Your Veterinary Voice, Episode 14: Meet Kenichiro Yagi, BS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM)

Your Veterinary Voice, Episode 14: Meet Kenichiro Yagi, BS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM)

Get an über-tech's take on the national credential initiative, career development in the veterinary field and what it's like to spend childhood as a hopeful mechanical robot hero.
Sep 13, 2017

The profession of veterinary technician is at a crossroads, in name at least. You’ve heard it: NAVTA is beginning a national push to change registered veterinary technicians and credentialed veterinary technicians and licensed veterinary technicians … to veterinary nurses.

Traditionalists say the term “nurse” minimizes what a technician can do—“We’re bigger than nurses,” they argue—while name changers say it more accurately portrays the expertise of the position and elevates the profession as a whole—“A technician sounds like someone who works on your car or in a lab, not caring for animals,” they argue.

Which way are you swinging on the name? Need that nurse name? Or is this Nurse-ageddon in the veterinary profession?

We brought one of those name changers to Your Veterinary Voice to hear him out—Kenichiro Yagi, BS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM). He’s in favor of the term “veterinary nurse,” an advocate for raising awareness of current veterinary technicians’ true capabilities.

“It’s a whole encompassing way of approaching patient care—that’s more nursing,” Yagi says. “If we think about the roles that veterinary technicians play, such as taking a radiograph or ultrasonography, the ability to do that I think is more of a technical role.”

This is where we begin our discussion.


At some point, states will make decisions. The country’s veterinary technicians and the veterinary profession at large will make a decision. The credential debate will come to a conclusion, but the landscape of veterinary medicine itself will continue to shift. Let’s jump topics. As methods of treatment evolve, the cost of care—particularly emergency care—can skyrocket. This is where the nuanced judgement of specialists is crucial. As Yagi points out, critical care is not for every patient: “As responsible veterinary care teams, we should be recommending what we think is the best course of action. That can sometimes include something like euthanasia.” Jump to 8:37 for our discussion of patients, payments and pet insurance.

The classic story of the veterinary professional goes something like this: “Even as a child, I knew that all I ever wanted to do with my life was to help animals.” Turns out, with Ken Yagi … not so much.

“Uhh, no, I was not one of those people,” he says. “My parents always joked that I wanted to be a mechanical robot hero or something like that.”

So how did he wind up as ICU and Blood Bank Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, California? Jump to 13:44 to hear about his path from vague plans to VTS.

“Do I want to touch this question?”

OK, we went there. Ken Yagi himself points out that, being an Asian-American male, he’s somewhat unique in his field. And we wanted to know if this has been a disadvantage—or possibly an advantage. Ever analytical, Ken gives us an earful about culture, gender and treatment in the workplace. Go to 23:18 to get into this topic.