Happy National Veterinary Technician Week!
What is NVTW, you may ask? Since 1993, the 3rd week of October has been reserved as National Veterinary Technician Week (NVTW) to celebrate, recognize, and promote the valuable contributions Credentialed Veterinary Technicians (CVT, RVT, LVT, LVMT) make to the veterinary profession, their veterinary hospital team, their patients, and society. Feline patients deserve the best care, and it takes everyone on the veterinary health care team to make that happen.
NVTW shines a light on the veterinary technician members of the veterinary team. Veterinary Technicians, also known as Veterinary Nurses in some countries, are integral members of the veterinary healthcare team. They have attended a veterinary technology college program approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association, have passed a national licensing examination, and in many cases, a state examination. These important and trusted team members are educated in the latest medical advances and skilled at working alongside veterinarians to give cats the best medical care.
I am a credentialed veterinary technician and I love cats. When I was beginning this career, I was also beginning to show cats. I wasn’t looking for Best in Class, but rather became involved in showing because I wanted to learn more about all breeds of cats and teach others about proper health and wellness for cats. At the time the Winn Feline Foundation was at the forefront of research and education regarding feline health. Now known as the EveryCat Health Foundation, and still leading the way with research and education of feline issues and disease conditions, I have come full circle and am honored to be on the board of the EveryCat Health Foundation. Although I am not currently showing cats, I am still a very active veterinary healthcare team member, learning the latest in feline health and educating my fellow veterinary team members and cat owners.
As a veterinary technician, I am fascinated by cutting edge research which leads to medical advances in feline medicine, and is aimed at helping every cat, every day. My special interest is nutrition and I have seen the power of nutrition – of specific nutrients – in managing cats suffering from chronic kidney disease, cardiac disease, and lower urinary tract disease, just to name a few conditions impacted by proper feline nutrition. Bridging veterinary medicine with cat owners is vitally important to the health and longevity of the cats themselves. This knowledge and education is best implemented with a team approach; and the veterinary hospital is comprised of an entire team of caring, compassionate, educated, skilled, and versatile team members working with the cat owner to maintain wellness, manage disease, and improve the quality of life for cats.
This National Veterinary Technician Week or perhaps even the next time you visit the veterinary hospital, thank your veterinary technicians for the work they do in keeping cats healthy. They are the heartbeat of the hospital and play a major role in helping to keep cats healthy and strengthen the human-animal bond. By doing this, we, along with our feline companions, live longer, healthier lives.
-Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS Hon (Internal Medicine, Dentistry)
Kara Burns is a licensed veterinary technician with a master’s degree in physiology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of EveryCat Health Foundation.
Kara is currently the Director of Veterinary Nurse Development for WellHaven Pet Health, the Editor in Chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse magazine, and an independent nutritional and well-being consultant. She teaches nutrition courses around the world.
She is the Founder and Past President of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians, Past President of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians (NAVTA), past treasurer and board member of PRIDE Veterinary Medical Community, and the Technician Education Manager for Western Veterinary Conference. She is also the first technician on the board of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and is the first technician to be President of the Pet Nutrition Alliance.
Kara has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.
Not surprising at all, Kara was recently selected as the Bridge Club’s 2024 Icon, an award that recognizes veterinary professionals who demonstrate “leadership, innovation and a commitment to elevating and advancing veterinary care.” She is the first veterinary technician to receive this award.