Nov 21, 2014 at 09:35 AM

St. Francis Pet Clinic Academy

By St. Francis Pet Clinic

The Ultimate Veterinary Experience 

An Educational Opportunity Instituted by St. Francis Pet Clinic 

By: Danielle Scott 

 It’s 11 am on a sunny Sunday in October and the Girl Scout Brownie Troop 50551 are buzzing with anticipation and excitement in the St. Francis Pet Clinic lobby. Dr. Kellye Harmon emerged from the swinging door and greeted the girls with a warm and welcoming smile. Simultaneously, the brownies raised their hands in the three finger Girl Scout salute and silence spreads across the lobby. Dr. Harmon introduced herself and explains the reason for their visit: the Ultimate Veterinary Experience, emphasizing the importance of caring for our four legged family members. 

The tour began in an exam room with Dr. Harmon discussing the elements of the physical exam on patients, including inspecting the eyes, ears and mouth, listening to the heart and lungs, and palpating the abdomen. At St. Francis Pet Clinic, we see patients for a variety of ailments and illnesses, as well as for general health check ups. Because Santa Barbara has a mild climate that remains rather constant year round, we must deal with one pesky little pest: FLEAS! Allergic reactions to flea bites is one of the most common reasons pets come to visit us. Dr. Harmon explained the importance of monthly flea control and invited the Brownies into the back of the clinic to view a dead flea under the microscope. Although they are nasty blood-sucking parasites that have the high potential to introduce tapeworms into our canine and feline friends, they all enjoyed viewing the small, hairy-legged microscopic insect and returned to the line for a second and third view. ? 

Next up on the tour, Dr. Harmon demonstrated radiographic imaging as an important diagnostic tool using an image of a frog who ingested a rock. This is when Teddy Bear, a 10 year old brown and white stuffed bear with button eyes, entered the clinic as an emergency with a history of vomiting, inappetence, and lethargy. Each Brownie palpated Teddy Bear’s abdomen and unanimously agreed they feel something abnormal. One Brownie noted that Teddy Bear looks skinnier than he should. The consensus was Teddy should have an abdominal radiograph, which confirmed that he had indeed ingested a toy car, among other unidentifiable objects. Immediately, he is prepped for an emergency exploratory surgery and together, the team of Brownie surgeons and Dr. Harmon, removed the toy car, plus a pair of plastic scissors, a quarter, a safety pin and a sock. Teddy’s story has a happy ending as he fully recovered from anesthesia and the Brownie surgeons celebrated a job well done.  

At St. Francis Pet Clinic, we highly value and enjoy these educational opportunities and have thus started the St. Francis Academy. Each quarter, we will open the clinic to pre-registered children ages 8 to 13, accompanied by a parent, for an engaging, thought provoking and fun experience to learn about the inner workings of a veterinary hospital. To learn more about this experience, click here and scroll to the bottom for our flyer and contact information.


Posted in Animal Health.

138 W. Ortega St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Mon-Fri 8:00AM-6:00PM