New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
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Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

Veterinary Nursing at Ryan Hospital

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

Why is certification important?

A certified veterinary technician has gone through an accredited college and obtained state certification to practice. In order to maintain credentialed status, veterinary technicians are obligated to complete continuing education as determined by their state’s Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Other synonymous credentials are LVT and RVT, licensed and registered respectively. The type of credentials issued is dependent on which state a veterinary technician becomes credentialed in. In Pennsylvania veterinary technicians become certified, in New York veterinary technicians are licensed.

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  • Advanced Urinary Care/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.
    • In 2020, Dr. Aronson founded the Advanced Urinary Care service at Ryan Hospital. In addition to renal transplantation, this service now includes Extracorporeal Therapies, urinary and kidney care, Interventional Radiology, and surgical care. The service works closely with several related services in the hospital.
    • With the help of a certified veterinary technician who 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 one-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.
    • Learn more about Advanced Urinary Care and Renal Transplantation...
  • Anesthesia
    • Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has a large staff of certified/licensed veterinary technicians that serve as veterinary nurse anesthetists. The Anesthesia service offers its veterinary nurses the opportunity to specialize in anesthesia while being exposed to a wide array of procedures and techniques.
    • Our veterinary nurse anesthetists have the opportunity to be involved with the newest and most innovative procedures being performed in veterinary medicine today and have 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.
    • Learn more about Ryan Hospital's Anesthesia Service...
  • 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 more than 1,800 patients.
    • Learn more about Ryan Hospital's Cardiology Service...
  • Comprehensive Cancer Care/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 veterinary technicians. Standard cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy) may prolong survival and provide an excellent quality of life in many dogs and cats with cancer.
    • Oncology veterinary technicians provide nursing care to oncology in-patients and out-patients. They assist in diagnostic workups and administration of chemotherapeutic treatments.
    • Oncology veterinary technicians 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 Vet tech’s day, and Oncology is no exception. These vet techs provide instruction to other techs, students, and house staff on various aspects of oncologic treatments including information about basic chemotherapeutic safety.
    • Learn more about Comprehensive Cancer Care/Oncology...
  • 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.
    • Learn more about Ryan Hospital's Dentistry & Oral Surgery service...
  • 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 three certified veterinary technicians, specializing in Dermatology.
    • Learn more about Ryan Hospital's Dermatology & Allergy Service...

      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 vet tech 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.
  • 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, certified veterinary technicians, vet tech 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 vet tech students.

      The emergency veterinary technician 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 veterinary technician 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, Bair 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.
    • Learn more about our Emergency Service...
  • General Nursing/Wards
    • The Wards department functions as an area to house all clinically stable animals during their hospitalization and to provide an environment conducive to student education. These areas include Internal Medicine, Orthopedics, Soft Tissue Surgery, Fluid Therapy, and Isolation.

      The Wards Veterinary Techical Staff is presently is available Monday through Friday during clinic hours. Additional veterinary technical staff provides 24 hour nursing coverage for evenings and weekends as well as rotating staff veterinary technicians 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 vet tech students how to deliver the same level of care. In addition to nursing care, they are skilled in a variety of techniques and specialized procedures.
    • The University of Pennsylvania has developed specialty practitionerships in areas such as transfusion therapy, endoscopy, orthopedics, and nutrition. Each veterinary technician is certified and is involved in a continuing education program.
  • 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’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 vet tech-to-patient ratio, state of the art equipment, and board-certified critical care specialists who work with a team of specialty-trained veterinary technicians, 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.
    • Learn more about our Intensive Care Unit...
  • 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.
    • Learn more about 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.

      Learn more about Neurology & Neurosurgery...

  • 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 veterinary technician.
    • 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.
    • Learn more about our Ophthalmology Service...
  • 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.
    • Kym Marryott, CVT, Internal Medicine, Penn Vet Animal Blood Bank
  • Primary Care
    • The Primary Care Service at Penn Vet provides progressive and evidence-based preventative medicine and basic surgical care for dogs and cats. We are deeply committed to the preparation of our next generation of veterinarians and veterinary nurses. Veterinary students and veterinary nursing students are involved and engaged in every aspect of care provided to the patients on our service. We value the emotional wellbeing and welfare of our pets, and therefore use gentle handling techniques with all our patients. As part of a holistic approach, we strive to communicate with our clients clearly and frequently, and involve them in the medical/clinical decision-making process.
    • Learn more about Primary Care...
  • 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.
    • Learn more about Radiology/Diagnostic Imaging...
  • Surgery
    • The Surgery Service at Ryan Veterinary Hospital is home to one of Penn Vet's largest and busiest clinical teams.
    • Companion Animal Surgery comprises soft tissue, orthopedic, minimally invasive, dental surgery as well as kidney transplantation, surgical oncology and neurosurgery.
    • In addition to dealing with all aspects of surgical nursing related to companion animals, members of Ryan's surgical nursing team are educators and have numerous additional duties, including engaging in continuing education, conducting presentations and poster sessions at national conferences.
    • Learn more about our Surgery Service...

Partners with Harcum College

A Harcum student helps apply anesthesia to a donkey at New Bolton Center. Since 1975, Harcum College has collaborated with Penn Vet at both Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center in an alliance that supports the education and the growth of the veterinary technician field. The Veterinary Technician Program at Harcum College is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The program consists of two years (or four semesters) of classroom learning, but Harcum doesn’t stop there. To graduate from the program, students are required to complete two, three-month practica at both New Bolton Center, Penn Vet's large-animal hospital in Kennett Square, PA, and Ryan Hospital for companion animals, located in Philadelphia. Through this partnership, students are given the important opportunity to use their knowledge in a clinical setting.

During their time at Ryan Hospital, the students 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.

While at New Bolton Center, the students rotate through the areas of Anesthesia, Surgery, Critical Care, Field Service, General Nursing, Clinical Laboratory and Pathology, as well as several electives, including Dairy and Animal Care.

The nursing staffs at both hospitals are 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.

Passionate Supporter

Rosemary Lombardi, CVT, VTS (ECC)

Joining Penn Vet in 1991, Rosemary Lombardi rose through the ranks to become director of Ryan’s veterinary technical staff.

A passionate supporter of patient and nursing advocacy, she supervises, oversees, and mentors all Ryan veterinary technicians. She is renowned nationally for her supervisory and advanced nursing skills, and won the prestigious Penn Models of Excellence Award.