Quality veterinary care requires a team of specially educated and trained individuals. Veterinarians are the leaders of that team of specially trained workers, but veterinary technicians play a vital role. There are a great variety of tasks that must be accomplished in a veterinary hospital. Usually, those tasks that don't require a veterinary license are delegated to a staff member. Graduates of AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) accredited college programs in veterinary technology are called "veterinary technicians." Graduate veterinary technicians can take the national examination for veterinary technicians and become certified, licensed or registered in their state.
Veterinary technicians are skilled in anesthesia, surgical assistance, pharmacology, veterinary nursing, laboratory techniques, radiology, dentistry and much more. The veterinary technician always works under the direct supervision of the veterinarian. Veterinary technicians are prohibited from diagnosing diseases, prescribing medicine and performing surgery.
Private Pet Practice
Most graduate veterinary technicians are working in private, small animal practices. The specific duties of the veterinary technician vary depending on the size and type of practice as well as the laws of the state. A small animal practice that employs only one or two veterinarians may also require the veterinary technician to perform receptionist and office management duties.
In larger small-animal practices, veterinary technicians may perform physical examinations on patients, prepare animals and equipment for surgery and take radiographs. They may also clean and polish teeth, collect blood samples, perform laboratory tests, anesthetize animals and administer prescribed medical treatments.
The veterinary technician is usually responsible for educating clients. Providing nutritional information and training advice are important to the health and happiness of both pet and owner. The technician helps to identify the needs of a client and ensures that he or she receives the appropriate service.
Veterinary Technician Specialists
Some veterinary technicians choose to become specialists, requiring additional training following graduation. This training may be in the form of seminars or other short-term programs. Some training may be completed on the job with a veterinarian specializing in the technician's field of interest. These specialty areas include advanced veterinary dentistry, emergency and critical care nursing, veterinary anesthesia and zoo veterinary technology. Veterinary technician specialists may work in a small animal practice or at a specialty clinic.
An Exciting Job
Veterinary health care is an exciting and constantly changing field. Veterinary technicians play an essential role in nurturing and caring for animals while providing valuable services to their owners. So the next time you visit your veterinarian's office thank the veterinary technicians – they truly make the difference in the quality of veterinary care your pet receives!