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The Impact of Lab Technicians in Veterinary Medicine

In our industry, countless professionals contribute to the well-being of pets day in and day out.

Today, we want to honor the Veterinary Lab Technicians who play a pivotal role in diagnosis and treatment for the pets we love. Their responsibilities extend far beyond conducting tests; they safeguard sample integrity and deliver precise results — often under tight time constraints.

We talked with Antech’s VP of Core Lab Operations, Kathy Zito, about the importance of the lab, the team, and her three decades of dedicated work at Antech. As we celebrate Veterinary Lab Week, Kathy’s experience serves as a reminder of where passion and commitment can lead in this dynamic field.

“I have always been drawn to STEM classes with a passion for mathematics and science,” said Kathy.

Kathy went to school for computer Science and started a part-time position working the night shift in specimen processing at Antech in 1995. She was promoted to production manager, and her career took off from there.

“I had a great mentor who took me under her wing and from there she invested significant time in preparing me for my role as Regional Vice President of the Northeast,” said Kathy. “Now, I am Vice President of Core Lab Operations-NA, which oversees all production-based Laboratory tests. I have the opportunity to work with all the associates in North America.”

A lab technician’s day is a delicate balance of quality and speed — meticulously preparing specimens for analysis and ensuring accuracy in every step. From blood counts to urinalysis, they conduct various tests swiftly without sacrificing precision. Timely results are essential for veterinarians awaiting diagnoses, making efficient yet accurate work imperative.

“I love the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a task,” said Kathy. “Almost all the work that comes in on the shift is completed on the shift, we have the satisfaction of walking away knowing that we delivered quality results within the promised time, enabling veterinarians to provide the best care for pets.”

Working at Antech Labs offers a unique experience that stands out in the veterinary medicine industry. For Kathy, the company’s commitment to innovation and the way it fosters a culture of continuous improvement stands out.

“Working for Antech is so special because we are all working toward the same goal — to make a better world for pets. All associates in the organization have that common goal.”

Lab technicians at Antech are not just processing samples; they’re part of a team that is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in veterinary diagnostics. With access to state-of-the-art technology and a focus on pioneering new tests and procedures, technicians are constantly learning and growing professionally.

Every team is unique. But one unified goal stands out to Kathy at the Antech labs. In Kathy’s experience, that common goal has been pivotal for teamwork in times of challenge in the lab.

The pandemic posed unprecedented challenges to the veterinary industry and beyond. The lab technicians at Antech had to adapt quickly. For Kathy and the team, the pandemic highlighted the critical importance of teamwork and flexibility in the lab. As the demand for diagnostics surged, technicians worked together seamlessly, often cross-training to support different areas of the lab operations.

“During the height of the pandemic, lab techs were considered essential workers. We had to come into the lab every day,” said Kathy. “We had to reinvent the way in which we worked together. We also had a lot of challenges with staffing, and we banded together across departments and between labs to fulfill our commitments to our clients. The teams were very resilient, and I have always been proud of that time.”

Kathy believes that the lessons learned during this time — the value of collaboration, the ability to pivot quickly, and the resilience of the team — helped strengthen and prepare the team for the challenges ahead.

The veterinary industry is always evolving. New minds, new technologies, and advancements continue to propel the standard of care for the animals we love. For Kathy, she has been able to witness first-hand the exciting advancements from the past, while looking with anticipation to the future.

“Undoubtedly, I’m the most excited about the advancement in automation and technology that I have seen over the years,” said Kathy. “It not only improves efficiency, but the quality of the results as well. The future of HealthTracks has the potential to revolutionize how samples are submitted to the laboratory.”

One of the front runners in new technology that seems to cross into every industry is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI implementation in laboratories promises to enhance both efficiency and quality. Kathy is excited to witness where it will be used next.

For those that have a passion for animal care, a foundation in sciences, and an eagerness to learn — a career in the lab is worth exploring.

“I would say seize any opportunity to enter the field, even if it’s entry level. In laboratories, we tend to promote within. There are many opportunities to progress. Remember that the job you get today could turn into the career of your future!”

To Kathy, and all of the dedicated professionals in veterinary laboratories around the globe — thank you. Your work has a direct impact on the quality of care that pets receive and your contribution in the industry is crucial for ensuring that pets live healthier and happier lives. Your dedication and hard work in the industry does not go unnoticed.


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