The benefits of DIY in veterinary medicine

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Alyssa Mages, BS, CVT and Caitlin Keat, MSM outline how repurposing materials can benefit your clinic

“So basically, we can make something out of nothing. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll figure out a way to make it happen,” Alyssa Mages, BS, CVT said during her session, “DIY and Repurposing in Vet Med” at the 2022 Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference (ACVC) .

DIY, or do it yourself, is a popular strategy for saving money, but Alyssa Mages and Caitlin Keat, MSM explain how DIY and repurposing can also save time and resources in the clinic. They stress that almost nothing should be discarded without first thinking of a way to repurpose the material.

Alyssa Mages is the chief visionary officer (CVO) of Empowering Veterinary Teams (EVT) where she oversees the content development, clinical skills training, and overall vision of the company. She co-founded EVT to provide training programs, materials & coaching/learning opportunities for veterinary practices, as well as content development and training directives for veterinary industry service providers. Caitlin Keat is the chief operating officer (COO) of EVT where she is program managing, working with people, and problem solving for EVT.

Mages asked attendees, “How much waste do we have on any given day?” Then answered, “Too much.” She explained that often times materials are prepared for a procedure that ends up not happening and those opened materials are no longer useable. Instead, Mages encourages veterinary professionals to reuse them as training and practicing resources. It requires thinking outside of the box, but repurposing can also fill a need in treating a patient like using left over bubble wrap to warm a patient if nothing else is handy.

“Rethink, reuse, and repurpose, right. So, it’s the different three R’s,” Mages said. She gives another example of reusing unused materials: “How many times do you open up pack a suture for your surgeons and they don’t use it? How many of you guys know how to suture? How many do you want to learn? save it OK, what can you practice on? Bananas, oranges, grapefruits.” This is one way that otherwise wasted material can be used to improve your skills and practice in a no pressure situation.


Mages, A. Keat, C. DIY and repurposing in vet med. Presented at Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference; Atlantic City, NJ. October 10-12, 2022.