RVTs: Shelter Medicine Superstars

October is RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician) Month. 2019 marks the 3rd Annual RVT month across Canada. 

As many of you may know, we proudly opened the Georgian Triangle Humane Society Animal Hospital within our shelter walls this past Spring. Not only did we recruit our very own Veterinarian, we were also lucky enough to hire our own Hospital RVT, Emily Weaver. 

In celebration of RVT Month, we decided to chat with Emily about her role at the GTHS – we discussed her duties, what she loves about her job, and how she differentiates shelter medicine vs. mainstream veterinary medicine (i.e. in a vet clinic open to the public).

Emily’s duties change depending on her patients’ needs, so no two working days are the same. Emily is an integral part of animal surgeries at the GTHS Animal Hospital; she organizes surgeries, sedates animals before they head into surgery, and monitors dogs and cats during their operations to ensure their vitals are in check and that their little (or big) bodies are reacting normally to their procedures. In addition to Emily’s responsibilities in the operating room, she also performs xrays, urinalyses and takes blood. For those of you who have tried to do something seemingly simple like give medication to your pets, you can truly appreciate the fact that in order to be an RVT, you must be patient, skilled and strong enough to handle scared or aggressive animals. Overall, Emily cares for the well-being of the animals that come through the GTHS Animal Hospital doors.

When asked what she loves about her job, her immediate response was that she loves the GTHS Hospital team (Dr. Anick Amaro and Hospital Volunteers), along with the shelter staff and volunteers. In such a confined space like our retrofitted Hospital, it is vital that team members mesh well – which they do. It’s really nice to see.  They are, through and through, a team working towards common goals.

As they say, variety is the spice of life, and Emily feels that the diversity of her role keeps her engaged and interested. Emily also loves the GTHS as an organization; she loves what the GTHS does and feels that her own values align with the organization’s Mission and Vision. She adds “getting to play with puppies and kittens” is a perk of the job as well!

When asked about what she feels is the greatest difference between shelter medicine and mainstream veterinary medicine, she stated that, as a shelter RVT, she must “think outside the box” more often; in many cases, the medical history of the animals that come to the GTHS Animal Hospital is unknown – they don’t have human caretakers who can report their symptoms or behaviours. She also notes that shelter medicine can be a lot more emotional – “it feels like all the animals are your own animals” as they are without a family or a home.  


Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!