As you walk into Ms. Lindsay Griffin’s advanced animal science and veterinary applications class, you will see a variety of stuffed animals on exam tables. These lifelike stuffed dogs simulate real dogs for students to practice the skills they learn. However, Ms. Griffin says there is nothing more important in medical and veterinary medicine than hands-on learning. Therefore, today, students practiced giving head to tail examinations on live animals.
“In medicine, hands-on experience is a must to truly learn and put skills into practice,” Ms. Griffin said. “We try to have hands-on experiences every three weeks or so. The dogs here today are owned by teachers here at the CTC.”
Students spent the class period examining the various breeds of dogs as if owners brought them into a vet’s office with a specific ailment. Working in groups, the students had to first create a case file for each pet by obtaining medical histories and creating cage cards. They then performed the exam by checking vitals, temperature, teeth and gums, and so forth. The next step was to take samples for fecal analysis. They had to then be prepared to update a veterinarian on the status of the dog as if they were a vet tech in a vet office.
Students can graduate with the opportunity of earning a Pet Tech Companion Animal CPR and First Aid certification as well as becoming a certified Vet Assistant. To receive a vet assistant certification, students must pass the advanced course, have a veterinarian check off a list of 75 mastered skills, pass a state exam before graduation and complete 300 internship hours with a local veterinarian.
“We have 27 students in the program this year, up from 11 students last year, which is really exciting,” Ms. Griffin said. “Of the 27, six students are on track to receive the vet assistant certification.”
Once their examination unit is complete, students will learn about animal surgery and radiology.