Jessica Leonard, CVT
Jessica has been at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals in the Zoological Companion Animal Medicine (ZCAM) for one and a half years. Although she never attended veterinary school, she got her training “on-the-job” and took the Veterinary Technician National Examination to become certified.
Jessica says that she has always loved animals. As a child she brought home everything she could put her hands on, from insects to turtles and snakes. According to Jessica, her mother was very understanding. By the time she was in junior high, her bedroom was crowded with cages and tanks filled with pets and injured creatures she picked up. After high school, she started working in an animal hospital and fell in love with it.
When asked what she liked most about the Foster Hospital, she replied; “I like the multi-department cooperation on cases. We can treat ferrets and birds with radiation chemotherapy, get expert eye advice from ophthalmology and get surgical repair of broken bones from anesthesiology and surgery departments. Everyone is always happy to help with cases at Tufts. And even often odd or different exotic pets are treated with the same care and kindness that is given to more common dog and cat patients. Everyone here at the Cummings School is learning and teaching. There are always opportunities to advance our fields and make life better for pets across the country and even worldwide. I like being a part of that.”
Jessica was drawn to work with zoological companion animals because, “I was always interested in non-traditional pets. When I was a kid, I would catch them and was fascinated by them. When I started working in veterinary medicine, I often noticed that these pets were less understood overall and often treatment options were limited. This made options for exotic pet owners limited. When I moved from general practice to a referral hospital, I made it a point to get involved in any exotic case I could put my hands on. Eventually the exotics tech moved on to another office and I was able to take over that role. Two years ago I heard that Tufts was looking for a full time exotics tech. It was the perfect opportunity to help exotic pets and help increase public and veterinary knowledge about these animals. Our new Zoological Companion Animal Medicine Department is busy six days a week. It’s the perfect place for me.”
Outside of The Foster Hospital, Jessica enjoys making anything with her hands. Leatherworking, drawing, chainmail/scale mail creation and costume design are among her hobbies. She also enjoys time outdoors, just wandering in the woods looking at the wildlife, and long walks or roller-skating when time permits.
Jessica is also kept busy with a stray cat that came in with a proptosed eye, a 50 gallon aquarium with a dozen or so tropical fish, and a three legged bearded dragon adopted from Petco, which Jessica says eats better than she does.