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Veterinarian Technician March 2007 (Vol 28, No 3) Focus: Emerging Infectious Diseases

Tech Tips (March 2007)

by Rick Doran, Douglas Hutchens, DVM, PhD, A. McBride, S. Mailen, BS, Heinz Mehlhorn, PhD, Gregory S. Staller, DVM, DACVS, Liz Donovan

    Tip of the Month

    If a cat is purring while you are trying to auscultate, place an alcohol-soaked cotton ball in front of its nose. The offensive smell will make the cat stop purring long enough for you to listen to its heart and lungs.

    Colleen McLuckie

    Chicago, IL

    X-Ray Vision

    We cut the corners of runner/warm-up films to distinguish them from patient films. This way we can tell the runners apart from the patient films, even in the dark.

    Laura Benson, LVT

    Rochester Hills, MI

    A quick method to label an x-ray film is to dampen the film and write over the wet area with a pen. You can write "left," "right," or the patient's name and owner's information to permanently mark the film. The writing appears white against the black of the film.

    Sheri McDuffie, CVT

    Godfrey, IL

    If you can't find the "left" and "right" markers when obtaining a radiograph, form an "L" or "R" using paper clips. This works until you can find the markers.

    Jackie Marble, CVT

    Sterling, MA

    Communication Clarity

    A quick and easy way to improve efficiency when checking in scheduled surgery patients is to print out all necessary forms (consent form, estimate, surgery sheet, cage label) in the morning and clip them to the front of the client's chart. That way, the person doing check-in can focus on the client. This especially helps new employees.

    Lori Davis

    Shoreline, WA

    If you work in a practice that employs a lot of part-time staff, such as an emergency clinic, it can be hard to keep everyone informed. One way to keep everyone up-to-date is to make up a binder that management and staff can use to announce any notices or changes in protocols. For example, "We are out of X food; we are feeding Y instead."

    Tammy MacLeod, RVT

    Oakville, Ontario, Canada

    A Sticky Situation

    In my clinic, we have the bad habit of tipping over small Nexaband bottles and getting surgical glue all over the stainless steel table. It takes hours to clean up! I started gluing a penny to the bottom of each tube, which expands the base so that the bottle is steadier. This also works with the skinny tubes of super glue for Soft Paws.

    Megan Langevin

    Ellington, CT

    We have magnetic strips in our examination rooms and treatment area. We put our bandage scissors, suture scissors, hemostats, and other commonly used instruments on these strips. It beats digging through drawers!

    Dana Johnston-Smith, RVT

    Seattle, WA

    Snip to It!

    In the January issue, we asked for your suggestions on how to convince clients to spay/neuter their pets. Here's what you had to say:

    For clients who refuse to spay or neuter their pet because they want their kids to experience the "miracle of life," we suggest they visit the Humane Society so they can experience the pain of needless death caused by pet overpopulation.

    Annie Bridge

    Springfield, OR

    For clients who are unsure if they want to spay or neuter their pet, I first try to find out why they are hesitant so that I can address their concerns. I inform them of the health issues that could result from not spaying or neutering, such as reproductive cancers, as well as behavioral issues, such as roaming, marking, and heat cycles. If they are concerned about anesthesia risks, I explain the monitoring methods we use and the advances in drug protocols.

    Rosemary Holtz, RVT

    Via email

    We send our clients a newsletter in which we write articles on the potential medical risks of not spaying or neutering. We also give them a "Facts vs. Myths" handout regarding the procedures. We get the information from a local shelter so that clients realize that we are not the only professionals stressing the importance of spaying and neutering.

    Tiffany Bates, CVT

    Iron River, WI

    Provide clients with examples of why a spayed or neutered pet is healthier and often more sociable. A neutered dog will be more apt to get along with other dogs. A spayed dog has a drastically reduced risk of pyometra. Neutering and spaying cats reduces spraying and crying, respectively. Many people have given up pets for behaviorial reasons when all they needed to do was spay or neuter.

    Micah Helgeson

    Chicago, IL

    Answers to our Tech Tip Challenge or other Tech Tip submissions should be sent to:

    Email — Click here

    Fax — 800-556-3288

    Mail — VLS/Veterinary Technician, ATTN: Liz Donovan, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067

    We pay $50 for each tip, question, or solution selected for publication. Submissions should not exceed 100 words and will be edited for length and clarity. Photos are ­welcome. Be sure to include your full name, address, and daytime phone number so that we can contact you.

    NEXT: Understanding Avian Influenza

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    Did you know... 4.4% of veterinarians younger than 30 work with food animals or a mix of food and companion animals, while 44% of those who do are 50 and older.

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