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West-MEC Veterinary Program seeks to empower students while caring for shelter animals

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The program provides students with the knowledge and experience in nutrition, disease prevention, anatomy and physiology, all of which are needed to perform necessary animal care. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
West-MEC Veterinary Program offers pathway to career in veterinary science

Western Maricopa Education Center, which is a career and technical education public school district in the West Valley, provides high school students opportunities to earn credentials, gain hands-on training, and become hirable upon graduation.

One of the programs at West-MEC is veterinary sciences, West-MEC officials tell the Digital Free Press.

The two-year veterinary science program is designed to teach students how to deliver medical care to domestic, exotic and large animals, ranging from cats and dogs to reptiles and birds, according to a press release.

The program provides students with the knowledge and experience in nutrition, disease prevention, anatomy and physiology, all of which are needed to perform necessary animal care, the release states.

Students also gain hands-on learning experience by assisting certified professionals in surgery, examinations and x-ray preparation.

As part of West-MEC’s mission to provide practical training, students in the veterinary program partner with several local animal shelters including Arizona Humane Society, Buckey Animal Rescue and Kennel, Halo Animal Shelter, and several others to provide care, enrichment and socialization to adoptable animals.

Program participants focus on delivering quality veterinary care by running laboratory tests, collecting animal vitals and providing daily care to the animals up for adoption. Not only do students provide veterinary care, but they also help find these animals their forever homes.

“The goal of the veterinary science program is to provide the tools, resources and knowledge to set the students up for success,” said Lisa Fleming, veterinary science instructor, in a prepared statement. “There is a huge advantage for our students to work with animals and in turn we can provide shelters with low-cost care. We are grateful for the partnerships we have and glad to be advocates for their animals.”

The veterinary program also offers students externships and resume building workshops. Upon completion of the program, successful candidates will be prepared to seek one or more certifications such as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America Veterinary Assistant Certification and the OSHA 10.

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