examine various types of intestinal parasites, including Giardia oocysts.

    The Veterinary Learning Systems' staff took time to interact with attendees during breaks and after sessions. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Many participants said that they could not wait to take the information that they learned and use it in their clinic. Thank you to everyone who attended this successful event, and we look forward to seeing you in 2008!

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