Name: Brad Jacobs, RVT, BSc
Current Job: Veterinary Account Manager for Hill's Pet Nutrition Canada Inc.
Q&A with Brad
OAVT: Last year you were one of five RVTs who received money from the first-ever RVT Advancement Fund. You used the funding to help finish your undergraduate degree. What made you decide to pursue a degree in animal biology and nutrition?
Brad: On many occasions, I found clients struggling emotionally and financially when their pet fell ill. I started to wonder how these diseases could be prevented without using medication for everything.
Joint disease is one of the most common diseases seen in practice, especially in older pets. In some cases, pets are managed using anti-inflammatories, which can be costly if the treatment is ongoing. I began to wonder how to manage conditions like this without the use of medication, so I started studying the benefits of proper nutrition. If a pet can manage their disease on diet and supplements, then there is little to no need for costly medications. Other conditions that I have been interested in managing with nutrition include allergies, urinary disease and obesity.
The goal was to improve my knowledge base so that I may better educate clients on the importance of proper nutrition.
OAVT: What were some of the most enjoyable moments while earning your degree?
Brad: One of the most enjoyable exercises that I did in one of my courses was formulating a diet based on a disease or condition that commonly affects pets. One condition I focused on was obesity in cats. I was able to manipulate nutrient levels to meet the specific needs of an obese cat needing to promote safe and healthy weight loss.
Other courses that I enjoyed were the research-based courses. With those courses, I reviewed articles and wrote literary review papers on diabetes in overweight vs. lean cats.
OAVT: And what about challenges? You spent four and a half years working towards this degree. Did you experience any challenges throughout your undergraduate journey?
Brad: One of the biggest challenges was finding enough time to continue working as an RVT while studying full time. It was not until I was in my third year of studies that I began working in practice as an RVT again, as my class schedule did not allow it previously.
OAVT: The RVT Advancement Fund is intended to help RVTs advance their careers and become better RVTs. How has earning this degree made you a better RVT?
Brad: I have been able to better emphasize the importance of proper nutrition in all pets. Clients appreciate that I have continued learning beyond what we were taught in the veterinary technician program or what we learn from representatives.
My role as an RVT grew to be the nutrition team leader for the practice. In that role, I was involved in all nutritional cases seen and helped develop the medical plan with the veterinarian for some of the cases. I was able to work with the veterinarian to determine which diet would be most beneficial to the pets based on their specific requirements.
I also developed a program for patients to promote healthy weight-loss.
OAVT: Tell us a bit about your current job.
Brad: After completing my undergraduate degree, I began working as a veterinary account manager for Hill's Pet Nutrition Canada. In this role, I am able to reach out to more veterinary professionals and educate them on the importance of proper nutrition. As many veterinary professionals rely on company representatives to bring new information to their attention, I feel as I can share my knowledge and experience with them to improve client communication and business growth in practice.
Client education is a major part of veterinary medicine, so my knowledge will help RVTs and other veterinary professionals teach their clients about the importance of proper nutrition for growth and development and other medical conditions.
The 2017 RVT Advancement Fund is accepting applications between May 1, 2017 and June 15, 2017. RVTs in good standing with the OAVT are encouraged to apply. Click to learn more.