make an impact: Karla Cisneros-Alvarez, CVT

She began with a goal: to be an advocate for animals, since they are unable to speak for themselves. And with dedication and compassion, Banfield’s Karla Cisneros-Alvarez, Certified Veterinary Technician, has transformed her aspiration into reality. Perfecting her craft for nearly two decades with Banfield, Karla now serves as the practice manager at the Banfield Pet Hospital in Miramar, Florida.

In our recent interview, it was fascinating to learn about how Karla connects with pets, clients, and teammates to provide high-quality petcare every day. And when the working day is over, Karla has some sweet hobbies, too.

Advocating for pets and making connections

When I was young, I always wanted to work with animals. And during high school, I got my foot in the door as a kennel technician at a local vet hospital – every Saturday, I was there. And it just became a passion to see how I could be an advocate for animals. They don't have a voice. We are their voice.

Sometimes it can be challenging to know how a pet is feeling, or if they’re scared, or if something is bothering them. We look at body language, and I’ve done a lot of training about how to see signs of pain in animals. But it can be difficult sometimes because we have some pets that are very stoic. So in those cases, the team compares observations and comes up with a consensus. We work together, which is great.

Veterinary technicians can help explain things to clients to help them understand their pet’s health. I get close with a lot of my clients, and it’s rewarding to work on a critical case, where you know the pet owner is very concerned and they entrust you with their pet. A lot of my clients are very appreciative that we spend the extra time with them. There’s a lot of information sometimes, and I can tell clients: this is the situation, this is the treatment – so they get a better understanding of what the veterinarian is recommending and why.

Always learning and building skills

I go to a lot of conferences to continue building my skills and knowledge – Banfield supports continuing education for Vet Techs. So with conferences and classes, I’m getting more information in areas that I'm curious about. For example, I would love to specialize as a surgical technician, so I do a lot of surgery and emergency medicine classes.

It’s great to have more knowledge. Here at Banfield, if we have a walk-in emergency requiring a specific surgery, I can recall what I learned and ask the doctor “What do you think?” It can help to give the doctor another perspective.

Making the most of her free time

When I have free time, I’m an active hiker. My dog Chancellor is my hiking partner. We’ll go hiking with my friend and her dog. We’ll drive north and go hiking for the day and drive back. Just to get out of the city and kind of let your brain relax for a little bit.

Wherever I can take my dog is a plus for me. He's home when I’m not home, so he’s kind of bored, you know? I think it's only fair that if I get a break, he should get a break as well!

I also have another side hobby – I like to bake and decorate cakes. I know it's almost completely opposite of what I do right now, but it’s fun and I enjoy it. Sometimes I'll make birthday cakes or specific themed cakes for friends and things like that. I took classes when I was in Colorado because it was one of my hobbies, and I thought, I really want to get better at this. So I did, and it’s fun.

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