Little did Dr. Allison Kiser know that comments from her former students would eventually lead her to a new career path in veterinary medicine.
“I had always been told by students during my internship and residency that I was a good teacher,” Kiser recalled.
Kiser began thinking more and more about those comments when she was working in mixed animal practices across the country. Even though she enjoyed working with horses, she could tell things weren’t quite the same. Burnt out was an issue and she began looking for something different.
“I thought maybe a professional change would do me some good,” she said. “And it did.”
Kiser moved from working primarily on horses and small ruminants to the Milwaukee Career College. There she developed the school’s Vet Assistant/Vet Tech program into a resounding success.
In the three years, Kiser was the program chair, the program gained full accreditation and the VTNE pass rate more than doubled.
After Milwaukee, Kiser moved back home to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she currently serves as the medical director at Vet Tech Institute.
“I was sad to leave Milwaukee, they had given me back the confidence I had lost in clinical practice, but I knew I was leaving them in a good place,” Kiser said. “It was also finally my chance to move back home to western Pennsylvania after all of these years.”
Before moving back home, Kiser spent time in Iowa where she graduated from Iowa State and was the college’s first theriogenology intern. Her career has taken her also to Texas A&M for a theriogenology residency and then onto small animal practices in Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
And even though she left behind many friends in those states, Pittsburgh is home and Kiser enjoys what she does.
“I enjoy seeing these kids go through the program and become a knowledgeable technician and then pass the VTNE and get a good job in practice,” she said. “It makes it feel like I’ve actually made a difference.”
Kiser’s duties at the Vet Tech Institute including teaching upper level classes and surgery. She performs all of the surgeries at the school where the students assist. She also is the lead veterinarian for the school’s kennel animals.
Horses are still her first love. She is the proud owner of two – Rambo, a 32-year-old appaloosa gelding whom she has had since she was in the 5th grade, and Stella, a young appaloosa mare.
“I’m not sure what sparked my interest in horses,” she said, “although my dad says I started drawing them constantly when I was very young.”
And although she’s more than content with her current job, Kiser does miss some of her old private practice days.
“I really miss being able to get a hard to settle mare to foal, and then seeing my product of my work born after 11 long months of waiting,” she said. “I start feeling nostalgic when I start seeing all of the new foal pictures.
“Then I remember those long nights and emergency calls at two in the morning and it makes me miss it a little less.”