Students in Genesee Community College's new Veterinary Technology program began the fall semester with a new opportunity at the Genesee County Animal Shelter. The new cooperative agreement is already being tagged as a beneficial opportunity for all involved, especially our four-legged, furry friends.
Under the extensive oversight of GCC's vet tech program, second-year students are gaining hands-on experience by working with the staff and volunteers who run the Genesee County Animal Shelter located on West Main Street in the Town of Batavia.
Under the new agreement, GCC vet tech students aid in most facets of the shelter's daily operation including basic animal care such as feeding, cleaning, and kennel duty, as well as reception, client education, transport and record keeping. They work closely with the on-duty licensed veterinary technologist or veterinarian with direct animal care in checking vital signs, collecting and processing of blood and fecal samples, ear cleaning, administering medications, and diagnostic testing.
The students are enrolled in higher level courses, specifically, VET 234 Clinical Laboratory Techniques, VET 245 and VET 246 which covers small and large animal pathology and nursing, respectively.
"I'm ecstatic -- it is a great collaboration in a lot of different ways," Wendy Castleman, president of the Volunteers for Animals (VFA), which provides extensive support to Genesee County Animal Shelter. "There is already a very positive impact and a huge benefit to the animal and the shelter's operation as students help with the care, cleanliness, checking and testing of the animals."
The multifaceted benefit also includes the animal shelter now having access to an on-site veterinarian. GCC's full-time instructor Dr. Carolyn (Carrie) Caccamise is involved with the Animal Shelter as she oversees the teaching and learning experience of GCC students.
Genesee Community College's Veterinary Technology program trains students to aid animals and society by providing excellent care and service for animals by alleviating animal suffering and by promoting public health. Genesee students do not perform animal experiments of any kind, and the program will be visited on site by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) for accreditation review.
It is also overseen by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which ensures each and every procedure is documented, follows appropriate animal protocol and that the facilities are inspected a minimum of two times a year. The program is also registered by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and comes under the direct jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA/APHIS). These governing agencies also conduct yearly inspections of facilities, review all protocols used for student learning, as well as the housing requirements for each individual species.
All animals cared for GCC students are supervised by a NYS licensed veterinarian and licensed veterinary technician, each with more than 20 years of veterinary clinical experience.
Lastly, part of the curriculum of Genesee's Veterinary Technology program includes studying the federally enacted Animal Welfare Act, wherein these rules and regulations offer the minimum standard of care. The two-year Vet Tech program at Genesee gives graduates the opportunity to become licensed veterinary technicians versed in high standards of animal care and dignity suitable for employment in many occupations that maintain the health and welfare of animals.
"GCC's program and its new agreement with Genesee County Animal Shelter aims to give our students a dynamic learning opportunity, but in doing so we are also sharing our resources with the local community and helping strengthen the extraordinary services provided by the Animal Shelter," said Kathryn Seweryniak, LVT, MS, director of the Veterinary Technology program. "Our program and this new cooperative agreement enable all of us to better help the animals in our community."
The Genesee County Animal Shelter offers an invaluable service to the community with more than 450 cats adopted last year and more than 220 dogs adopted. It is located at 3841 W. Main St. Road in Batavia and is open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
The shelter can be reached at 343-6410. The website for Volunteers for Animals is www.vol4animals.org and it's updated regularly and features photos and profiles of both cats, dogs, kittens and puppies that are available for adoption.
For information contact GCC's Veterinary Technology Program Director Kathryn Seweryniak at 343-0055, ext. 6187, or at [email protected].