The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Inc. (NAVTA) recognizes the third week of October every year as National Veterinary Technician Week. This annual event recognizes veterinary technicians for their contributions in the best possible care for all animals. Veterinary technicians are educated in the latest medical advances and skilled at working alongside veterinarians to give animals the best medical care possible.
Here at Nashville Zoo, we have two wonderful Veterinary Technicians on our Veterinary team. Learn a little more about our vet tech Sandy Skeba, LVMT and Bailey Jones!
“I always wanted to work with animals, and especially enjoyed the wild and exotic critters. When I was growing up, I wasn't afraid to pick up any kind of animals - spiders, snakes, you name it! When my neighbor called me one night to help get a fish hook out of her cat's mouth, I knew I wanted to work with animals.”
“Every day is different! One day you could be examining a newborn baby giraffe, then doing x-rays on a hellbender, then taking blood from an anteater. Of course, some days are filled with paperwork! I really enjoy being part of the conservation work here as well. The Zoo does so much to help animals in the wild, including extensive projects with local species, such as Hellbenders. But we are part of conservation missions globally, too.”
“Several times I have been instrumental in helping revive an animal that was dying or clinically dead. It’s so amazing to bring something back to life! When our baby Tapir Felix was born (not the current one!), his mother failed to open his amniotic sac, and he was suffocating. With the keeper's help we separated mom, then rushed in to resuscitate him. He went from having a slow, faint heartbeat to squealing for his mother in about 10 minutes!”
“I love to bird watch and garden. I enjoy teaching, and have published several veterinary articles and book chapters. I also brew my own beer at home. I love to go hiking and birdwatching, and enjoy gardening and cooking. Getting to be outside part of the day is a definite perk of working at the Zoo!”
“Growing up we had numerous pets from dogs, snakes, guinea pigs and fish, so early on I knew I liked being around a variety of species. While at the University of North Texas, studying behavior analysis focusing on animal behavior, I realized I wanted to take a different path. I did some research and found a vet tech program. Being a veterinary technician has opened up so many opportunities for me that I never would have dreamed of, and ultimately, led me here to this amazing institution."
“My favorite part of the job is not having to sit behind a desk all day. We have a balance of lab/clinic work and getting to go outside. Also I like the opportunity to work with a wide variety of species ranging from a tiny tree frog to a rhino to a giraffe."
“It’s hard to pick just one memorable moment when I feel like I have to pinch myself every day that I’m here. Even my working interview was amazing. I got to monitor anesthesia on a red tegu named Henry. The veterinarians were removing a mass from his tail, so he’ll always have a special spot in my heart as being the first animal I worked on here at the Zoo."
“Outside of work I enjoy reading and have recently joined a book club. I have two dogs at home that I like to take on walks and hikes. My family has land in the country, so we’ll go ride 4-wheelers and cook out. Also I’m always looking for a good show to binge on Netflix."
Please join the Zoo in thanking our Veterinary Technicians for all they do to care for our animal collection!
"I have always been interested in the medical field, but after two internships working at both a wildlife rehabilitation center and a wildlife refuge, I developed a great appreciation for the work that goes into taking care of animals, especially the non-domesticated. I decided I wanted to combine my passion for animals and medicine by being a vet tech with the ultimate goal of one day getting to be in a place where I could help exotic animals like those I worked with previously. I knew it wouldn’t always be glamorous or easy, but I figured the rewards would be worth it. I’m proud to be where I am now and my path to get here."
"It’s hard to narrow down a specific part, but collectively, my favorite part of my work is knowing that it opens the door for so many unique experiences. I have already been able to work with a potpourri of animals, go new places, meet amazing people, and learn daily. Everyday can hold something new because of my work—even when I’m not at work! I’m not sure everyone can say that about their profession."
"This is a near impossible question to answer because there are many that are memorable but for different reasons. One that sticks out though, is being on my second day of work in a zoo, ever, and having to assist in a major emergency surgery on a Japanese Macaque. Anyone that works with primates can understand the challenges in that! Luckily my past surgical training kicked in, because I had no time to be nervous or unsure when things needed to move quickly. After everything was over and the animal was recovered it hit me that I just had an amazing introduction into the zoo medicine world!"
"I don’t think many people in the zoo and/or veterinary world can say that they are “outside” of animal care because we often have animals waiting for us at home! Other interests I have though are: playing sports, outdoor activities, random adventures with friends, reading, being crafty (when inspiration strikes), and when life variables allow for it…traveling."
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