Meet Dr. John Kaya

October 15, 2012 9:00 am

WCC’s new two-year associate degree in veterinary technology — an expansion of the veterinary assisting certificate — is more hands-on in the second year, as students work directly with animals during internships.

That’s according to the director of the new program, Dr. John Kaya, a self-described animal lover who has 13 years of experience in Hawai‘i as a practicing veterinarian.

Manjari Fergusson

Vet tech director Dr. John Kaya.

When students enter the technician program, he said, “They do things like take x-rays, do anesthetic procedures, dental cleanings on animals, monitor patients that are undergoing surgery and take care of them post-operatively. It’s a lot more hands on.”

The majority of veterinary technicians working in Hawai’i do not have degrees and were trained on the job, he explained. There are about 200 vet tech programs on the mainland, but this is the first one in Hawai’i.

The degree “prepares students so when they finally graduate they know what they’re doing and they can immediately jump into a clinic and start working,” said Kaya.

“If you want to be a veterinarian, this could be a good way to start your journey. I’ve known many vet technicians who have gone on to become vets. Their years of experience and their comfort level with animals is what really gets them into veterinary school, along with good grades.”

Kaya himself has had an interesting journey. He loves children and debated becoming a pediatrician or a vet, although his original degree was in education. He worked as an elementary school teacher before returning to school to become a veterinarian.

“I decided instead of seeing kids when they’re sick or seeing them when they’re getting their shots, which they hate, why not see them in the clinic with their favorite pet?” said Kaya.
He treats not only dogs and cats, but also a whole range of birds and animals, including rabbits, chinchillas, turtles, penguins, flamingos and goats, just to name a few.

“One of the most rewarding things is helping a pregnant dog or cat give birth,” he said.
“You start out with a mother in distress, you go in and help her give birth or give her a c-section, and they’re a happy family. It’s the best feeling.”

Kaya will be teaching, as well as running the program and making sure all the parts involved are taken care of. He also plans to keep working as a vet one day a week at the VCA University Animal Hospital.

“Just being a vet, every week something crazy happens. It’s a fun business,” said Kaya, who writes an animal column twice a month for MidWeek.

The program is looking to be accredited next spring and is also planning to offer distance learning in the near future.

by Manjari Fergusson
Ka ‘Ohana Editor in Chief

Other News

  • Community News Video Thrift Shopping at Goodwill (Video)

    Thrift Shopping at Goodwill (Video)

    If you’re looking for killer deals while on a budget, then Goodwill is the place to go. With a vast selection of your favorite brands such as Volcom and Banana Republic, you can get a whole outfit for under $20! If you’re not looking for clothes, Goodwill also carries many hidden gems in other parts of the store. Shelves are […]

    Read more →
  • Campus News The many talents of Matt Maeda

    The many talents of Matt Maeda

    You may have seen him around campus, emptying the trash or with a broom in hand. But Matt Maeda’s hands are capable of much more than cleaning. Dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt, sitting at a table doodling, Maeda will tell you, “I’m pretty boring. I just draw, cook, and I help people.” What he doesn’t mention is his […]

    Read more →
  • News Of The Day Snowden warns of surveillance in a democracy

    Snowden warns of surveillance in a democracy

    When the moment came, attorney Ben Wizner and Aviam Soifer, dean of the UH School of Law, took to the stage in the Hawaii Convention Center. Then, Edward Snowden was “beamed” into the ballroom and onto a large overhead screen via (somewhat ironically) Google Hangouts. “And there he is,” Soifer said. Snowden waved to audience members. They gave him a […]

    Read more →
  • Campus News Video ‘Out Loud’ and open mic set for March 17 and 18 (Video)

    ‘Out Loud’ and open mic set for March 17 and 18 (Video)

    The next “Out Loud in the Library” event Wednesday, March 18, will be a rare opportunity to hear from WCC’s language arts faculty — not as teachers, but as writers. “I wanted to pay tribute to our department,” said English teacher and series founder Janine Oshiro. “At Windward, we have these amazing authors I think we should acknowledge. Students who […]

    Read more →
  • Campus News A different take on gender roles

    A different take on gender roles

    Over the last century, American society has come a long way in women’s rights and gender equity. However, some say we still have a long way to go. WCC will be participating in Women’s History Month on March 17 and 19 with two speakers and two films. All events will be held in Hale Kuhina 115 and will be free […]

    Read more →
  • Centerspread Community News Want to go for a hike?  Check out these popular trails!

    Want to go for a hike? Check out these popular trails!

    Diamond Head Length: 1.6 miles With stunning views of the coast and a rich military history, the Diamond Head hiking trail is one of the most historic and popular landmarks on the island. The Diamond Head Monument encompasses 475 acres, including the interior and exterior slopes of the crater. The hike is considered “moderate” through a series of stairs and […]

    Read more →
  • Campus News Give a pint, save a life; tattoos welcome

    Give a pint, save a life; tattoos welcome

    One pint of blood can help save three lives! If you are interested in donating blood, mark your calendars for March 17-18. Sponsored by the Service-Learning Center, the drive will be held in Akoakoa 101. Blood Bank of Hawaii staff will be assisting donors from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. The volunteers will be asking students, faculty and staff in classes, the […]

    Read more →
  • Campus News Student speaker needed

    Student speaker needed

    WCC’s student government has begun accepting applications for commencement speaker at the 2015 graduation ceremony Saturday, May 16. The speaker will give a three-minute speech on one of the following topics: the value of a liberal arts education, the value of a community college, or the value of giving back to the community. The prospective speaker must be a student […]

    Read more →