The Animal Health Technology program at Hartnell College will celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week with an open house on Monday, Oct. 16, from 1 to 5 p.m.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the animal health technology facility, located in Unit D - a portable building located off of Nacional Street near the athletic fields.
Program director Sharon McKinney-Radel said the open house will enable community members and persons interested in an animal health care career to learn more about Hartnell's program.
She said animal health technicians assist veterinarians. "These individuals," McKinney-Radel said, "provide a valuable service. They do everything a regular nurse does. That includes giving medications, drawing blood, taking x-rays, performing checkups and assisting with surgeries. They are a veterinarian's right-hand person."
Hartnell's 25-year-old program currently has 32 students enrolled.
During the open house, students will be on hand to discuss with attendees the many roles performed by animal health technicians. There also will be several animals present, including some exotic breeds. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will offer animals for adoption, and job opportunities in the field will be discussed.
Program director McKinney-Radel, who also teaches classes, has taught part-time in the program since 1998. She has 18 years of experience as a registered veterinary technician at Ocean View Veterinary Hospital in Pacific Grove where she served as a technical supervisor.
Two local vets also teach part-time in program.
They are Dr. Rachel Sage, who is a veterinarian at the Portola Animal Hospital and Harden Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Salinas, and Dr. Glen Froistad of Crown V Veterinary Services in Aromas.
Both speak highly of the need for animal health techs. Says Dr. Sage: " Animal health technicians are so important to our work. They allow us to do our job as vets and they make our jobs run smoothly." Dr. Froistad, a large animal vet, echoes those sentiments and notes that animal health technicians can be “terrific assets” to veterinarians.
National Veterinary Technician Week is sponsored by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, a nonprofit organization that represents and promotes the profession of veterinary technology.
For more information on the program and the open house, call McKinney-Radel at (831) 755-6855.