Few things pull the heartstrings tighter than a plaintive Lost Dog poster up at the local grocery store. That is one reason why Veterinary Technology students at the Minnesota School of Business St. Cloud campus (MSB) decided to offer their clinical skills to Central Minnesota Animal Care and Control (CMACC) as a fundraiser and day of client education.
Microchipping pets is a high-tech solution to identifying lost or stolen animals. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Microchip implantation provides a reliable, and often less painful, method of permanent, unalterable animal identification.” The devices are implanted through a hypodermic needle and activated by a low-power radio frequency signal with a unique pre-programmed identification number. There are few risks to the animal, and pet owners have peace of mind that they have a means of retrieving their lost best friend if separated.
MSB Vet Tech students microchipped 15 dogs and cats at the event at a discounted rate of $25, and all proceeds were then donated to CMACC. In addition, students provided nail trimming, teeth brushing and anal expression services for a fee. In total, $380 was raised.
Student Katelynn Weiman explained that the class goal went beyond the offered services. “We would [also] educate the clients that would come in about the microchips and the importance of teeth cleaning and regular checkups.”
As a part of their client education efforts, students filled out home dental care/periodontal disease brochures after evaluating each pet’s mouth, and they sent one home for every dog and cat.
Weiman also noted that the event was a great learning experience for the students as well. “We were able to apply what we learned in the class about the importance for proper oral care. For our future career, we will be working like that daily with clients and educating them on how to provide the best care for their pet(s.)”
“We were working with animals hands-on,” added Jerrica Lembcke. “We learned what it is like in a real clinic.”
Vet Tech instructor, Jessica Ostendorf, couldn’t agree more. “The students loved it,” she said, “and felt they got to use their hands-on skills, practice client education/public interactions and help a good cause.”
“I was most impressed with how professional my VT292 classes acted, and how well they . . . educated clients . . . [and] how patiently they worked with some of the more fearful/anxious pets.” Ostendorf added that CMAAC has already asked when the students can return for a similar event.
Jenni Axelson is a Certified Vet Tech and Animal Control Manager, as well as an Assistant Manager for CMAAC. She also happens to be an MSB alumna who worked at the microchpping event.
“It was crazy that day!” she said, (meaning in a good way.) “They were lining up outside the door at 10:30.” (A full half-hour before the event began.)
Axelson was impressed with the attention the students paid the clients, taking the time to explain everything they were doing. The students also volunteered their services for animals in the pound.
Axelson expects their next event to be even bigger and better. Lucky dogs and cats throughout the area can count on it.
For more information on microchipping, go to the AVMA website: http://www.avma.org/issues/microchipping/microchipping_bgnd.asp