Nursing Symposium

Sunday, March 26, 2023

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Our annual Veterinary Nursing Symposium provides a continuing education opportunity for veterinary assistants, veterinary nursing (technology) students, and veterinary nurses (technicians and technologists) to learn practical information to use in clinical practice with a variety of lecture topics centered on both small and large animals.

About the Conference

The Veterinary Nursing Symposium will be held in-person on Sunday, March 26, 2023 in Lynn Hall of Veterinary Medicine (LYNN) at Purdue University. We have a full line-up of topics in both Small Animal and Large Animal Tracks. Check the schedule for more details about topics and speakers.

The Vet Shoppe will be open from 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. during the symposium and will be accepting pre-orders for pick up at the event. The deadline for pre-orders is March 17, 2023.


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Check In and Continental Breakfast

7:30–8:00 a.m. EDT

Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:00–8:15 a.m. EDT|Chad Brown, DVM, Director of Veterinary Nursing Programs

Large Animal Track; Urinary Tract Disorders: Case Studies

8:15 a.m. EDT|Teresa Buchheit DVM, MS, DACVIM

This session will discuss Urinary Tract Disorders over various case studies.

Small Animal Track; Do I Really Need to Understand the Graphics Provided by my In-Clinic Hematology Analyzer? 

8:15 a.m. EDT|Dennis DeNicola, DVM, PhD

This session will discuss in-clinic hematology analyzers. In-clinic hematology analyzers provide graphic displays of the performance on each whole blood sample processed for the veterinary patient, information that provides critical evidence about the validity of the data generated. In addition, the graphics may provide insights into the potential for cellular morphologic abnormalities, which indicates when a blood film MUST be examined. Case-based examples of how to integrate analyzer graphics, blood film information and analyzer data will be the focus of this presentation.

Large Animal Track; Myth or Medicine? Closer Inspection of Hot Trends in Equine Sports Medicine

9:10 a.m. EDT|Molly Cripe Birt, BS-RVT, VTS-EVN

This session will discuss chiropractics, acupuncture, autologous protein solutions, laser therapy, Purple Spray. We are investigating at the hot trends in maintaining equine athletes with a critical, fact-based lens, while also acknowledging the presence and need for alternative therapies for our equine clients.

Small Animal Track; Pancreatitis

9:10 a.m. EDT|Rebecca Roesler, RVT, VTS(ECC)

This session will discuss pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a dynamic disease process caused by inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas, part of the digestive system, has both exocrine and endocrine function. Pancreatitis may be acute or chronic, mild to severe, and has the potential to cause detrimental sequela such as systemic inflammatory response syndrome and multiple organ dysfunction. This lecture presents the anatomy and physiology of the pancreas, the pathophysiology of pancreatitis, as well as etiology, diagnosis, and treatment.

Large Animal; A Vet Tech's Perspective: Neonatal & Post Partum Care of Bovine and Equine Species

10:15 a.m. EDT|Hannah Byers-Englert, RVT

This session will review basic neonatal and post partum care for cattle and horses from a veterinary technician standpoint. We will discuss nursing care, complications, preventative care and more!

Small Animal Track; Diabetes Mellitus: The Disease, Diagnostics, Treatment, and Management for Dogs and Cats

10:15 a.m. EDT|Katherine Beard, BS, RVT

This session will review the pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus, common clinical signs, ways this disease is commonly diagnosed, treatment options, and how diabetes is managed currently. But this lecture will strongly focus on the veterinary nurse’s role in helping our patients (focusing on dogs and cats) that have diabetes and helping their owners.

Large Animal Track; Equine Anesthetic Complications

11:10 a.m. EDT|Jordan Danielle Williams BS, RVT, VTS
This session will discuss general anesthesia in horses. General anesthesia in horses can be very complicated. Not only is there differences in breeds, but also with gender and the purpose of the horse. Horses are obligate nasal breathers, have heavy GI tracts, and are often prone to neuropathy/myopathy issues.

Small Animal Track; Anesthesia

11:10 a.m. EDT|Heidi Lescun, BS, RVT

Lunch Session

12:00 p.m. EDT|Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

Do No Harm Dentistry

1:00 p.m. EDT|Megan Oldfather, RVT
This session will discuss the dental procedure, skills, and recommended best practices from organizations such as AAHA and the ADVC. We will utilize anecdotal accounts from specialized DVM's and Technicians in Dentistry as well as common practices in general and specialized facilities. The goal is exploring the dental procedure's common challenges, how the dental recommendation plays a role in patient care, and what we can do to combat the fear surrounding dentistry.

Seize your Seizure Management

2:00 p.m. EDT|Brittany Laflen RVT, VTS (Neurology)

This session will discuss what a seizure is, common characteristics of generalized seizures and compare this to other "seizure-like events". Discussion will also include most common treatment options and long term management of seizures. Seizures don't have to be scary!

The Pretty Poisons

2:50 p.m. EDT|Kodie Balduff, RVT
This session will discuss plants, trees, mushrooms, and flowers that are commonly found in households, neighborhoods, parks, and farms. The goal is exploring plant, tree, mushroom, and flower identification, common clinical signs in both large and small animals, and common treatments.


Registration is now open!

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Dennis DeNicola, DVM, PhD

Dr. DeNicola received both his DVM and PhD from Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978 and 1981, respectively. He was a faculty member of Purdue for 21 years and as full professor, he directed the teaching hospital clinical pathology laboratory and was the primary clinical pathology educator for veterinary students, interns and residents. He has been an invited speaker at over 500 national and international education symposia and has authored or co-authored over 150 refereed manuscripts, textbook chapters, monographs and textbooks. During his tenure at Purdue, he received multiple teaching and service awards, as well as the honor of being chosen for the Distinguished Alumnus award. In 2002, he joined IDEXX as Chief Veterinary Educator, where he supported both IDEXX education and research and development activities. At the 2017 ASVCP/ACVP meeting, he received the ASVCP Lifetime Achievement Award in Veterinary Clinical Pathology. In May 2021, he retired from IDEXX and now serves as an independent pathology consultant associated with Laboratory Retrievers, LLC.

Sandy Taylor, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM

Dr. Taylor received her DVM from Washington State University in 2001 and completed a residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine at the University of California, Davis in 2006. Dr. Taylor then entered a graduate program at Washington State University and received a PhD in equine immunology in 2010. She began employment at Purdue University in December of 2010 and divides her time between clinical work, teaching, and research in the field of equine sepsis. Outside of work, Dr. Taylor enjoys cycling and spending time with her yellow Labrador Retrievers, Simon and Piper!

Becky Roesler, RVT, VTS(ECC)

Becky is an emergency and critical care veterinary nurse at Purdue University. She earned a BA degree in French from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2011, earned an AAS degree in veterinary technology from Madison College in 2015 and is currently working on a MVSc in Biomedical Science at the University of Missouri. Becky achieved her veterinary technician specialty (VTS) in emergency and critical care in 2020. Her areas of special interest include emergency stabilization of internal medicine disorders, teaching medical math and cardiopulmonary resuscitation preparedness. Becky loves her small dog Struedel, her cat Apple Jack, The Lord of the Rings, and Britney Spears!

Molly Cripe Birt, BS-RVT, VTS-EVN

Molly Cripe Birt is a surgery technologist at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Large Animal Hospital. She has also worked as a treatment nurse and a med-surg tech throughout her fifteen years with Purdue. Her predominant interests are equine orthopedic emergencies and intensive post-operative nursing care – she is a self-described adrenaline junkie. Molly is a proud alumnus from Purdue University’s Veterinary Technology Program, with a 2006 Associate’s Degree and 2007 Bachelor’s Degree. In 2015, she earned her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Equine Veterinary Nursing, and has since spoken at a variety of conferences, including the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians & Assistants Annual Conference. In her spare time, Molly loves adventuring with her pound hound and husband. She is an ultra-endurance cyclist, but also makes plenty of time to recline in a hammock.

Hannah Byers-Englert, RVT

Hannah grew up in midwestern Indiana and always dreamed of going to Purdue. She graduated from Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine with her RVT license in 2015 and began working at a mixed animal practice full time. While there, she split her time in small animal as well as large animal, eventually becoming the large animal technician. She gained many skills; mainly in reproduction of both bovine and equine species. Embryo flushing, embryo transfers, semen freezing, breeding and cooled semen preparation were just a few of the skills she learned, not to mention neonatal nursing care. She later got married and moved to southern Indiana to be with her husband and works at an equine practice where she is further developing her nursing skills. When she has spare time, she enjoys being outside, working with her 2 horses, hiking with her husband and their terrier mix, Becca and spending time with family.

Heidi Lescun, BS, RVT, Senior Service Technician/Sales Associate

Heidi Lescun got her BS in Veterinary Technology from North Dakota State University in 1997. She worked as a veterinary technologist at Purdue University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital until 2000, when she moved to Australia for her husband Tim’s job as a veterinarian at a progressive equine hospital. In 2001, she returned to the Purdue VTH to provide anesthesia support and was appointed the supervisor of the anesthesia technicians in 2006. Heidi joined Vetamac in 2015 as service technician/sales associate servicing Northwest and Central Indiana. Heidi is originally from Wausau, Wisconsin. She is married to Tim, an Australian, and they have a daughter, Lili. She enjoys lasagna and 80’s rock, and she and Tim live on a small hobby farm with 5 horses and 2 dogs in Lafayette, Indiana. They enjoy attending Purdue basketball games and traveling and are often found showing horses at the Indiana Quarter Horse Shows.

Megan Oldfather, RVT

Megan Oldfather, RVT (she/her) is a born true Hoosier from Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Purdue University and graduated with her bachelor’s degree as a Veterinary Technologist in 2010. She started as many have in general practice and after a couple of years and the moved to the Specialty Dentistry and Oral Surgery Department at what is now MedVet Indianapolis. She had a great many teachers and mentors, especially Dr. Matthew Lemmons, DVM, DAVDC and Gary Lantz DVM, DAVDC. During the nine years she spent developing her love for dentistry, she never missed an opportunity to give a lecture, lead a lab, or sit with a client for an extra 20 minutes to make sure their questions were answered. Her career has shifted to an operator’s role, and she became The Dentistry Training Coordinator for Heartland Veterinary Partners in April of 2022. She is a servant leader and resource for the teams and general practices across the country who are motivated to drive dentistry. When Heartland asked her “why,” she responded, “A lot of my why is driven by the pain I saw patients experience, but more so, it’s driven by their recovery, their happy owners, and how WE have the power to make it a reality for both. Dentistry plays a much larger role than we give it credit.”

Brittany Laflen, RVT, VTS (Neurology)

Brittany earned her Associate of Science degree in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010. Following graduation, she joined the Neurology department at the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. In this role, Brittany provides clinical case support and patient care, as well as teaching the fundamentals of neurology and neurologic diseases to students in the Veterinary Nursing program at Purdue. In 2019, she achieved her Veterinary Technician Specialist designation in Neurology. As of 2023, Brittany began serving as Past President for the Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians (AIMVT). Brittany also speaks on a wide variety of neurology topics.

Kodie Balduff, RVT, CVT 

Kodie earned her Associate of Science degree in Veterinary Technology from Harrison College in 2016. Following graduation she joined the team at the Creekside Animal Hospital and Wellness Center. From there she then joined the Emergency and Critical Care department at Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital as a registered veterinary technician. In this role Kodie answers phone calls and provides pet owners with triage information, at home care information (if applicable), basic substance and product information, and toxicology projects.


The symposium will be held at Purdue's Lynn Hall of Veterinary Medicine (LYNN) . In the nearby and newly-renovated Purdue Memorial Union (PMU) you'll find a number of great restaurants and coffee shops.

Parking and Transportation

Hourly and daily visitor parking is available at Purdue's Grant Street Parking Garage (PGG).

Public Transportation is also available via CityBus and ridesharing services.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

VetCheck Pet Urgent Care Center
Vetamac Anesthesia Service and Sales
Noah's Animal Hospital