Nursing is a profession that is trusted and relied upon when our friends and family feel under the weather or undergo critical care. Animals need the same quality care that we expect as humans. Muscatine Community College houses the Veterinary Technician program that trains students in this area. Dr. Dan Drahos, D.V.M., is the lead instructor.
“The vet techs really do so much in a veterinary practice,” Drahos said. “So much so, in fact, there is a movement to change to title to veterinary nurse.” Drahos is the owner of Riverside Animal Hospital in Muscatine and works with these students to develop skills across a wide range of specialties. “Human medicine specializes a lot more than veterinary medicine. A vet tech must be a dental hygienist, nurse anesthetist, operating room nurse, orthopedic nurse, and so much more. These students leave this program with these skills.”
Last week was Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week. During that week, students in the MCC Vet Tech program continued their skill development with a K9 X-ray lab. Students received hands-on lab experience by taking images of the teeth of an animal residing at the Muscatine Humane Society and cleaning the dog’s teeth.
Heather Slaughter is in her second year in the program. “Growing up, I always wanted to be a veterinarian, but I kind of scared myself into thinking I didn’t want to do vet school. But after a year of doing something I didn’t want to do, I realized being a vet tech is where I wanted to be, and being a part of this program allows me help animals like I have always wanted to,” Slaughter said. Fellow second-year student Elizabeth Robinson said, “It is really intense here; it really is hard. I don’t think people realize everything that vet techs do, and that we really have to know a lot of information to take care of the animals.”
“I don’t think many pet owners realize everything that the technicians do. I really support changing the title legally to veterinary nurses. They certainly have the schooling and are held to extremely high standards, and they do all of the dirty work in a vet practice,” Drahos said.