For most pet owners, ensuring their pets receive top notch care is crucial. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $50 billion on their pets in 2012, a quarter of which went towards veterinary care.
Because of this, qualified veterinary technicians, or nurses as they are also called, are in high demand to assist vets and specialists in providing the quality of care that American pet owners have come to expect.
What is a Veterinary Technician?
Veterinary technicians are valuable members of the practice team who assist vets and/or specialists throughout the care of a patient. The responsibilities of a licensed, registered, or certified veterinary technician are very similar to that of a registered nurse in a hospital or doctor’s office. Veterinary technicians complete a veterinary technology program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and upon completion are required to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination. Based upon the state in which a veterinary technician resides, some veterinary technicians are required to pass a state exam as well.
General Vet Tech Duties
Veterinary technicians provide a variety of care and services while assisting the in-house veterinarian or specialist, including surgery preparations, administering anesthesia, performing lab work, taking radiographs, recording patient vitals and administering medications. In addition, general day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Basic Care: Veterinary technicians are responsible for making sure animals are safe, comfortable and well taken care of during their hospital stay.
- Preliminary Examinations: Veterinary technicians handle the preliminary examination upon a pet’s arrival, assisting by taking the animal’s rectal temperature and pulse.
- Direct Assistance: Veterinary technicians offer assistance throughout the patient’s treatment by administering medication, placing catheters, operating machinery, and making sure that animals are clean and comfortable.They are trained to administer and monitor anesthesia , place bandages, draw blood, run in-house laboratory tests, and take radiographs; in an emergency situation a veterinary technician will provide the initial first aid in order to stabilize the animal until further treatment can be provided.
- Pet Owner Communication & Education: Veterinary technicians also assist in communicating with pet owners about ailments and treatments, home care and preventative care. They also advise pet owners on how to administer medication to their pet.
- Facility Maintenance: Veterinary technicians control inventory, order medications and medical supplies, maintain patient records, and maintain machinery in the facility.
At VetMED, the veterinary technicians also focus their efforts assisting in anesthetic procedures, preparing patients for surgery, monitoring critical patients, administering life saving techniques, assisting in ultrasound and scope guided diagnostics, and capturing Computed Tomography Images.
Veterinary Technician Specialties
Many licensed veterinary technicians choose a specialty focus in their career. Among the specialties recognized by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) are the following:
- Anesthesia Care
- Behavioral Medicine
- Clinical Pathology
- Clinical Practice
- Emergency and Critical Care
- Internal Medicine
- Nursing Technology
- Surgical Technology
- Zoological Medicine