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Technicians Who Advance Veterinary Research

MAF Salutes Credentialed Technicians Who Advance Veterinary Research

By Heather Grimshaw

For Jodi Beetem, a registered veterinary technician (RVT) and certified canine rehabilitation practitioner at the University of Missouri Veterinary Teaching Hospital, every day presents exciting professional challenges.

Beetem juggles a variety of tasks, including prepping, bandaging and sedating patients and assisting with diagnostic workups and surgery. As the orthopedic surgery and physical reha

bilitation technician at the veterinary teaching hospital, Beetem also fields client phone calls and handles scheduling and receiving as well as orthopedic and neurologic physical rehabilitation.

During National Veterinary Technician Week, October 11-17, Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) salutes the work of Beetem and her colleagues, whose work in veterinary clinics, teaching hospitals and elsewhere enriches the lives of animals around the world. Many credentialed technicians, like Beetem, are an essential part of research projects-such as those funded by the Foundation-at university teaching hospitals and institutions around the world.

Working at the university, Beetem sees the value of research and appreciates the ability to see improvements from the therapies provided.

“Although I’m not a surgeon, I help with post operative care and rehabilitation and help the clients understand how to properly take care of their dog after surgery,” she says. “I’m helping improve quality of life for every dog that comes in to see us.”

A love of animals helped guide Beetem toward veterinary medicine, and a career day in eighth grade solidified her career choice.

“A veterinarian and a veterinary technician came in to speak to us, and I loved what I heard about becoming a veterinary technician,” she says. “I made my decision right then and there.  I think I was the only student who knew exactly what I was going to do and which school I was going to go to before freshman year of high school.”

After high school, Beetem received her associate’s degree in applied science/veterinary technology and then passed a state and a national board exam to become a registered technician. Each state requires continuing education for technicians-as well as veterinarians-to maintain their licenses.

Certification was, for Beetem, an opportunity for advanced education and professional opportunity.

“The education you get in school is very important,” explains Beetem, who works with three veterinary orthopedic surgeons and four surgery residents who rotate through the veterinary clinic at the university. One of the surgeons she works with is Dr. James Cook, a researcher who won MAF’s Thank Your Vet for a Healthy Pet® award in 2008.

As a testament to her commitment to the health of her patients, Beetem keeps in touch with some of the patients-and their pet parents-who pass through the hospital.

“I have a handful of favorite patients,” she says, “The [pet parents] always send me pictures and updates, and I love it!”

One of her favorite patients is Buddy, who was flown to the hospital from New York for limb-sparing surgery on his front paw. After Cook conducted the surgery, Buddy stayed at the veterinary teaching hospital for almost a month and recovered nicely.

“I definitely had a few tears in my eyes when I had to take him back to the airport,” says Beetem, “But that’s just one of my favorites…”

Posted by MAFon October 1, 2009.

Categories: Animal health, Veterinary news


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