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MSU celebrates vet tech profession
MISSISSIPPI STATE – To celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week, Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has announced its Veterinary Technician of the Year.
Lisa Pritchard, the primary caregiver for MSU’s mascot Bully XX, is this year’s honoree. She may be MSU's most famous veterinary technician, but being the mascot coordinator is just part of her job.
When Pritchard first started working at MSU’s CVM nearly 20 years ago, she was the only veterinary technician on staff in Internal Medicine/Critical Care services.
“The college has grown so much in number of both students and cases that I am now one of several vet techs,” she said. “I’m the head technician in the internal medicine department, and I’m the only technician in the oncology service. I administer most of the chemotherapy treatments to our patients.”
Today, Pritchard teaches hands-on skills to CVM’s veterinary technology students, DVM students, interns and residents.
“I teach them how to place IVs and how to do endoscopies and bronchoscopies – any kind of specialized procedure,” she said.
Being a veterinary technician is a rewarding career, Pritchard said.
“Where else can you go to work and play with dogs, cats, cows and horses all day? If you love animals and want to help them, this is a great choice,” she said. “I love what I do, and when I found out I was getting this award it brought tears to my eyes. It’s a big honor.”
Veterinary technicians and technologists earn a four-year degree at an American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited school, such as MSU’s CVM, and can then pursue a variety of careers.
“Private practice, emergency clinic, referral center, research facility -- veterinary technicians have several choices,” Pritchard said. “They can become licensed, credentialed, or board-certified in a specialty area, such as critical care, internal medicine, anesthesiology or rehabilitation.”
Wherever there are animals, there is a need for veterinary technicians.
“Vet techs play a huge role in the military,” Pritchard said. “Veterinarians in the military who take care of police dogs, bomb dogs and drug dogs -- they have to have vet techs to help them. The opportunities in this career are endless.”
In addition to providing technical support to veterinarians by taking x-rays, collecting samples and running laboratory tests, veterinary technicians and technologists work with clients.
“Vet techs are the ones who sit down and explain heartworm prevention, why pets need vaccinations, why table scraps are harmful -- we play a major role in client education,” Pritchard said.
Dr. Allison Gardner, interim director of CVM’s Veterinary Medical Technology Program, which sponsored the award, said nominators praised Pritchard’s dedication to her profession, her teaching ability, and her compassion for patients and students.
“One described Lisa as the embodiment of this year’s slogan for Vet Tech Week. It is an acronym for ‘tech’ --technicians, educators, caregivers and healers,” Gardner said. “National Veterinary Technician Week provides the perfect opportunity to say thank you to all the technicians for their hard work and dedicated service. They are an integral part of the veterinary health care team.”
National Veterinary Technician Week is Oct. 14 to 20.
Contact: Karen Templeton, (662) 325-1100