Career Spotlight of the Month (January 2019)
Name: Sarah Miller, RVT
Current Job: Lead farrowing RVT for Kuhryville Farms, a division of Floradale Feed Mill Limited
Q & A with Sarah
OAVT: Where did you go to school, and what made you decide to take a Veterinary Technology program?
Sarah: Ridgetown College, graduate of the class of 2003.
I chose to take the veterinary technician program as I knew I wanted to work with animals in some capacity. The technician program at Ridgetown offered working with both large and small animals as part of their curriculum.
OAVT: You currently work as the lead farrowing RVT for Kuhryville Farms, a division of Floradale Feed Mill Limited. What other jobs have you had in the RVT field?
Sarah: I have always been a small animal RVT working with mostly dogs and cats in small animal clinics since I graduated from school. I have worked in lab animal medicine and I have also collected blood for the racetracks in their Standardbred TC02 and EPO program.
OAVT: What made you decide to make the leap from small animal to large animal medicine?
Sarah: The biggest factor in my decision to move from small animal to large animal medicine was the birth of my daughter and the sale of my husband’s family dairy operation. The hours of a small animal RVT and daycare hours were not compatible, especially with my husband starting a job off the farm. I wanted to continue my career in the veterinary field and had to look elsewhere for a job with better family hours.
OAVT: And are you happy you made the leap?
Sarah: I am so glad I made the change to working with large animals. I have a great team to work with and I work for a company that truly cares about its employees. My work-life balance is great and I get to spend time with my family while still working in the field that I enjoy.
OAVT: What is a typical day like for you in your current role?
Sarah: A typical day always involves herd health and a thorough check of every sow and piglet in our farrowing rooms. Any animals requiring medication are treated. We feed our sows three times a day, and running the feed system is part of my job as well as determining how much feed each sow should receive to maintain an optimal body condition.
We process piglets daily and my job includes tail docking and castrating as well as giving pain medication to all of the piglets being processed that day. I also observe sows farrowing and assist any sows that require help.
Another component of my job is to castrate the cryptorchid piglets. I sedate, administer the local anaesthetic, perform the surgery and close the surgery site.
OAVT: It sounds like you get to use a lot of your RVT skills! What is the biggest difference between this job and your previous RVT jobs?
Sarah: The biggest difference between my current job and my previous job is my lack of interaction with clients and their pets. At my previous job I did some reception work and built lasting relationships with some clients and their pets.
OAVT: For RVTs who may be feeling stuck in their current roles, would you encourage them to try other sectors of animal medicine?
Sarah: I would definitely encourage any RVT that is interested in changing their roles to consider large animal medicine. There are many employers out there that are happy to utilize an RVT's many skills to better the health of their herds.