What are the roles and duties of a veterinary technician? Below, that is exactly what we will be looking into. We will be looking into what role a vet tech plays in a vet office after they have gained the required education and earned their state license.
Pet owners have an extremely high expectation about what veterinary practices should and can do to keep their pets healthy. Even with the recent economic hard times, there has been a growing demand for vet services in past years. In response to this growing demand, many practices are employing more and more skilled, experienced vet techs to provide professional support.
90% of veterinary technicians work for private vet offices. Because this is the primary place of employment, the assigned duties within a vet office are the ones we will be talking about primarily those duties.
A quick summary of a duties are performing routine tasks such as laboratory, clinical procedures and after care. All tasks are always performed under the supervision of the vet, who is ultimately responsible for everything the technician does. The easiest way to explain to anyone what a vet tech does is that they play the role of what a nurse plays to a doctor.
Every veterinary practice is different with the technician’s duties being varied and many. Here is a brief list of what a vet tech’s responsibilities could be:
- Cutting the hair of the animals
- Clipping nails and claws of the animals.
- Training and mentoring new members of the vet tech team
- Providing the ongoing care for any animals recovering from surgery and/or treatment.
- Prescribing and administering medicines, vaccines, and treatments.
- Maintaining a sterile and safe environment. This involves, but is not limited to cleaning out the mess left by animals in kennels, examination rooms and animal holding areas.
- Providing advice to pet owners on their pet’s health or nutrition
- Providing emergency first aid.
- Vet techs also conduct a lot of lab work. This can include conducting blood tests, urine tests and feces tests. These tests enable the vet to diagnose animal illnesses.
- Ensuring that all equipment in the office is properly maintained and sterilized.
- Undertaking dental work such as cleaning, or extracting teeth.
- Providing anesthesia to animals before surgery.
- Using x-ray and other radiological equipment
- Assisting the vet in physical examinations of animals. Such as: restraining animals when necessary, taking the temperature of animals, and providing vet with supplies.
- Maintaining current and organized laboratory, research, and treatment records.
- Prepping the animals ready for surgery, such as by shaving parts of the animal in preparation for treatment.
- Preparing and labeling samples for laboratory testing.
- Ensuring that instruments are sterilized and the examination rooms are clean and ready for use
As a veterinary technician, you’re not just limited to working in a veterinary office. For individuals who have completed the four year Bachelor of Science qualification, they can also work in colleges, universities and professional schools. These positions focus more on laboratory work and scientific analysis. This work involves, but is not limited to; taking blood and urine samples, cross checking records of animal histories, analyzing samples in laboratories by using microscopic equipment.
Private industries, such as pet food companies or pharmaceutical companies, frequently hire vet techs to do consultant work for them when developing new products.
There are also positions in scientific and research establishments, zoos and circuses, or animal welfare organizations.
There is an ever growing demand for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. The definition of what a vet tech does is a varied one that is guaranteed to grow in the coming years.