by Melody Keilig
We all appreciate the hard work and dedication that veterinarians do for our pets. The vet’s office may not be a favorite go-to spot for pets, but deep down, we think that our furbabies know that the vet is there to help them feel better.
However, most great vets began as veterinary technicians assisting veterinarian physicians. So, from October 16th to 22nd, let’s celebrate vet techs everywhere and their incredible work in this challenging yet rewarding field!
What’s a Vet Tech, and What Do They Do?
Veterinary technicians, or vet techs for short, work in the field of veterinary medicine. As mentioned, they assist the vet in medical care. But vet techs didn’t get their start until the 1950s. Before then, vets received training in schools that had roots dating back to 18th century France!
Today, vet techs complete a variety of tasks assisting the vet physician. This work includes greeting patients in the waiting room, acting as patient advocates, and helping as technicians in radiology, laboratory, anesthesia, and surgery.
Think of the work of a vet tech like an animal nurse. Although vet techs don’t conduct work such as performing surgeries, diagnosing health conditions, and prescribing medications, they play an essential role in the vet’s office.
Vet techs undergo training that prepares them to ensure everything in the vet’s office runs smoothly. This means vet techs often multitask or jump from one task to another.
When you arrive at the vet’s office with your pet, you’ll be greeted by a vet tech and led into a medical room. The vet tech provides a basic physical exam on your pet before the vet enters the room.
When the vet performs their medical assessment, the vet tech often holds your pet to keep them still and calm. The vet tech also prepares your pet’s prescribed medications and shows you how to administer them to your pet.
Other Important Roles Done by Vet Techs
Vet techs also take blood and stool samples from your pet to look for abnormalities under a microscope. This task is crucial to spotting parasites or signs of disease and finding out how best to treat your pet’s potential ailment.
Other medical issues vet techs look for include urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and kidney disease.
When vet techs aren’t conducting lab work, they may give your pet an X-ray. For example, if your pet has a broken bone or accidentally swallowed a random object, the vet tech will be the one working the X-ray machine to find the internal problem.
The X-ray machine process begins with the vet tech measuring the pet’s body part that needs medical inspection. Then, they will set up the machine and gently hold the pet in place to get the best X-ray image possible. Vet techs handle and maintain most of the medical equipment in the vet’s office, so they have a lot of experience working with these machines!
Vet techs help prepare the animal for the procedure throughout the surgery process. They shave the pet’s fur on the surgical site, clean the area with aseptic techniques, and set up sterile instruments for the vet.
Then they calculate the correct amount of anesthesia to prepare a pet for surgery. Next, vet techs administer IV fluids to ensure the pet is ready for surgery and prep the breathing tube for oxygen and anesthetic gas. During surgery, the vet tech checks for vitals and ensures the anesthesia remains at a safe level while assisting the vet.
After surgery, the vet tech cleans and sterilizes the surgical equipment for the following procedure. When your pet wakes up, the vet tech is the first person they see! The vet tech ensures your pet remains comfortable while they initially wake up and begin recovering.
Show Vet Techs You Appreciate Their Hard Work!
Vet techs work long shifts, often more than 40 hours per week. That’s a lengthy amount of time to be on your feet caring for pets! So, how can you show vet techs that you appreciate their hard work and crucial role in the vet’s office?
The best gifts are usually the most simple and heartfelt. For example, you could buy a “Thank You” card and sign it with your pet. Imagine the vet techs opening your card to see a personal note and two signatures: one written by you and a paw print from your pet! Remember to use pet-safe ink or paint so your furbaby can sign the card.
Look up pet-safe flowers you can send to the vet’s office along with your card. Of course, flowers and a card are always sweet gifts! But if you’re unsure about flowers, other great gift ideas are fitting for a vet tech.
Is your local vet’s office short on basic pet supplies? Create a gift basket for the vet techs and fill it with items like dog poop bags, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, and anything else they need.
Feel free to add personalized items for the vet tech in the gift basket. Of course, this idea is more straightforward if you know the vet techs personally, but even adding coffee mugs or a gift card goes a long way.
One of the most considerate ways to thank a vet tech is to leave a positive review on the vet’s office website or social media. By leaving a review, you can help your favorite vet tech (or the vet tech team) know they’re doing a great job!
If you’re unsure about what gifts to give and have some extra cash on hand, making a donation is a huge help. Even if it’s only a few dollars, it’s an incredibly kind gesture and goes a long way. In addition, that money can be used later with other donations to buy new pet supplies or even medical equipment.
You never know how much your donation can stretch to help animals in need, which makes the vet tech’s job much more rewarding.
How will you help vet techs for National Vet Tech Week? Are you a vet tech and want to share your experiences working with animals? Tell us your stories and share your ideas in our official Porch Potty Facebook group!