By Katheryn L. Sullivan Kutil on February 02, 2018

To celebrate International Laboratory Animal Technician Week (Sunday, January 28–Saturday, February 3), Kimberly Williamson, BS, LVT, RLATg, provides a glimpse of her role at the College and why she’s passionate about working with animals, faculty, and students.

What are laboratory animal technicians?

At the College, lab animal technicians, assist with teaching DVM and LVT students how to perform physical exams and provide preventative care so that they may be the best future veterinarians and LVTs that they can be.

One more avenue in the grand spectrum of how to use training as an LVT is to participate in animal research and clinical medicine.

There are three levels of laboratory animal technicians—assistant laboratory animal technicians (ALATs), laboratory animal technicians (LATs), and laboratory animal technologists (LATGs). Though it is common for laboratory animal technicians to be licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs), having an LVT degree is not a requirement.

This is because LAT designations are based on standards that the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) established. AALAS governs and maintains the Laboratory Animal Technician Certification programs and sets professional standards for the advancement of laboratory animal science.

One more avenue in the grand spectrum of how to use training as an LVT is to participate in animal research and clinical medicine. There also is a teaching component to my role as an LVT and an LATG because I help to coordinate teaching labs within the College.

How did you come to be a laboratory animal technologist?

Before becoming a laboratory animal technologist, I was a licensed veterinary technician who specialized in transfusion medicine and emergency critical care. I spent eight years working at a blood blank at a United States Department of Agriculture-registered facility. I also used to work in the College’s junior surgery laboratory, where I would assist faculty and students with the several laboratory requirements of DVM and LVT students.

As an LATG, my role is 50 percent supervisory and managerial, 50 percent research support, and 100 percent dedicated to the happiness and wellbeing of the animals in my care.

The reason I became an LVT and an LATG is because I care about animals and I want to make sure that they have the best lives, socialization, food, and veterinary care possible. While they are with my team and I, they are guaranteed excellent care, which is why I do what I do.

What do you enjoy most about being a laboratory animal technologist?

Working with the animals. My staff and I know and love them and they know and love us. They know me as the lady who gives them treats; it’s true, I do give them biscuits all the time.

The members of my team who are primarily responsible for caring for the animals are the ALATs. They love these animals. Each animal has their own unique personality and my team and I enjoy seeing and spending time with each and every one of them.

The reason I became an LVT and an LATG is because I care about animals and I want to make sure that they have the best lives, socialization, food, and veterinary care possible. While they are with my team and I, they are guaranteed excellent care, which is why I do what I do.

How does the work you’re doing—as a technician, researcher, and professional—contribute to bettering the lives of people and animals?

The studies that are conducted are studies that are helping and will continue to help other animals and people. All research that is being done will go on to treat humans, dogs, cats, and other species of animals. Knowing that the work we do caring for these animals goes on to help other animals and people is why we are here.