Why I Love Being a Vet Tech Contest Finalist: Shannon Vann

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Shannon Vann, a 2016 Why I Love Being a Vet Tech contest finalist.

At Pets Best, we believe the veterinary industry is empowered by the many certified veterinary technicians who, through their hard work and dedication, make a difference in the lives of their patients each and every day. We created the Why I Love Being a Vet Tech contest to acknowledge their tireless efforts. In partnership with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), we are pleased to announce this year’s top eight finalists.

Meet Shannon Vann, a Certified Veterinary Technician who works in the ICU at Southern Colorado Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Shannon has been an animal person all her life, and admits that as a kid she would spend her time at parties with the animals. Even as an adult you can find her sitting on the floor, talking to the pets at parties. However, she doesn’t have to go far to find a pet to love: at home she has a large and lively pet family that consists of two dogs, BlueBear and Stuart Little, who are both huskies; six cats named Bobalou, Boo, PJ, Pickles, Annie Oakley, and Peluche, several of whom were foster cats or rescues; pet ducks Princeton and Priscilla; and chickens.

When she’s not spending time with animals at home or at the clinic, she and her fiancé Levi enjoy traveling and living the Colorado lifestyle: they love mountain biking, gardening, and exploring the numerous microbreweries of Colorado. They’re also planning a fun, unique wedding for sometime in 2017!

Read on to learn more about Shannon and her contribution the veterinary community.

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Why did you choose to become a vet tech?

When I was about five or six years old, my aunt’s dog fell asleep in my lap, and my own family then acquired our first dog, a standard poodle. I have always loved and respected animals. At parties as a kid and as an adult, you can find me sitting on the floor talking to the pets rather than the humans.

Why do you love being a vet tech?

Last week I cried so hard my face ached for a patient that was “mine” for 36 hours. He was admitted Monday on my overnight and was euthanized Thursday. He was a beautiful, smart, good dog. I work in the ICU, so patients dying or being euthanized is not unusual, but most of the time we have answers. Sometimes the patient has been fighting cancer, sometimes even for years. Sometimes it’s heart disease or kidney failure. This patient was the second similar case in a year in which our veterinary team suspected a brown recluse or similar venomous spider bite, but had no proof. After Maurice was euthanized, numerous biopsies were taken of his lesions. Hopefully we can solve the next case like Maurice’s.

That’s one of my favorite things about working in the ICU, especially overnight: I’m the one who watches over the patients while the doctors are home resting and recuperating, researching and refueling. They know I will keep their patients safe until the doctors come back to work the next morning. And I know they will take pictures, send e-mails, read textbooks and journals, and consult colleagues to find a cure. If anyone could have been able to save Maurice, it would have been our team. And, when it became clear we could not, we ended his life with dignity, with his family surrounding him, and with my tears dried into his beautiful fluffy mane. Rest in peace, Maurice, it was a pleasure caring for you.

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If you could improve upon or change one thing about the veterinary industry, what would that be?

I wish there were a high standard of care universally across the industry. I started work in Colorado in a university setting and in private practice specialty settings. When I moved to rural southern Illinois, I discovered that poverty, lack of education, and lack of responsible pet ownership caused problems daily, such as flea and tick infestations and vector-borne disease, pyometra and pregnancy, fighting, abandonment, feline leukemia, FIV and FIP. I’ve thought often about how nice it would be if everyone had grown up like me, with a vet school right down the road, attending the vet school open houses, and treating our family pets as family members.
Does your clinic talk to clients about pet insurance?

ABSOLUTELY! Several times we have had “frequent flier” patients that return over and over for chronic illnesses or conditions, and sometimes I am amazed at how much the pet insurance helps cover! I am not really sure how much discussion our front desk team and daytime veterinary technicians have about insurance; I work in ICU overnight, so I don’t interact with clients as much, and am often just giving brief updates of their pet’s condition over the phone.

We invite you to stay tuned to our blog, where we will share in-depth Q&A sessions we held with the remaining finalists. (You can learn more about the Why I Love Being a Vet Tech Contest here.) The contest winner will receive a one-year NAVTA membership and a paid trip to the 2017 North American Veterinary Community Conference. You may vote here for Shannon or any of the other finalists once a day through Thursday, October 6th.


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