Veterinary technicians are animal nurses that work in veterinary offices, animal clinics, emergency hospitals, rescues and shelters, and more. These individuals receive training and education during a 2-year associate’s degree program which equips them to address basic and advanced animal health care issues. Here are a few of the primary things that veterinary technicians can expect to do on a daily basis once they get their first paying job.
General nursing duties. The bulk of a vet tech’s time is spent performing general nursing duties like patient restraint, dressing wounds, weighing animals, taking body temperature, and taking lab samples (e.g. blood, urine, and fecal samples). Doing these tasks free up the veterinarian for more complex procedures like diagnosing patients, writing prescriptions, and performing surgical procedures.
Talking to clients. Techs spend a lot of time talking with pet owners about their animals and whatever might be affecting them. Client education is a big part of being a vet tech, and trained techs have the knowledge to do it right! Expect to spend a lot of your time giving advice, answering questions, and doing research for your patients and their owners.
Surgery Assistance & Anesthesia . Although veterinary technicians don’t actually perform surgery, they do provide a lot of assistance during the process. A tech may be responsible for prepping the animal as well as the surgery room, cleaning tools and getting them ready, and most importantly – injecting anesthesia medication and monitoring it throughout the surgery. These are all things you’ll be trained to do in vet tech school.
X-rays. veterinary technicians are the ones responsible for taking x-rays when they are needed. You’ll be responsible for restraining the animal, setting up the equipment, and speaking with the doctor to find out exactly what shots are needed. Diagnosing x-rays is typically up to the veterinarian, but techs are often there to provide a second opinion based on their own analysis.
Working with your team. Being a tech isn’t always about working with animals! You’re part of a bigger animal care team, and working with them to share information about different patients is a big part of the job. Even more time will be spent in this area if you are promoted to a managerial or supervisor role. If this is the case you’ll be in charge of a team of veterinary technicians, and it will be up to you to make sure everyone is performing their duties correctly.
These are just a few of the many things a vet tech does on a daily basis!