Vet School offers classes in first aid for pet owners

Yelena Kibasova

The College of Veterinary Medicine is providing great opportunities for community members who yearn to care for animals.

Community members had the chance Tuesday to attend two courses that concentrated on veterinary dentistry and pet first aid.

The dentistry class is part of a Mini-Vet School series that has been conducted by the vet school’s continuing education program since 2002. It started in October and ends at the end of November.

Students get the opportunity to learn veterinary basics such as surgical procedures, dentistry and emergency room and critical care techniques.

“We want to raise people’s understanding of veterinary medicine and broaden their perspective,” said Jan Swanson, director of continuing education at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Tuesday’s class hosted 35 students under the instruction of Larry Klima, a professor at the vet school.

“My hope is that there’s going to be a greater awareness of the disease processes that happen at an early age,” Klima said.

Of all illnesses doctors at the veterinary clinic see, Klima said dental diseases are the most common.

Joann Brede of Stillwater took the courses after taking the first series provided by the University two years ago.

“It’s very informative whether you’re a pet owner or just an animal lover,” Brede said. She calls herself a “vet wannabe.”

Brede is preparing for a new flat-coated retriever puppy, to be named Guinness. The courses have been training her for knowledgeable health care and gave her a glimpse into the veterinary facilities provided by the University.

Just down the hall, students came to get training in veterinary CPR. Attendees spent four hours training through literature and hands-on activities. At the end of the course, students received CPR certification from the Red Cross.

The course was taught by Red Cross trainers. The organization only had a few students attending their training, but by collaborating with the University, the class filled to 50 students during the first year it was offered.

“It’s great exposure for the Veterinary Medical Center, and at the same time we’re helping people get into their classes,” said Kelly Tart, assistant clinical professor at the vet school. During the course, Tart gave students a tour of the University veterinary facilities.

Leslie Belz of Menomonie, Wis., heard about the training through the Heart of Minnesota Great Dane Club.

Belz said she has been in situations where she needed to know the types of emergency procedures taught in the class.

She owns two Great Danes named Horus and Isis, and two cats, Ra and Nuit, and had to act quickly when her pets got into her chocolate Halloween candy.

The first aid program is ongoing and holds its certification course three times a year in April, August and November.

The mini-vet school continues with a class from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Animal Science/Veterinary Medicine building and covers basic surgery techniques and interesting procedures.