We all know that Dr. Newman is a veterinarian, and we also know she doesn’t run her office by herself. Part of her staff are veterinary technicians, and they play an important role in assisting her, your pet, and you. Duties of a Veterinary Technician A technician often works in a private clinic, such as Mountain View Veterinary Hospital. However, they also work in research facilities or laboratories or zoos. Some of the duties they perform include:
• Taking and testing blood samples, urine samples, and stool samples
• Administering medications and vaccines
• Preparing animals and equipment for surgery
• Monitoring vital signs
• Taking x-rays
• Holding animals during exams
• Providing emergency first aid
Technicians don’t diagnose illnesses and injuries, prescribe medications, or perform surgeries as that is left to the veterinarian.
To be a veterinary technician in Idaho, a Veterinary Technology Associate Degree is required. It normally takes two years to earn this degree, and the program should be accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. Courses are taught at universities, community colleges, and technical schools. Besides anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, radiology, anesthesiology, pharmacology, and related courses, other areas of study include laboratory procedures as well as clinical work with live patients.
Idaho uses the Veterinary Technician National Exam for certification. The test is provided by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. It is three hours long, has 150 questions, and covers topics such as anesthesia, surgical nursing, dentistry, and pharmacology. Technicians in Idaho must also pass the Idaho Veterinary Technical Jurisprudence Examination with a score of 90% or higher. Once certified, the technician must complete 14 hours of continuing education every two years. If they don’t, they will lose their license.
Some technicians like to specialize and go on to obtain additional certifications. For example, there are specialty certificates in internal medicine, dental technology, equine nursing, surgery, nutrition, critical care, clinical pathology, and zoological medicine.
A veterinary technician interacts with the doctor as well as the pet parents. That means it’s important that she listens and follows instructions. It is also vital that they articulate medical information and instructions to pet parents in a way they can understand. They also must be able to communicate concerns to the veterinarian.
Organizational skills are important since patient records must be kept and well-documented with information. They may be paper files or electronic files. If paper, they must be legible and accurate. If electronic, it’s important to know how to use the technology.
A veterinary technician must be able to stand for long periods of time. They must also be strong enough to lift large animals and hold wiggly pets still while they are being checked.
And it goes without saying, that the technician must be compassionate and caring. Many pets don’t enjoy going to the vet and are scared. Sometimes they’re aggressive. Sometimes they’re ill or injured. Sometimes they’re dying. Sometimes the pet parent is distraught. In all situations, the veterinary technician must do his best to keep everyone calm and comfortable.
Working with animals can be very rewarding. If you think you’re interested in becoming a veterinary technician, you might want to start out by volunteering at a shelter, a rescue organization, or at an animal clinic.
If you want additional information about veterinary technicians, call Dr. Newman at 208-233-2844. She can tell you how her technicians assist her in her daily practice.