TMCC College News

Vet Techs Multiply Rescue Force

Posted: Jul 29, 2014

Vet Tech Students at WCRAS

Veterinary Tech students perform surgical prep and assisting at Washoe County Regional Animal Services hospital with supervision by TMCC's Vet Tech instructors.

Veterinary Technology students bandaging injured dogs at Washoe County Regional Animal Services as part of their coursework increase the number of small creatures for which the Reno-Sparks community can provide care.

“We’re a force multiplier when we’re here, augmenting the facility’s existing resources to provide more extensive care for the animals,” said Michele Noreen, D.V.M., Coordinator of Veterinary Technology at Truckee Meadows Community College.

Washoe County has been accommodating and supportive of the Veterinary Technology program, and TMCC’s Vet Tech instructors are considerably appreciative for their partnership.

Students practice clinical tasks at Washoe County Regional Animal Services at increasingly higher levels:

  • First semester – study animal behavior, sanitation, and practice physical exams
  • Second semester – provide nursing care including wound management, gather and analyze lab samples, collect blood work and take X-rays
  • Third semester – induce and monitor anesthesia, surgical prep and assisting
  • Fourth semester – assist in all areas of medical care and surgical nursing

“We have a fully functioning hospital,” Noreen said. “The D.V.M., LVTs, and students are a team and follow the optimal standards for veterinary care.”

Students are supervised by TMCC’s Vet Tech instructors.

“When they’re here, they will do physical exams, blood work, administer treatments, start IVs, clean wounds,” Noreen said. “The students will perform complete work-ups of cases like ringworm, a fungal organism. Ringworm will show up, or fluoresce, under a Wood’s lamp that is a special black light. Prior to testing of an animal which involves preparing a culture of the animal’s hair, students will gown and glove up, being careful to keep the infection contained.”

Wild Animal Infirmary for Nevada (WAIF) also partners with the Vet Tech program at TMCC and brings in some of their animal residents, such as owls and hawks, to expose the students to wildlife.

Area animal clinics have also been a rich and diverse resource for the students

“We receive much support from the veterinary community,” Noreen said. “Many of our graduates work in the area and it is rewarding to see their careers progress.”

One of TMCC’s Vet Tech A.A.S. graduates does live somewhat far away, though.

After graduating from the Veterinary Technology program in 2013, Katie Alton moved to England to join family. She was offered a job at the Equine Referral Hospital, part of the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College. She communicated with TMCC by email.

“I will have to take a practical exam to become registered with the RCVS, but they are willing to support me as far as training and testing expenses, Alton wrote. “They were impressed from my work at Comstock, and the level of training that the school provided. So hooray for TMCC's level of training.”

It takes more than loving animals to advocate for them

To be a successful veterinary technician, a person has to first care about animals, but that is only the first part, Noreen said.

“Technicians are the animal’s advocate.” Noreen said. “They have to be good at observation, have common sense, competently perform tasks, and pay attention to detail. While at the shelter, it is important to pay attention to an animal’s behavior and be smart about minimizing risk, thus improving the safety of both the animal and technician.”

Responsibilities extend to a diverse set of medical tasks.

”They’re the treatment nurse, the radiology technician, the surgical nurse, the dental hygienist – all in one. Veterinary technicians have many roles and can work with a variety of species.”

Every Vet Tech graduate has passed the national exam since the first cohort in 2005

Graduates of the Veterinary Technology program complete state requirements and take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) to become Licensed Veterinary Technicians. The VTNE is a written test, and every graduate of the program at TMCC has passed the test since its first cohort in 2005. Practical tests are part of the college program leading up to this national written exam.

Students have an opportunity to do externships during the final six weeks of their college studies.

“Some of our students do work in intriguing settings,” Noreen said. “We’ve had students extern with exotic animals, someone interested in horses found a spot at a well-known equine facility in Kentucky, and some of our students have had the opportunity to intern at zoos and wildlife parks.”

More information about becoming a veterinary technician can be found on the .

Posted by:
TMCC's Public Information Office
Telephone: 775-673-7087

Return to previous page