Wendy began her career in the animal field as a zookeeper after completing a dual program between the State University of New York @ Oswego and Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. She graduated in 1994 with a BS in Zoology and an AS in Zoo Animal Technology. After being a zookeeper, her career path took a turn and she fell into veterinary medicine and worked at a couple of small animal general practices. A few years later an opportunity opened with The University of Florida Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 1998 as an anesthesia technician which she jumped at. Through her role as an animal anesthetist, she became well versed in advanced pain management and anesthesia and discovered she loved to teach. In 2000 she was awarded the Support Technician of the year by the outgoing senior class for her compassion, patience and dedication to teaching. She became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2006.
In 2007 she switched gears and transferred to the orthopedic surgery department where she was able to assist and learn various orthopedic conditions and their repair options. She continued to instruct veterinary students in pain management and case management. On 2009, Wendy was given a Superior Accomplishment award after being nominated by her surgeons. Again her teaching abilities and her ability to go above and beyond for her patients and her students were honored.
Wendy became interested in rehabilitation thru her time spent in orthopedics. She felt that more should be done to allow the patients to return to normal function after surgery sooner. Dr. Kristen Kirkby-Shaw DVM, PhD, CCRT, DACVS, DACSMR brought the rehabilitation idea to the university and Wendy knew this was the perfect job for her talents. She became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant thru the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in December of 2008. Together with Dr. Kirkby-Shaw they developed the rehabilitation service at the university. Veterinary students now are able to be exposed to rehabilitation, pain management, acupuncture and nutrition all encompassed in the new Integrative Medicine service.
She has provided numerous presentations to students and fellow technicians at the university as well as presenting at the annual Florida Veterinary Medicine Association Conference in 2011. She also is a teaching assistant and lecturer at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute.
Since 2001, Sandy has traveled through the U.S. to work with a variety of animals including monk seals in Hawaii, gorillas in Texas, marine mammals and birds in Alaska. She also shares a passion for such animals as rabbits, rodents, exotics, large animals and of course dogs and cats. Sandy was awarded California Veterinary Technician of the Year in 2014. In 2008 Sandy started teaching at Foothill College in the Veterinary Technology Program. She has been the advisor for the Student Chapter of NAVTA since 2011 and was awarded Advisor of the Year in 2012. She is on the California RVT Association Board Of Directors and served on the Subcommittee to the Veterinary Medical Board for Animal Physical Rehabilitation. She is the founder and creator of the Small Animal Surgery day. This is an event that invites local veterinarians, Foothill College alumni and students to help spay and neuter small animals from local rescue groups. Since that time there has been over 250 small animals altered because of this event. Sandy has become an active conference lecturer on animal physical rehabilitation and marine mammals. She became certified through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in Animal Physical Rehabilitation and has been in the field since 2004. She has also been working with the Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians since its formation. Sandy can be found spending time at Holistic Veterinary Care, Wildwood Veterinary Hospital and the Marine Mammal Center in California.
Melissa (Lis) Conarton BS, LVT, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation), CCRP, CVPP began her career in the field of Veterinary Medicine over a decade ago after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College. She went on to receive her license in Veterinary Technology shortly after joining the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY’s team of qualified individuals. She is the Chief Finance Officer of the Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians (APRVT) and now holds the title of Veterinary Technician Specialty in Physical Rehabilitation through the Organizing Committee of the APRVT. She is also certified in Canine Rehabilitation through the University of Tennessee’s Certificate Program (CCRP) and certified through the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management as a Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP). Because of her passion for helping companion animals and attaining additional certifications, Lis has become an influential voice for the care and comfort of companion animals in the Central New York area.
Lis has lectured at various professional veterinary conferences and routinely contributes to newspaper articles, journal submissions, and book chapters regarding physical rehab and pain management. She has received special training in Canine Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy through Myopain Seminars and has special interest in myofascial issues and muscle dysfunction.
Lis developed the Physical Rehabilitation Service at the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY. In 2010, she initiated the Pain Management Service helping to establish the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY as the leader in Pain Management and Physical Rehabilitation in the Central New York region. In her free time, Lis enjoys outdoor activities with her family, and spends time with her horse "Whiskey", kitty "Ella" and other foster animals in need of rehabilitation.
John Nielsen CVT, VTS (ECC, Physical Rehabilitation), CVPP, CCRP
Secretary | Co- Chief Executive Assistant Credentialing Committee member
John Nielsen, CVT, VTS (ECC, Physical Rehabilitation), CVPP, CCRP is a graduate of the Medical Institute of Minnesota. His wide variety of experience includes practicing and teaching at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Teaching Hospital, working in small animal and exotic general practice, and working in emergency and specialty medicine. John became a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care through the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians in 2007. In 2011, he earned the title Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner from the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and in 2013 he became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through the University of Tennessee. He has also received special training in Canine Myofascial Trigger points through Myopain Seminars and is currently completing requirements to become a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer through the University of Tennessee as well as additional classes in veterinary kinesiology taping techniques and nutrition.
Since 2012, John has been instrumental in the development of the Spot & Strength Department at the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota in Oakdale, MN where he serves as the Senior Rehabilitation Technician. He is actively involved in a number of professional organizations including volunteering on committees for both the IVAPM and APRVT. His particular areas of interest include, performance and working dogs, neurology, osteoarthritis management, myofascial issues and pain management.
Kristen has been a California Registered Veterinary Technician since 2002 and holds a BS in Biology with a concentration in Animal Physiology, She completed the University of Tennessee’s Certificate Program in Canine Physical Rehabilitation in 2005 and earned the Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) designation through the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management in 2009. She later completed additional coursework in canine massage therapy through Caninology®, the University of Tennessee’s Certificate Program as a Osteoarthritis Case Manager (OACM), is an Elite Fear Free® Certified Professional and Veterinary Cannabis Counselor. In 2012, Kristen joined the Organizing Committee of the APRVT and with her colleagues, succeeded in becoming recognized as a Veterinary Technician Specialty in 2017 by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.
With over 15 years of experience in animal physical rehabilitation and 10 years experience in management, she is an active speaker at multiple national veterinary conferences, has traveled internationally to provide educational opportunities for fellow colleagues in the veterinary industry, and regularly contributes to peer-reviewed publications and educational textbooks.
Kristen has special areas of interest including Veterinary Orthotics and Prosthetics (VOP), geriatrics, sporting and performance, mobility and service dogs and multidisciplinary pain management strategies. In 2018 Kristen was awarded the California Veterinary Technician of the Year award by the California Veterinary Technician Association.
Mary Ellen Goldberg BS, LVT, CVT, SRA, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation, Lab Animal Medicine - Research Anesthesia)-OC RET, CCRVN, CVPP Member at Large
Mary Ellen Goldberg is a graduate of Harcum College and the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. She worked at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Division of Animal Resources and for Research Scientists advising on their choices for anesthesia and pain management on their protocols. She was a member of VCU’s IACUC for 10 years. She is a faculty member and IACUC Member at the Mannheimer Foundation, Inc. She has been the instructor of Anesthesia and Pain Management at VetMedTeam, LLC since 2003. She was the Executive Secretary for the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) from 2008-2018. She is a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner through IVAPM and the Exam Chair for them. Mary Ellen is also a Surgical Research Anesthetist certified through the Academy of Surgical Research. She is the Exam Chair for APRVT (Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians). She is Exam Chair for the Academy of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians and Nurses (ALAVTN). Currently, she is a staff member at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute, as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Veterinary Nurse. (CCRVN). Mary Ellen was chosen NAVTA’s Veterinary Technician of the Year 2017. Mary Ellen has written several books, and contributed to numerous chapters regarding anesthesia, pain management and rehabilitation. She speaks at national meetings on these topics and gives private CE to organizational groups. She has worked in various aspects of veterinary medicine from small animal and equine to mixed practice, coccidiosis research for a pharmaceutical company, zoo animal medicine and laboratory animal medicine since 1976.
Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Deana started her career as a Veterinary Technician shortly after graduating from the Arts in 2003, working as a Veterinary Assistant in a kennel and not knowing where that path would lead her. She studied Veterinary Technology at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in 2007, then took her VTNE to become a LVT that same year. Deana attended the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in 2008 to later become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant (CCRA) in 2010, currently now considered a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Veterinary Nurse, (CCRVN). In 2011, Deana attended the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage in Cape Coral, FL to become a Certified Canine Massage Therapist (CCMT). In early 2012, she attended the Chi Institute in Reddick, FL for training in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine for Veterinary Technicians. Deana also worked at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan as the Team Leader of the Rehab Department where she was responsible for teaching new students and externs the benefits of canine rehabilitation. Deana is currently the lead nurse in the Physical Rehabilitation Department at Coral Springs Animal Hospital in Coral Springs, FL. She continues to have an integral role in teaching interns and externs the many benefits of canine rehabilitation. Deana also lectures to veterinary professionals and veterinary technician students about many different aspects of canine rehabilitation. Deana earned her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Physical Rehabilitation in February 2017 through the Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians and sits as one of the Board of Directors as the Executive Secretary and Continue Education Chair and. Deana is also a member of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians, and the International Academy of Veterinary Pain Management. Deana is very passionate about contributing to the veterinary community by helping improving pain management and mobility for our patients. She continues to be enthusiastic about learning and teaching others the many benefits of physical rehabilitation.
Dawn Hickey LVMT, CCRP, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation)-OC, CVPP, CCFT Industry and Public Relations Chair
Dawn Hickey, LVMT, CCRP graduated from Columbia State Community College with an AAS in Veterinary Technology. After a one year internship at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, earning the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner title, she was employed at Animalia Health and Wellness in Franklin, TN and was instrumental in the development of the rehabilitation practice there. In 2015, Dawn moved to Knoxville to become the lead technician in the Small Animal Rehabilitation Department at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed the University of Tennessee’s Companion Animal Pain Management Certificate Program in 2016 and is currently working on her Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) certification through IVAPM and her Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) title through UT. She has received special training in Canine Myofascial Trigger points through Myopain Seminars. As one of the instructors in the CCRP program, she enjoys teaching and spreading her love and enthusiasm for animal rehabilitation with the students. Dawn is the veterinary technician liaison to the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV) and is an active member of the International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy. She is also an active member of NAVTA, Tennessee Veterinary Technician Association (TVTA). She is instrumental in the University of Tennessee’s annual CARES conference and is on the local planning committee for the upcoming IAVRPT conference in Knoxville in 2018. Her particular areas of interest include, geriatrics, neurology, working dogs, myofascial issues and pain management.
Maria Maddox LVT, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation)-OC, CCRP Membership Chair
Maria graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Bryn Mawr College in 1999 and received her Associates Degree with Honors in Veterinary Technology from Bel-Rea in 2002. Maria took the National Veterinary Technician Exam in 2003 and has been a Certified Veterinary Technician in Colorado since then, the became licensed to practice in Nevada in 2006. Maria became interested in physical rehabilitation for animals in college when she volunteered at the Bronx Zoo and recognized the need for an adjunct to medication for helping elderly, arthritic animals. Along with a coworker and fellow enthusiast for rehab, Maria established the physical rehabilitation department at the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Red Bank, New Jersey in 2005. She became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through the University of Tennessee in 2006. Maria has worked the majority of her rehab career at the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center in Nevada, working from January 2007 contracted through the LVVSC physical rehabilitation department. Maria currently lives in Okinawa, Japan, working at the military veterinary clinic and has had the unique opportunity to treat two of the military working dogs to prolong their military careers.
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