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Foster Hospital’s Dedicated CVT for Animals in Emergency Critical Care
Alison Mangan fulfills a destiny to help pets in need
March 22, 2022

“I felt like this was what I was meant to do my whole life. I love that I have to think critically every day while learning from highly intelligent doctors.”

Alison Mangan is a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in the Emergency Critical Care (ECC) Department at Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School.

Ms. Mangan joined the staff at Foster Hospital five years ago as an in-patient technician in the wards before transferring to ECC. She treats animals in the emergency room and intensive care unit.

On a typical day, she might see animals that have been either in a house fire, hit by a car, or suffering from toxicity, respiratory distress, or leptospirosis. She once assisted a cat that had been through a washing machine.

“You adapt to different cases as they come in,” Ms. Mangan said. “I like that I have to be ready to handle an array of cases.”

She usually treats dogs and cats, although she noted, “There seems to be a trend that we see a lot of exotics on weekends—birds, lizards, snakes, and rats.”

Ms. Mangan has also taken on a teaching role at Foster Hospital, training students and new technicians, which she finds especially rewarding.

Though she always knew she’d like to work with animals, her path into emergency care came as a surprise. When she was growing up in Millis, Massachusetts, she enjoyed spending time at a farm where her mother worked, surrounded by animals and helping out the veterinarians.

Ms. Mangan studied at Mount Ida College to become a CVT. While in school, she worked as a kennel assistant at Highland Animal Hospital (Needham, Massachusetts) and later served Banfield Pet Hospital as veterinary assistant and CVT.

During her senior year she completed six internships, including one in the ECC Department at Boston West Emergency Hospital, where she was hired after graduation.

“I used to be petrified of emergency care, but after the internship I was shocked at how much it felt like my calling,” she said. “I like the fast pace and thinking on my feet.”

Ms. Mangan worked for three years at Boston West before joining Foster Hospital.

“It’s always the goal for technicians to work at Tufts (Cummings School). There are so many specialties and veterinarians,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a day that I’m not adding to my knowledge or skills.”

The past two years have been quite different from her first three at Foster Hospital, with the pandemic upending the daily routine at the hospital. Among the changes, pet owners were no longer allowed in the hospital.

“Sick pets need their owners. It’s different not having that support for the pet—technicians and veterinarians have to be their full support system,” she said.

Only in the past few months have pet owners been permitted in the hospital on a limited basis. The hospital also has ongoing staffing challenges due to Covid. “For a number of reasons, we have an immense caseload to juggle,” she said.

Ms. Mangan is currently studying to become a Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) and likes spending time with her horse, Pedro, caring for her 60 houseplants, and enjoying her friends.

“I would like to stay within the emergency critical care specialty for my career,” Ms. Mangan said. “We have a heavy caseload and see atypical emergencies coming through the door. I thrive in the chaos of it all.”

Do you have a passion for taking care of pets and the people who love them? Are you looking for a collaborative work environment where you can learn, teach, and grow? Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is hiring Veterinary Technicians for our Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts University and our Large Animal Hospital. Our team of professionals works hard and smiles more. Join us. Learn more and apply.