Many people mention their veterinarians when asked who provides their pet’s care. But, while our Drs. Pettyjohn, Hall, and Kitten put a tremendous amount of love and attention into your furry friend’s care, they couldn’t do it without the help of the support team here at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center of Conroe. From our kennel attendants and groomers, to our veterinary technicians and customer service representatives, it takes an entire crew to ensure your best pal receives top-notch care.
Meet veterinary technician Rachel
In celebration of National Pet Dental Health Month, we are highlighting the skills and expertise of our dental technician, Rachel. Under her watchful eye, your pet emerges from a dental procedure with fresh breath and a sparkling smile. To help remove every trace of plaque and tartar from your pet’s mouth, we use general anesthesia to ensure she feels no discomfort and remains still, for her safety and ours. But, rest assured that your beloved companion is in good hands with Rachel and her team, who use advanced monitoring equipment and techniques to guarantee the procedure and anesthesia are as safe as possible.
Once your pet is anesthetized, Rachel takes full-mouth dental X-rays to search for hidden problems below the gumline, as up to 60% of each tooth can lie beneath the surface. Tooth-root abscesses, bone loss, tooth fractures, and root resorption can be spotted on dental X-rays, allowing us to treat painful periodontal problems and grant your pet relief. After identifying issues on X-rays and creating a dental chart of your pet’s mouth, Rachel removes plaque and tartar with an ultrasonic scaler to banish oral bacteria. Once the teeth are free from sticky plaque and tartar, Rachel polishes each tooth to remove tiny microabrasions in the enamel that can attract future plaque. Rachel finishes your pet’s dental cleaning by topping her off with a fluoride treatment, and proceeds to recover her from anesthesia with careful monitoring until you return to pick up your furry friend. At your discharge appointment, Rachel, who is our top educator, will teach you about prescription dental diets, approved dental treats and chews, and toothbrushing techniques to help tame your pet’s tartar.
Now that you understand Rachel’s important role in your pet’s care, and in our hospital, let’s learn more about her background, and what she loves most about veterinary medicine.
Question: When did you discover that veterinary medicine was your passion?
Answer: I moved back to Texas after a brief stint in Colorado and began looking for part-time work, since I was pregnant with my daughter at the time. Despite having no experience, I applied for a veterinary technician position, and fell in love with the animal-care field. Twelve years later, I still love caring for pets every day, and I have spent 10 of those years working side-by-side with Dr. Pettyjohn.
Q: How did you find your place at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center at Conroe?
A: One of the veterinary technicians I worked with at my previous clinic told me about an opening for another vet tech at Stone Ridge, so I made the transition. Two years later, Dr. Pettyjohn became the owner, and the hospital became Stone Ridge.
Q: What’s your favorite part about being a veterinary technician?
A: My favorite thing is the relationships and bonds you make with owners and their pets. You have the opportunity to watch pets grow from a 6-week-old puppy to a 10-year-old senior. Sometimes, you meet them in the middle of their lives, or near the end, but the bond never changes. Part of me feels like they are my pets, too. I still cry every time a patient’s time comes to an end. After 11 years, it still hurts the same.
Q: Why did you choose to focus on dentistry?
A: I feel like dentistry chose me. Honestly, it was never something I had any interest in—I thought mouths were absolutely disgusting. One day, I was scheduled as the surgical assistant for a dental procedure for a pet who had severe dental disease. After I finished scaling, the results were so rewarding, I knew dentistry was something I wanted to make into a career. It truly is my passion.
Q: Tell us about your pets.
A: Tank, my 13-year-old Chihuahua, was my late husband’s “baby,” so he holds an extra special place in my heart. Chopper became Tank’s companion when I rescued him shortly after my husband passed away. My senior foster failure, Louisa, is also a Chihuahua. We have one dog who is not a Chihuahua—our year-old toy Australian shepherd, Briggs. Her best friend is a bottle-baby cat, Mango. This hilarious duo has their own Instagram account.
Q: Tell us about your human family members.
A: I’ve been with my fiancé, Trevor, for 9 years, and we have two children together—MaeLeigh, who is 11, and Liam, who is 9. Our children always keep us on our toes with their thirst for adventure and outgoing personalities, but they never cease to amaze us with their ambitions, talents, intelligence, and kindness.
Q: What’s something about you that might surprise others?
A: I am terrified of needles when it comes to having my blood drawn, or having an IV catheter placed. It shocks most people, because I have a full sleeve of tattoos.
Q: Do you prefer city life or wide open spaces?
A: Wide open spaces! The city gets too crowded for me, so back roads and one-stoplight towns are the way to go.
Q: What are a few things on your bucket list?
A: I have never been to California, so I’d love to visit, and participate in a taping of The Price is Right. Australia is another country on my travel bucket list.
Is your pet in need of a dental cleaning? Schedule a periodontal treatment with Rachel, our dental technician extraordinaire, to give your furry friend a sparkling smile.