Vicki Byard, CVT, VTS (Dentistry), CVJ

Dentistry Department Coordinator, Rau Animal Hospital, Glenside, Pennsylvania

Vickie Byard, CVT, VTS (Dentistry), CVJ has worked at Rau Animal Hospital in Glenside, PA since 1985.  Vickie was an adjunct instructor at Manor College. She is a charter member of the AVDT. In 2010 Vickie was selected as the Veterinary Technician of the Year for Pennsylvania. In 2013 she was honored as NAVTA’s Veterinary Technician of the Year.  Vickie is the founder of, and frequent blogger for, PetED™ Veterinary Education and Training Resources. 

Keeping Your Dentistry Patient Safe Under General Anesthesia
This session will discuss everything from proper endotracheal tube size and placement to the importance of capnography. Objectives: To help technicians realize ways they can reduce anesthetic risk; to reintroduce proper intubation technique to reduce risk of tracheal tears; and to discuss new surgical fluid administration rates for felines.

Dental Charting: It is More than Just “X”s and “O”s
This lecture is designed to provide the technician to take their charting skills to the next level. We will discuss anatomy as it relates to dentistry. This will explore the need and technique for charting periodontal pocket depths, fracture classification, tooth resorptions, mobility and more. Objectives: To provide in-depth information that the technician can employ to chart more accurately; to teach technicians how to classify tooth resorptions and fractures; to show how the dental chart can be used as a plan for future case success.

Out of Sight! Are Intraoral Radiographs Important for Complete Dental Assessment
Intraoral radiograph equipment is being introduced to veterinary practices every day. We will look at equipment, bisecting angle technique, and some cases. Objectives: To look at the financial benefits to the practice by adding full mouth radiographs as a service and standard of care; to illustrate that this is a critical piece of equipment for dental case management; and to discuss the theory of the bisecting angle technique.

Periodontal Disease: The Most Prevalent Disease in Veterinary Medicine
This session discusses the role of the bio-film, plaque and tartar as it relates to periodontal disease. Treatment options will be discussed as well as case management. Objectives: To provide an in-depth discussion on periodontal disease progression; to introduce the technician to proper periodontal probing; and to discuss the products available for periodontal healing.

Feline Dentistry
This presentation will focus on the issues specifically related to our feline friends. The focus will range from their special handling needs to species specific dental related medical challenges. Objectives: To show the differences in the triadan numbering system as compared to the canine patient; to understand the importance of appropriate use of the dental explorer; to discuss current investigations in tooth resorptions; to outline the protocol for crown amputations with intentional root retention as a treatment for tooth resorptions; and to provide the attendant with a deeper understanding of the critical need for intraoral radiographs especially in this species.

Gaining Compliance: Getting Those Dentistries to the Table
This lecture is designed to take a serious look at communication styles, wording and recommendations for dentistry in the small animal practice. We will explore different marketing methods and the practice’s commitment to this care to maximize client compliance. Objectives: To change communication styles regarding dental recommendations; to stimulate thought around the art of estimate preparation; and to increase client compliance regarding dental services.



Stephen Cital, RVT, SRA, RLAT, VTS-LAM (Research Anesthetist)

Chief Operating Officer, Veterinary Anesthesia Nerds and Executive Director, Academy of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians and Nurses

Stephen originally started college to become a registered human nurse but did not enjoy working with humans as patients. Instead Stephen became an RVT and then obtained certification as a Surgical Research Anesthetist through the Academy of Surgical Research followed the designation of a Registered Laboratory Animal Technician through the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science soon after. Stephen is Executive Director for the Academy of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians and Nurses. His regular daytime position is most recently at Silicon Valley Veterinary Specialists, as well as a private contractor for several research organizations. Stephen also holds positions at the Oakland Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo. He occupies his remaining time writing book chapters, book reviews, blogs for VetBloom and lecturing internationally. He enjoys teaching and serves on advisory boards for local Vet Tech colleges, is on the Aratana Technician Council of Pain Experts, helps run the Veterinary Anesthesia Nerds and Veterinary Cannabis Academy Facebook and webpages and is on multiple speaker bureaus. Stephen serves as the Past President for the Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians, Vice President and current liaison for the California RVT Association and member at large for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.

Blood Pressure Pharma
This lecture will cover management of patient’s blood pressure with pharmaceuticals after everything else has failed in the theatre or intensive care setting. We will discuss choosing the right type of medication for differing debilitations specific to the patient.

Common Myths in Pain Management
There are several misconceptions on how pain medications work and interact with each other, as well as outdated practices still being practiced in many hospitals. This lecture will cover many of these and address them with scientific evidence.

Addicts and Ethics: Dealing with the Opioid Crisis from a Veterinary Perspective
We have been taught opioids are the gold standard for moderate to severe pain. Now with the ongoing opioid crisis many practices are having to reconsider opioid inventory, to go home prescriptions and balancing best practices with safety and ethics of “do no harm”. We will discuss options of pain management less reliant on opioids and practical approaches for medications to go home where there is a concern.

Animal Boredom, Emotion and Pain: Making a Little Sense of the Science for our Patients
Within the last several years cognition and affect researchers have tried to understand the animal state better. Some studies show a more human like perception to pain with an emotional state, while others refute this conclusion. We will learn how to interpret our patients based on the evidence we have from measured behavioral and biological outputs described in the literature for multiple species. We will delve into most current research on this topic and discuss our own conclusions based on what we see in practice.

Enrichment for Research Animals
We are indebted to research animals for their sacrifice. Keeping an animal fully enriched is the least we can do for the animals in the research setting. This lecture will focus on various methods and techniques of enrichment, form rodents and primates, to large animals and aquatic species.

Pain Management in the Research Setting
This lecture will focus on the ever-evolving topic of pain management in a variety of common exotic or research species. This will be an interactive lecture with case scenarios based on protocol limitations of certain types of pain medications such as NSAIDS.


Liz Hughston, MEd, RVT, CVT, VTS (SAIM, ECC)

Owner and Head Technician, VetTechXpert, San Jose, California

After a career in professional administration, Liz returned to her first love – veterinary medicine – eleven years ago.  Liz graduated from the Foothill College Vet Tech Program and became an RVT in 2006 and hasn’t looked back, becoming a VTS in Small Animal Internal Medicine and Emergency and Critical Care in 2012.  In 2013 she was honored to be named CaRVTA’s inaugural RVT of the Year in recognition of her contributions to technician advancement and education. She is a member of CaRVTA, NAVTA, AIMVT/ACVIM, AVECCT/VECCS, IVAPM, and IAAHPC. She lives in San Jose with her husband, three dogs, and a cat.

Mythbusting: ECC Pharmacology Edition
Do we still need to use heparin to flush peripheral IV catheters? Should I still stock doxapram in my neonatal resuscitation kit? What about administering steroids or pain medications to emergency patients? This lecture addresses these emergency and critical care pharmacological questions, along with evidence to support recommendations.

Family Presence in the Veterinary Practice: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond
Most animal hospitals around the country maintain a strict separation between the “front of the house” and the “back of the house.” At practices that honor the human-animal bond with family presence there is little to no separation between the areas traditionally reserved for clients (reception, exam rooms) and those traditionally reserved for veterinary staff (treatment area, surgery, ICU, etc). Family presence improves communication with the client, as information is shared in real-time. This improved communication helps the client feel valued as a member of the patient care team, leading to clients who are more engaged both with the practice and their pet. A more engaged client is a happier client, leading to better online reviews, and more revenue for the practice.

Git ‘Er Down: Nursing Care for the Megaesophagus Dog
Megaesophagus is a condition characterized by the loss of muscular tone in and subsequent dilation of the esophagus, leading to numerous complications. Join Liz as she focuses on nursing considerations for the canine megaesophagus patient. Learn about common clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment options available for megaesophagus. We will cover nutritional requirements, feeding strategies, and treatment of common complications as well as owner education and support as they navigate this often difficult to manage condition.

Troubleshooting Anesthetic Complications
In the practice of anesthesia – no matter the procedure – there is always the possibility for complications to arise. The mark of a critical thinking anesthetist is how we react to those complications. In this talk, we will cover some of the most common anesthetic complications, how to approach them, and when we should be really worried! In addition, we will talk about what your monitors are actually telling you about what’s going on with your patient and what they’re NOT telling you. Join us as we discuss approaches to decreased pulse oximetry readings, increased or decreased end tidal carbon dioxide readings, and hypo/hypertension.

Play Nice! Drug Interactions Every Veterinary Technician Should Know
The number of medications we use every day in practice is astounding and increasing every day. Technicians are instrumental in both administering medications and ensuring the safety of patients receiving them so it’s important to know how drugs interact with each other. We will cover common medications used in practice and how they interact with each other – both positively and negatively – as well as basic pharmacokinetics.

Scooby’s Doobies: Cannabis in Veterinary Medicine
With the advent of decriminalization of recreational use of cannabis in several states, and the increasing use of medical cannabis in human medicine, interest is growing in how medical cannabis might be used to treat veterinary patients as well. This talk will review the current ongoing research, any available evidence, as well as present anecdotal information about the use of medical cannabis for dogs and cats. Your clients are using it: get information to help them make the best decisions.


Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM)

ICU Manager and Blood Bank Manager, Adobe Animal Hospital, Los Altos, California

Over the 18 years in practice, Ken has discovered and refined his role as a veterinary technician by promoting compassionate and progressive care for the patients and their family. He obtained his VTS certification in emergency and critical care as well as small animal internal medicine and obtained his master's degree in Veterinary Science. He is currently the ICU Manager and Blood Bank Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital, and is the Program Director for RECOVER CPR Initiative. Ken has co-edited the Manual of Veterinary Transfusion Medicine and Blood Banking and has published over 25 text chapters and articles in publications such as the Veterinary Team Brief and Today’s Veterinary Nurse. He speaks internationally and has given over 800 presentations. Ken works to encourage further recognition of the vital role of the veterinary nurses and technicians through work with organizations such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America co-chairing the Veterinary Nurse Initiative, and serving as a board member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians, and the Veterinary Innovation Council. He pursues these goals by showing the value of the profession’s perspective in veterinary medicine. Ken invites everyone to ask “Why?” to understand the “What” and “How” of our field, and to constantly pursue new limits as veterinary professionals and individuals.

Just Breathe: Respiratory Emergencies
Respiratory distress and/or failure are one of the most common emergencies seen in veterinary medicine. When a patient presents in respiratory distress, the technician’s ability to quickly and accurately assess the problem and provide appropriate emergency intervention is vital to a positive outcome. The various types of respiratory emergencies and their pathophysiology, concepts in assessing oxygenation and ventilation status, and methods of treatment will be discussed. There are various tools, both low and high tech, at our disposal. Attendees will be given opportunities to view videos of patients in respiratory distress, participate in the discussion of concerns in each case and appropriate interventions. Use your hands, eyes, ears, and monitoring equipment to assess your patients!

Shock Has Two Faces: The Keys to Perfusion
Patients presenting in shock are one of the most common emergencies. Patients in a state of shock by definition are unable to produce adequate cellular energy. Hemodynamic compromise and loss of proper perfusion leads to significant physiological consequences and requires immediate intervention for restoration. Guidance will be given in recognizing signs of circulatory shock through physical assessment parameters and accessible monitoring technology, along with treatment and nursing interventions.

Shock Has Two Faces: RBCs and Anemia
Blood has been known to be the essence of vitality from the ancient days. Red blood cells carrying oxygen to various body systems are essential to life. Anemia, a significant decrease in the level of these RBCs can occur through many different causes, leading to hypoxemic shock. We will explore occurrences of anemia through loss, destruction, and compromised production, and discuss proper assessment and treatment options.

We Need Blood STAT!! Emergency Transfusions
“We need blood STAT!” Has this phrase ever been used in an emergency situation in your practice? Transfusion therapy and our ability to provide blood components for our patients have greatly increased our capability in helping patients, and can be life-saving in certain situations. Being aware of our transfusion options, the value of component therapy and blood banking, and indications and contraindications of blood products will allow a veterinary team to maximize chances of successful outcomes. In addition, there may be uncommonly used methods in transfusion medicine that can be helpful in true emergency situations. We will explore transfusion options and decisions to be made in emergencies.

Mythbusters: ECC Nursing Myths and Truths
Various nursing practices are considered to be “standard of care”, but are they really? Some nursing practices are continued out of tradition, while some might have valid evidence to support its use. There are also topics of controversy that commonly spur debate. Recent evidence elucidating many prominent questions will be answered, and the methods in incorporating evidence into nursing practice discussed. The content of the lecture is guided by audience interest.

Evidence-Based CPR: The RECOVER Guidelines
A patient is rushed into your practice, and you witness the patient stop breathing! Do you know what to do next? Cardiopulmonary arrest is the ultimate emergency facing our patients. Clear knowledge on the current methods in CPR is important in providing these patients the best chance of survival. The 2012 RECOVER CPR Guideline is an evidence-based veterinary CPR guideline. The effect of implementation of such a guideline into practice, and one hospital’s experience will also be shared.