National Veterinary Technician Week

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National Veterinary Technician Week

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 three wonderful veterinary technicians on our veterinary team. Learn a little more about our Vet Techs, Sandy Skeba, Bailey Jones, and Kelsey Robertson. Sandy is not only a Vet Tech but also our Veterinary Hospital Manager!



1. Why did you choose to become a Vet Tech?

"I was always the kid catching snakes and playing with them, and was not afraid of any animal growing up. I had all kinds of pets, and even rehabbed and released baby squirrels and rabbits. One of the best vet tech schools in the country was in my area, so it was a natural decision for me!"

2. What is your favorite part of your job?

"Working at the Zoo, every day is different! And because we work with such diverse species, we are encouraged to learn new things every day. But my real joy is found looking at cool things under the microscope, such as cytology and parasites."  

3. What has been your most memorable moment during your zoo career?

"Several years ago, there was a baby tapir, Felix, born whose mother didn't tear open his amniotic sac, and he was suffocating. With the keeper's help, we separated him from mom, then rushed in to resuscitate him. I was the only member of the Vet Team there that day, so I led the resuscitation effort. Hearing his baby squeals after several desperate minutes of CPR was one of the best moments of my life!"

4. What do you love outside of animal care?

"I love to garden, birdwatch, and run trails on my weekend. I also enjoy writing, and have had several chapters published in veterinary technician books."



1. What is your background and how did you get your current job?

"I knew from a young age I wanted to be a zoo vet and work with tigers. I had a collection of 30 tiger stuffed animals. My first job was as a dog bather at a small animal clinic. I worked my way up to a kennel tech, then started the vet tech program, and eventually became a licensed vet tech. I graduated in 2011 and am licensed in both TX and TN. I have worked as a tech in general practice, overnight ER, Oncology, Medical Research, and Ringling Bros. before getting the Nashville zoo job."

2. What are some of the pros and cons of the job? 

"Pros: We are able to work with a variety of exotic species, and every day is different. We contribute to conservation and get to be a small part of saving endangered animals. Cons: Every day is different, meaning it can get a bit chaotic at times, it can also mean long hours and canceled plans as in any animal field. "

3. What has been your most memorable moment during your zoo career?

"There are too many to count! Any time we help raise babies, anytime I get to draw blood on an animal I've never worked on before. There's at least one moment each day that I look around and thank God for allowing me to be a part of this field! "

4. What do you love outside of animal care?

"I love spending time with my family, friends, and of course my basset hound Dexter and cat Purrcy. Hobbies are hiking, reading, and traveling." 



The newest member of the Vet tech team, joining from Busch Gardens where she was a tech for four years

1. Why did you choose to become a Vet Tech?

I've been interested in veterinary medicine since I was a little kid, fueled by my passion for helping animals and learning as much as I can about them. I chose to become a veterinary technician because I wanted to focus on patient care and have an active role in cases from start to finish.

2. What is your favorite part of your job?

 My favorite part of my job is that every day holds a new challenge. What works for a large giraffe, definitely won't work for a baby flamingo and we are constantly having to adapt and learn from each case we see.

3. What has been your most memorable moment during your zoo career?

The most memorable moment of my zoo career actually happened here at Nashville Zoo. I assisted with eland dystocia back in May where our sweet baby Murray was born. I was in charge of caring for the calf once he was pulled with Dr. Heather leading the effort to assist mom, Indigo. It was amazing seeing everyone work together towards a common goal, especially since we thought we had already lost the calf due to complications. I'll never forget when Murray vocalized for the first time and I knew my efforts were paying off. Helping him stand for the first time, giving him his first bottle, and caring for him throughout the night was an experience I'll never forget.

4. What do you love outside of animal care?

Outside of animal care, I love running and being active outdoors. I also enjoy reading and snuggling with my fur babies while we watch baking competitions on tv. 


Please join the Zoo in thanking our Veterinary Technicians for all they do to care for our animals!


Posted by Nashville Zoo at 8:00 AM

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