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MSU's first veterinary technologists to graduate
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine honored its first graduating class in the four-year veterinary medical technology degree program with a special pinning ceremony April 27.
Dr. Allison Gardner, clinical instructor in CVM’s veterinary medical technology program, said veterinary technologists make important contributions in the field of animal care.
“Veterinary technologists are a critical component of the animal health care team,” Gardner said. “A trained veterinary technologist can perform diagnostic tests such as radiographs, run lab work and conduct examinations to check for parasites.
“Having a trained veterinary technologist in a practice allows the veterinarian to better use his or her time -- more patients can be seen, more surgeries can be performed, all while providing the best care for the animal,” she said.
MSU is one of only three veterinary colleges in the United States to offer a four-year degree in veterinary medical technology, despite the increasing national demand.
“More and more jobs, especially in industry, academia and specialty practices, require bachelor’s degrees,” Gardner said. “We hope not only to instill in our graduates good critical thinking skills and the ability to troubleshoot problems, but also to prepare them with the necessary technical skills to be successful in their careers.”
Gardner said the four-year program at CVM provides students with unique collaborative learning experiences.
“The students in the VMT and the doctor of veterinary medicine programs are able to train and work alongside each other. This allows them both to gain a better appreciation for and understanding of each other’s roles and strengths,” she said. “The VMT program students also get to see and participate in more advanced procedures, such as endoscopic exams, CT scans and emergency critical care, that independent programs might not be able to offer.”
The entire class exemplified outstanding leadership skills and dedication.
“Two plan to go on to specialize in an area, one will begin veterinary college this summer, one plans to go into research, one into zoo medicine, one hopes to attend an animal hospital manager training program, and several plan to work either in mixed practices or small animal practices.”
David Eldridge, like most of his classmates, had a job waiting for him to graduate.
“I’m going to work as an emergency medical technician at PetMed in Cordova, Tenn.,” he said. “It’s an after-hours clinic that serves clients 365 days per year and handles trauma, surgery and sudden illness cases when veterinarian’s offices are usually closed.”
Eldridge said the in-depth lectures and labs at CVM have given him the knowledge he needs to be successful.
“During our senior year, we got real-life experience in a clinic and learned alongside veterinary students,” he said. “Learning from veterinarians and technicians as instructors and working with animals was a meaningful experience.”
Kayla Jaynes, president of the class, accepted a job at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
“I chose to do an elective rotation at UMC in the fall semester and returned for an internship in the spring,” she said. “While I was there, I was able to spend time in the research lab and became very interested in the work. I was offered a job in the department of physiology and will work with animal models of human diseases, such as hypertension.”
Jaynes said being at CVM gave her the opportunity to experience the wide variety of options within the field of veterinary medicine.
“Each department within the college has board-certified specialists who oversee the most advanced cases,” she said. “The environment really helps students decide which area of medicine is right for them.”
The students will graduate in MSU commencement ceremonies in May.
Writer: Karen Templeton, (662) 325-1100