Looking for a new challenge in your career as a veterinary nurse or technician?
Have you considered the field of canine sports medicine and rehabilitation?
Read on to find out how Ashlee Callander chose this career path. Ashlee is now a senior CCRA (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant) at the Vet Practice in Whittlesea, Victoria, and will join the education team at VetPrac for the Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Workshop later this month.
How did you first develop an interest in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation?
“I have always had a passion for animals; originally coming from the hairdressing and beauty industry I was looking for something more fulfilling. Being a CCRA gives me the ability to have such a great impact on the animal’s physical state and well-being. I also love educating clients on providing a higher level of care to their furry family members and being able to provide support to them even in the harder times. Rehab isn’t just a job; it takes an immense level of dedication and care to ensure only the best for our animals.”
Tell us about the training you’ve undergone to become a certified canine rehab assistant.
“My clinic always sees the importance of having educated and accredited staff to provide knowledgeable and correct treatment. My studies have allowed me to spend some amazing time over in the US; I made 2 trips over to complete my certification and placement. During this time, I met some of the kindest, compassionate and amazingly skilled human beings. It is such a great feeling to meet so many people with such dedication to the field and to the quality of our dog’s lives.”
What kind of clinic do you work in?
“I work in one of the largest clinics in Australia; we are a 24hr animal hospital that provides everything from basic care to state-of-the-art treatments. These services include CT, MRI, orthopaedic surgery, regenerative medicine and of course our fully certified rehab centre that is currently 6 members strong and growing.”
What’s a typical day at your clinic in your role as a rehab assistant?
“Every day is different when it comes to my job! I work with a combination of inpatient post ortho or neuro patients, outpatient post ortho/sporting/geriatric/neuro who come in for a session with their owner and what we call All Day Rehab patients that come and stay with us for the day. Every day is a different balance of each, but there is always a guarantee that it’s going to be a busy day!”
What strengths do you bring to your team?
“I love getting creative with our patients’ rehab to be able to get the most out of their exercises. I’m also big on form and ensuring correct posture and gait; it’s not just as simple as getting dogs to do cool tricks. It’s great when our team brainstorms and adds all of our knowledge together, especially when working with a hard case.”
What advice do you have for veterinary nurses or technicians that wish to pursue a career in canine rehabilitation?
“It is such a fulfilling career and I love what I do. Ensure that you practice your skills every day and get hands-on every chance you can in your training as good palpation skills are key. You also need to be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it. Ensure you and your team support each other physically and emotionally.”
When asked about a memorable case she’d been involved with Ashlee replied “It’s hard for me to describe one case that is really memorable for me as on a regular basis we see patients that have been given euthanasia as their best option: the incurable lameness that’s been going on for months if not years or the paralysed dog that no one thinks will walk again. We have been able to prove all these things wrong and significantly turn their lives around and regain an active quality of life. It takes dedication from our team and the owners to nurse these patients back to health. It’s pretty special!”
What do you like to do for fun?
“In my winddown time, I love getting out into the fresh air and exploring our beautiful countryside, including doing this on horseback. I have 1 dog, 1 cat, and 3 horses so a lot of my time outside of work is dedicated to them. They are my sanity!”
To find out more about the training required to become a certified canine rehabilitation veterinary nurse, go to http://www.caninerehabinstitute.com/CCRVN.html