Licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs) are essential to a veterinary team, because they provide many vital pet care services, work alongside veterinarians, and educate pet owners. In honor of all the important tasks an LVT undertakes each day, we are introducing Rhonda Poor, LVT, to our Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center of Willis community. Although she has been with our team only a short time, she has been an LVT for decades. Read her story and about her daily duties.
Meet veterinary team member Rhonda Poor, LVT
Rhonda Poor grew up on a South Dakota farm, where she began her lifelong love affair with animal care by tending to and treating the livestock, which spurred her dream of entering the veterinary field. To help pay for her horses while Rhonda was a barrel racer, she assisted the local veterinarian. She has always loved animals, and has hand-raised a fawn, several orphaned raccoons, bunnies, and a couple of foxes.
Following her veterinary medicine dream, she attended school in Arizona, and in 1989, she became an LVT. In 1995, she moved to San Antonio, and in June 2020, wanting to leave the city environment, Rhonda arrived at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center of Willis. Rhonda is especially interested in feline medicine and behavior, and is a huge advocate of the fear-free approach for handling these sensitive pets.
In her free time, Rhonda loves horseback riding, and enjoys ziplining and skydiving. Rhonda plans to visit Wyoming’s Pryor Mountains to see the wild horses, as she advocates for them. She would also like to visit all the national parks to enjoy their wild spaces.
An LVT’s day at the veterinary medical center
Knowing she has a never-ending LVT to-do list, Rhonda hits the ground running when she enters our medical center’s doors each morning. At the end of the day, Rhonda is happy to head home, aware that she made a positive difference in pets’ lives. Take a look at the many hats Rhonda wears throughout the day:
- Nurse — First and foremost, an LVT is a nurse. Rhonda administers patients’ medications, monitors their appetite and elimination, and evaluates their comfort level. She keeps a close eye on sick or injured pets and informs a veterinarian if any of their changes require intervention. LVTs provide the bulk of your pet’s nursing care in the medical center, whether they are hospitalized for an illness or recovering from surgery.
- Phlebotomist — As a phlebotomist, Rhonda’s job is to draw pets’ blood samples for diagnostic tests. This difficult job requires finding a vein in a moving target covered in fur, while avoiding an unhappy pet’s teeth and claws. However, because of her fear-free handling skills, Rhonda quickly and adeptly draws pets’ blood without causing them undue stress.
- Laboratory technician — An in-house laboratory stocked with a variety of analyzers is a must to get results quickly when a pet is sick or about to undergo anesthesia. Rhonda knows how to operate and maintain each machine, and troubleshoot problems. When Rhonda wears her laboratory technician hat, she takes X-rays, runs blood work, and evaluates urine, fecal, skin, and ear debris samples under the microscope.
- Anesthesiologist — When your pet must undergo anesthesia, an LVT closely reviews pre-anesthetic exam and testing results to formulate your pet’s customized anesthetic protocol. Based on her pharmacology and physiology knowledge, Rhonda chooses the safest anesthetic agents for your pet to ensure they remain unconscious and pain-free throughout their procedure. Based on your pet’s anesthesia response, Rhonda adjusts her plan as needed, closely monitoring their vitals and health status before, during, and after administering anesthetic agents.
- Surgical assistant — Rhonda preps the surgical suite for an upcoming procedure by gathering all the necessary instruments and supplies, handing them to the surgeon when needed. An LVT also assists when a veterinary surgeon needs an extra set of hands to help keep internal organs moist, shift a loop of bowel out of the way, or retract excess abdomen fat.
- Educator — The educator role is one of an LVT’s most important roles. Rhonda spends plenty of time ensuring pet owners understand how to give their pets medication, the medication’s use, and its potential side effects. She also can give advice on your puppies’ house-training, your kittens’ vaccination requirements, and young pets’ socialization. An LVT believes one of their most important responsibilities is to share their pet care wisdom with pet owners.
As one of our licensed veterinary technicians, Rhonda cares for your pet by advocating for their comfort when she sees their distress, and nursing them back to health after an illness or injury. You can count on all our LVTs to be there for you and your furry pal at your next Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center of Willis appointment.
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