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Veterinary Nursing
at Ryan Hospital

Clinical Services offered at Ryan Veterinary Hospital are augmented by an elite team of veterinary technicians. Each department offers its technicians the opportunity to specialize their skills in an area of veterinary medicine.

Anesthesia

  • Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has a large staff of certified/licensed veterinary technicians specialized in veterinary anesthesia.
  • Our technicians have the opportunity to be involved with the newest and most innovative procedures being performed in veterinary medicine today with access to state-of-the-art equipment.
  • The patients seen in this hospital are small companion animals (dogs and cats) and exotic species (birds, ferrets, rabbits, reptiles, rodents, etc.) with varying disease processes and surgical needs.
  • Cases seen can range from providing routine sedation for radiographs to performing general anesthesia on patients undergoing brain or open-heart surgery.
  • Four veterinary anesthesiologists, two residents and 14 veterinary technician anesthetists staff the Anesthesia section, which offers its veterinary technicians the opportunity to specialize in anesthesia while being exposed to a wide array of procedures and techniques.
  • Current nursing staff in Anesthesia includes:
    • Melissa Allen, RVT
    • Casey Bacon, CVT
    • Natail Barraza, CVT
    • David Brown, CVT
    • Julia Cote, RVT
    • Wendy Curtis Uhle, CVT, VTS, Anesthesia
    • Tonya Foster, CVT, Anesthesia, radiation oncology
    • Taylor Friday, CVT
    • Orli Gal, CVT
    • Carly Graffeo, CVT
    • Amy Henderson, CVT, VTS, Anesthesia
    • Ellen LoMastro, CVT, VTS, Anesthesia
    • Ashleigh Matthews, LVT
    • Tara Rodriguez, CVT
    • Jack Ryder, RVT
    • Teresa Scott, CVT
    • Kimberly Todd, CVT

Cardiology

  • The Section of Cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school was established in 1958 by Drs. David Detweiler and Donald Patterson as the clinical arm of the comparative cardiovascular studies unit.
  • It is considered the “birthplace” of veterinary cardiology with pioneer work done in various areas, including electrocardiography, heartworm disease, congenital heart disease, heart surgery, etc.
  • The section has state-of-the-art equipment, including echocardiography, electro- & phonocardiography, radiography & angiography, event & holter-monitoring equipment and a pacemaker interrogator unit providing the basis for high-scale diagnostic work-up within the area of small animal veterinary cardiology.
  • The Cardiology Section serves the major Philadelphia area with an average yearly case-load of 1820 patients.
  • Current nursing staff in Cardiology includes:
    • Jo Anne Winget, CVT

Dentistry & Oral Surgery

  • Dentistry & Oral Surgery at Penn Vet provides a full range of procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases in dogs, cats and variCatTeeth, Penn Vet Dentistryous special species, including oral examination, radiology, dental cleaning, periodontal surgery, tooth extraction, endodontics, restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial trauma management, temporomandibular joint surgery, oral and maxillofacial cancer surgery, facial reconstruction including microsurgery, palate surgery, salivary gland surgery, and oral medicine.
  • Current nursing staff in Dentistry & Oral Surgery includes:
    • Bonnie MillerBonnie Miller, BS, RDH
    • Jeanette HernandezJeanette Hernandez, CVT, RDH
    • Amy Kressler, CVT

Dermatology & Allergy

  • The Dermatology & Allergy Service at Ryan Veterinary Hospital sees approximately 1,400 patients each year. All cases are by referral only. The small animal and exotic patients seen present with a variety of skin diseases. The most common conditions are atopy (hypersensitivity to airborne allergens), food allergy, and flea bite hypersensitivity.

    Animals with skin disease exhibit many clinical signs. Pruritus (itching) is at the top of the list with other outward signs including alopecia, erythema scaling, crusting of the skin, hyperpigmentation, ear disease, and pyoderma.

    The Dermatology Service functions as a small animal specialty practice within a large university teaching hospital. We are staffed with six veterinarians who are augmented by 3 certified veterinary nurses (technicians), specializing in Dermatology.

    Ryan Veterinary Hospital provides the Dermatology Service with many resources to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the patients seen. Resources available include two video otoscopy units, which allow us to visualize the ear canals of dogs and cats. These units are utilized to perform ear flushes on patients with chronic ear disease. By thoroughly cleaning the ears this provides a healthy environment, which facilitates the healing of the ear canal.
  • The Dermatology Service also utilizes video microscopy; this unit projects the image on a monitor and aids in teaching fourth year veterinary students and nursing students. The video microscopy allows clinicians to store images of samples collected from our patients in a computer file for future reference. We routinely perform allergen testing (both intra-dermal skin testing and blood serology), skin biopsies for histopathology, and ear flushes.
  • Current nursing staff in Dermatology includes:
    • Joseph Rogosky, CVT
    • Colleen Walters, CVT

Emergency Service

  • The emergency service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to receive referral cases from local veterinarians and animals with serious or life-threatening problems that require immediate attention.
  • The emergency room is staffed by an integrated team of professionals who attend to the patients' emergency and critical care needs. This team is composed of board-certified specialists in emergency and critical care, other senior clinicians, residents, interns, nurses, nurse assistants, volunteers, and receptionists.

    The primary goal of the emergency service is to rapidly assess patients to determine the severity of the problem and initiate appropriate stabilization, treatment, and diagnostic testing. The emergency team provides service to the surrounding community and participates in the teaching of veterinary students, interns, residents, and nursing students.

    The emergency nursing staff triage all incoming patients and determine the medical priority of the patients to be seen. All patients in life threatening situations are immediately brought to the treatment area where the emergency clinician performs a physical examination and provides emergency stabilization.
  • Patients admitted to the emergency service can be transferred within the hospital to the appropriate department between 7-8 am the following day, transferred to their local veterinarian by 12 noon the following day, or discharged to go home from the emergency service.

    Emergency nursing staff have access to state of the art equipment to care for their patients. Monitoring equipment include; Direct and In-Direct Blood Pressure Monitoring, EKG, and Pulse Oximeter. Diagnostic laboratory equipment include; centrifuge, large screen teaching microscope, SCA2000 (PT and PTT), Nova (metabolites,electrolytes, blood gas), Micro Osmometer, FELV/FIV snap kits, Parvo snap kits, Ethylene glycol tests, Toxicology Screens, and Blood typing.
  • Other essential items in our emergency room include large oxygen cages, heating units. cautery unit, and an anesthesia®defibrillator, Bear Hugger machine. Packed red blood cells and fresh frozen plasma for felines and canines are available to our patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Current nursing staff in Ryan Hospital's Emergency Service includes:
    • Sally Powell, CVT, VTS (ECC), Supervisor of ES Technicians
    • Elisa Rogers, CVT, VTS (ECC), Assistant Supervisor of ES Technicians
    • Jennifer Cohen, CVT
    • Patricia Condon, CVT
    • Jeni Dohner, CVS, VTS (ECC)
    • Hollie Funderburg, CVT
    • Erin Gordon, CVT
    • Suzanne Hemphill, CVT
    • Michael McCallum, CVT
    • Gina Milani, CVT
    • Tanya Seip, CVT
    • Jaime Zeigler, CVT

General Nursing/Wards

  • The Wards department functions as an area to house all clinically stable animals during their Penn Vet nurses, taking patient's blood pressurehospitalization and to provide an environment conducive to student education. These areas include Internal Medicine, Orthopedics, Soft Tissue Surgery, Fluid Therapy, and Isolation.

    The Wards Nursing Staff is presently is available Monday through Friday during clinic hours. Additional nursing staff provides 24 hour nursing coverage for evenings and weekends as well as rotating staff nurses who supplement shifts in Wards and ICU.

    The objective of the staff is to provide the stability and continuity necessary to ensure quality patient care and to teach the veterinary and nursing students how to deliver the same level of care. In addition to nursing care, the nurses are skilled in a variety of techniques and specialized procedures.
  • The University of Pennsylvania has developed nurse practitionerships in areas such as transfusion therapy, endoscopy, orthopedics, and nutrition. Each nurse is certified and is involved in a continuing education program.
  • Current nursing staff includes:
    • Karen Gries, CVT- Nursing Supervisor
    • Paula Olson, CVT- Assistant Supervisor

    Orthopedics

    • Jane Cohen, CVT

    Surgery

    • Marta Bates, CVT
    • Jessica Bosco, CVT
    • Michelle Devuono, CVT

    Fluid Therapy

    • Kathy Schoettle, CVT
    • Tiffany Harris, CVT

    Internal Medicine

    • Jen Elenback, CVT, VTS (SAIM)
    • Victoria Anders, CVT, VTS (SAIM)
    • Ali McKenna, CVT

    Off Hours Nursing Staff (all areas)

    • Lorie Brown, CVT
    • Leigh Kenitz, CVT
    • Jessica Coughlan, CVT
    • Amy Guldin, CVT
    • Kym Marryott, CVT
    • Lauren DiCroce, CVT
    • Nicole Esposito, CVT
    • Valarie Frascella, Technician Assistant, Administrative Assistant

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

  • The Intensive Care Unit at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania provides 24/7 advanced care to critically ill dogs, cats and some special species. Penn Vet Nurse Ashley Deese with patient
  • Penn’s ICU is unique from many other referral-level ICU’s in that it is a stand-alone unit that is dedicated solely to the care of the most critically ill patients.  The highest standard of care is ensured by a very low nurse-to-patient ratio, state of the art equipment, and board-certified critical care specialists who work with a team of specialty-trained nurses, trainees and consultants from other disciplines.
  • All patients are considered "high risk" and have been admitted to the ICU because of the presence of a life-threatening disease condition, and/or special needs, such as intensive pain management. Despite this challenging population, the ICU holds an overall discharge rate of approximately 75 percent.
  • Current nursing staff in the ICU includes:
    • Emily Savino CVT, VTS (ECC), ICU nursing supervisor
    • Lila Sierra CVT, VTS (ECC), Assistant ICU nursing supervisor
    • Amanda Ashley CVT, VTS (ECC)
    • Elana Benasutti CVT, VTS (ECC)
    • Victoria Bonacci CVT
    • Ashley Deese CVT
    • Nicole Esposito CVT (ICU/Wards Rotating Nurse)
    • Samantha Kean CVT
    • Holly Killian CVT
    • Mary Piccillo CVT
    • Chantal Reme CVT

Internal Medicine

  • Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has a large staff of certified/licensed veterinary technicians specializing in specific aspects of internal medicine.
  • Our technicians have the opportunity to be involved with the newest and most innovative procedures being performed in veterinary medicine today with access to state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Current nursing staff in Internal Medicine includes:
    • Victoria Anders CVT, VTS (SAIM), Internal Medicine
    • Paula Olson, CVT, Endoscopy and Internal Medicine
    • Jennifer Elenback, CVT, VTS (SAIM), Internal Medicine
    • Charlotte M. Higgins, CVT, VTS (Nutrition), Nutrition Support
    • Ali McKenna, CVT, Internal Medicine

Neurology & Neurosurgery

    The mission of the Section of Neurology & Neurosurgery at Penn Vet is the diagnosis and management of naturally occurring neurologic disorders in animals. 

    Expertise in neurologic assessment combined with the full range of electrodiagnostic and imaging methods allow us to understand and manage these diseases.

  • Current nursing staff in Neurology & Neurosurgery includes:
    • Lara Derr, CVT, VTS (ECC), Neurology Nurse Practitioner

Oncology

  • The oncology service is dedicated to providing compassionate, efficient, state-of-the-art care to dogs and cats with cancers.
  • The core members of this team are board-certified veterinary oncologists/radiation oncologist, residents, and three oncology nurse practitioners. Standard cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy) may prolong survival and provide an excellent quality of life in many dogs and cats with cancer.
  • Oncology Nurse Practitioners provide nursing care to oncology in-patients and out-patients. They assist in diagnostic workups and administration of chemotherapeutic treatments.
  • Oncology nurses also participate in clinical trials conducted in oncology, and provide technical assistance in research data collection and retrieval. Teaching is an important part of every Penn nurse’s day, and Oncology is no exception. These nurses provide instruction to other nurses, students, and house staff on various aspects of oncologic treatments including information about basic chemotherapeutic safety.
  • Current nursing staff in Oncology includes:
    • Jackie Shanley, CVT, Head Medical Oncology Nurse
    • Michelle Strolle, CVT, Medical Oncology Nurse
    • Stephanie Corsi, CVT, Radiation Oncology Technician
    • Brigid Ramsey, CVT, Radiation Oncology Technician

Ophthalmology

  • The Ophthalmology Service is fully comprehensive, covering all domestic small animals. Clinics are held four days a week and surgeries are performed twice a week. Emergency referrals are handled the same day they are admitted to the hospital, providing an Ophthalmologist is available.
  • The service is currently staffed by three board certified ophthalmologists and one ophthalmology nurse.
  • Our diagnostic facilities include: slit-lamp biomicroscopy, tonometry, tonography, electroretinography, and fundus photography.
  • Our surgical equipment includes: two operating microscopes, phacoemulsification equipment used to perform cataract surgery, and a diode laser used in the treatment of glaucoma.

Penn Animal Blood Bank

  • As a result of the growth in veterinary specialty services, the demand for blood transfusions has risen dramatically. Specialties such as emergency medicine, critical care, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery, and oncology have created a need for more and different blood. Ryan Hospital averages 300 transfusions per month as blood and blood products are used to support animals with anemia, bleeding and some other conditions.
  • Similar to the Red Cross, our volunteer donor program, "Pets Helping Pets" allows healthy pets to donate blood. Each donation of whole blood can be processed into components such as packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, platelet rich plasma and cryoprecipitate. Thus, one unit can serve more than one patient.
  • Our canine supply is supported by the Bloodmobile, which is used for blood drives several days a week at local veterinary hospitals and breed clubs. In addition, Ryan Hospital staff and students pets donate during in-house blood drives.

Radiology/Diagnostic Imaging

  • Radiology/Diagnostic Imaging at Ryan Hospital consists of three diagnostic rooms with two of those rooms having fluoroscopy capabilities. We also have two Ultrasound machines, a 16-slice CT scanner and a 1.5T MRI unit.
  • On any given day, we perform 65-70 studies with approximately 90 percent of the caseload on awake patients.
  • Our staff is made up of two full-time faculty, three staff-veterinarians, five residents, one administrative assistant, one MRI technologist and five technologists. Fourth year veterinary and Harcum veterinary technician students rotate through our department on a two-week time period.
  • Our main studies are thorax and abdomen but orthopedic studies follow closely behind. Cardiology performs many angiograms and pacemaker insertions and the special species department spends quite a lot of time in radiology.
  • Current nursing staff in Radiology/Diagnostic Imaging includes:
    • Cheryl A. Diehl, Manager, Imaging Services
    • Russell White, RT (R) (MR), MRI Technologist
    • Amy Dilling CVT, RT, (R),(CT), Technician
    • My Inderelst, Technician
    • Barbara Kaminsky, RT, Chief Technologist
    • Lisa Chant, Technician
    • Ella Chasan, Technician

Renal Transplantation

  • Our Renal Transplant program at Penn began in 1998 through the dedicated efforts of Dr. Lillian Aronson. Dr. Aronson has been performing renal transplants in felines for over 10 years.
  • With the help of a nurse practitioner that specializes in renal transplant, our team is able to offer treatment for renal failure, however they cannot offer a cure. The goal of renal transplantation is to provide a good quality of life for a cat that would otherwise be unable to survive; however “normal” life expectancy is not yet achievable by today’s technology.
  • Presently, of the patients at the University of Pennsylvania, 90% recover sufficiently and will go home following renal transplantation, and approximately 60-70% of transplanted cats are alive and continuing to do well at 1-year post transplant.
  • Renal transplant recipients are usually in the hospital for 10-14 days as they recover from surgery and are stabilized on immunosuppressive drugs.
  • Current nursing staff in Renal Transplantation includes:
    • Lynne Beale, CVT

Special Species

  • The Special Species Service at Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has been active since December of 2000 and is staffed by a faculty veterinarian, two residents, and two full-time veterinary technicians.
  • We see most exotic animals, most commonly small mammals, birds, and reptiles. As a matter of policy, we do not see client owned zoo animals, non-human primates, venomous reptiles, crocodilians, or pot bellied pigs.
  • Our veterinary technicians enjoy a wide range of responsibilities, including client and student education, administrative duties, and all aspects of general and surgical nursing pertaining to special species.
  • We see patients by appointment on Mondays and Wednesdays and procedures are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays. The service is accessible for consultations through the emergency service 365 days a year.
  • Current nursing staff in Exotic Companion Animal Medicine includes:
    • Mary Baldwin, CVT


Penn Vet's Partnership with Harcum College

In 1972, Harcum College located in Bryn Mawr, PA, began a new program for those that wanted to dedicate their lives to the nursing care of animals. The Veterinary Technology Program at Harcum College has been a success ever since. In 1975, Harcum collaborated with the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, now Ryan Veterinary Hospital, to form an alliance that would support both education and the growth of the veterinary technician field.   The American Veterinary Medical Association accredited this program that year, and the program has held its accreditation status every year since.

The program consists of two years (or four semesters) of classroom learning, but Harcum doesn’t stop there. In order to graduate from the program, students are required to complete two three-month practica at both the large animal facility (New Bolton Center) and the companion animal facility (Ryan hospital) of the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  Students are given the opportunity to use their knowledge in a clinical setting.

During the students' time here at the small animal hospital, they rotate through six of the major departments for two week intervals totaling 12 weeks. The departments include the Emergency Service, Intensive Care Unit, Wards, Anesthesia, Surgery and Radiology.  The nursing staff of Penn Vet runs this program with one nurse overseeing the entire program.  The nursing staff is responsible for teaching, guiding and nurturing our future generation of Certified Veterinary Technicians.  

The combination of a stellar education provided by Harcum College in the classroom and the invaluable clinical experience received at Penn Vet has led to hundreds of graduated veterinary technicians over the years.