Madalyn (Kuhn) Harken grew up in Riceville and had considered being a veterinarian, but because of the extensive training need to become one, she began working after graduating from Riceville High School in 2016.
Harken later took a job with Iowa Select Farms, and worked in a swine farrowing barn for a year.
“I have always loved animals, and wanted to know about what goes on behind the scenes, and I had always wanted to be a veterinarian, but that took a lot of schooling,” said Harken.
In 2019 she decided to enroll in the veterinary technician program at North East Iowa Community College in Calmar and finished the two-year course in August of 2020. Harken stated her class was originally scheduled to graduate in May, but with the COVID-19 interruption the class was extended to August.
“While in school we had to learn how to diagnose and examine both large and small animals. We were schooled in diseases and how to prevent them. We were taught how to assist and monitor during surgeries, and how to pull calves. We learned about nutrition, and pharmacology and how to administer shots, when the veterinarian prescribes them. We were also taught about filing and office work,” said Harken.
She did her four-week internship at the Osage Veterinary Clinic and officially became part of the staff on July 1. Today Harken’s job consist of working with both large and small animals.
“I like both large and small animals. You get to know the smaller animals more personally, and the larger animals are faster-paced and I like that too,” said Harken.
Working with inpatients at the clinic she helps prep small animals for surgery and checks on them afterward.
“Sometimes I assist in surgery if needed,” said Harken.
She checks inventories and make sure supplies are available for incoming patients, and feeds, exercises and clean pens of the animals housed at the clinic. Working in the field with large animals she has assisted with blood draws.
“Starting working here has been really easy, since I interned here. It is nice that I already know some of the clients, and I really enjoy it. I feel the staff has been patient with me as I learn,” said Harken.
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