Smart Flow Blog

We are revolutionizing the way veterinarians care about in-hospital patients.

Anna Kovacs, RVT

Find me on:

Recent Posts

5 Ways to Survive Veterinary Overnight Shifts

Anna Kovacs, RVT Jun 6, 2018 11:00:00 AM Topics: Veterinary, Vet Tech

The reactions I commonly experienced when I told someone that I worked veterinary overnight shifts ranged from horror to pity.  Most people can't fathom sleeping during the day, and being awake at night. The thing is, the saying that you really don't know what it's like until you experience it, rings very true in this case.

Here are some of the top ways that I was able to stay sane, focused, and make it to sunrise! 

Read More 1 Comment

5 Reasons Why Feline Friendly Practices Rock!

Anna Kovacs, RVT Nov 5, 2015 1:00:00 PM

As some of you know, I have a few very special families: veterinary families that is. One of these is what I affectionately call my 'cat clinic family'.  Although no longer a cat-only clinic, my part time job for several years now, was, and is, a very unique place. Yes, feline practices are where you have a saturation of crazy cat owners and even crazier staff with kitty paraphernalia everywhere. It's also a place of comfort for patients, staff, and owners alike. Here are 5 reasons why your kitty patients and staff alike will thank you for making your practice more Feline Friendly!

Read More 0 Comments

5 tricks for happy kitty visits: what I learned from Dr. Meow

Anna Kovacs, RVT Oct 29, 2015 12:30:00 PM

Taking care of our Smart Flow customers is big part of my working life, however there is still a bit of room left on occasion, to wear my practicing RVT hat. I choose to do this at a local clinic, which had been until recently, a feline-only practice for the last 20 years. Over the years Dr. Meow, my friend and cat whisperer, taught me some very important basics that will help any veterinary practice when it comes to kitty-wrangling.  

1.  Pheromones are your friend

#1 Goal? Happy kitty! There is literally not an inch of the clinic that Feliway has not touched. It's plugged into most outlets, it's sprayed on towels we use, and our scrubs are doused in it. Feliway is our best friend. It makes kitties relaxed, it creates a feeling of comfort, and we use it often as a behaviour modification tool in the home setting as well. Now if they only made a similar spray for people...

2.  Towels, towels, and more towels
Cats love to hide, and when their face is covered, most of them are more manageable. Fractious cats are often able to be picked up with a blanket or several thick towels, and held on their side for a blood draw, injection, or partial exam. They will appreciate not seeing you, having something to hide under, and you will appreciate having your hands far away from those teeth. Just be careful of how much pressure you put on them, and that you leave lots of space for them to breathe freely. 

3.  Less is definitely more 
While we want to handle cats like we do dogs, it doesn't always work out in our favour. Cats are less likely to want to be touched. Often less is more, and heavy restraint will cause stress and retaliation. An important rule with Dr. Meow was that we don't scruff cats. We use towels, a hand on the back of the neck, and generally try to do procedures such as blood draws using hind legs right in the room. While I am a big fan of jugular sticks on patients when I'm working at the local emergency clinic, owners are very used to, and appreciate being able to talk to their cats during blood collection in a general practice setting. It's amazing what grumpy kitties will let you do if you avoid having alcohol near their face, and instead have them laying down with their owner close by for comfort.

4.  Drugs are also your friend
Chemical restraint is a magical thing. So is pain control. While fractious kitties are often just stressed, it's important to consider that they also could be very painful. Lack of analgesia is unfortunately still a very real thing in our profession, and painful kitties are often overlooked because as we know, cats don't show pain like a lot of other creatures. Instead of struggling with our feline patients, why not consider some pharmaceuticals which often will have both sedative and analgesic effects?We have so many options for both sedation and analgesia at our fingertips nowadays: use it!!!!  

5.  Cats rule, and dogs drool
Literally. And they bark, and shed, and jump. Dogs can be just plain annoying. As much as I love dogs, a lot of cats don't. Why set up our kitty patients for failure by stressing them out with their canine counterparts? Having separate entrances for dogs vs cats, or at least different areas of the waiting room will help immensely. No cat wants to have a strange dog panting in their face, and then be expected to sit still while you poke and prod them. If there is limited space in your front office, consider having a cat-only room void of dog smell, equipped with a Feliway diffuser instead. If possible, keep your hospitalized kitties in a quieter area of the hospital, away from barking dogs.

These are just a few tips and tricks I've learned along the way, but there are many more out there! What are your feline-taming tidbits that you have picked up over the years? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Read More 2 Comments

How My Vet Tech Teachers Ruined My Tech Career

Anna Kovacs, RVT Oct 2, 2015 11:21:26 AM Topics: Veterinary, Vet Tech

Not all vet techs are created equal. I don't mean this to belittle anyone, or for it to be a bad thing. It's just a fact. We all start out in this field because we love animals (and very obviously not because we love money), but the paths we take lead to very different clinics and positions. I believe that our teachers in college have an immense impact on what kind of technicians we become.

Anna Kovacs Smart Flow SheetI, for one, was greatly influenced by my teachers, and therefore very much ruined for the rest of my career. All it took was one sentence really, and the rest of my career path was chosen for me.

To be fair, there were other ingredients in the mix that shaped me as an RVT. My first clinic for example had impeccable medicine, high standards for patient comfort, and immeasurable care they provided to pets and owners alike. At this clinic I learned that baby birds were to be loved, and not immediately euthanized, and that all lives matter. My role model Nicole, who to this day I still call the RVT who taught me everything I know, instilled a certain pride for the profession in me that was unshakable.

Then came school, and the phrase that was the last puzzle piece in my stance of who I became as an RVT. 

"You are the advocates." 

To this day, I remember this phrase. I remember hearing it, and tucking it away in the back of my mind as something important, yet not really something I thought a great deal about.  

It didn't resonate with me at the time, as I had a solid foundation of what I thought vet clinics were about, and what I thought I would be able to contribute to my profession. Then came veterinary softwarereality.

My fellow Smart Flow crusaders and I were just discussing how many clinics we have worked at during our careers. I counted 12. 

Yes, I am one of those crazy people that works 2 to 3 different jobs at any given time, however the numbers are also up there because some clinics just simply didn't measure up.

That one phrase in school had cemented my moral and ethical must-haves when it came to where I chose to work, and finding the right fit was not always easy. Where I found that patient care and comfort was lacking, I spoke up. I was being The Advocate. Some clinics welcomed it, some didn't.

Being the advocate comes with a heavy burden of responsibility, stress, and sometimes compassion fatigue. It also comes with pride in the RVT behind my name, and when I feel that I have made a difference in an animal's life, where someone else had dropped the ball. 

Being the advocate is hard work. It is emotional. It is taxing. Do I blame my teachers for this extra burden I have had to bear for the last 12 years? Yes. Would I do it all over again if given the choice? Absolutely.

Tell us about who influenced your career!

See Where I Work Now

Read More 1 Comment

Get the most out of your next veterinary conference

Anna Kovacs, RVT Jul 2, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Veterinary conferences are a time to get out of the monotony of the every day veterinary clinic drama and into a world of lectures, news, trends, gadgets, freebies, and food. Follow these simple tips to make sure you get the most out of your next veterinary conference:

Read More 0 Comments