I am so proud to say that I am a veterinary technician. I believe that I have one of the best jobs on earth. I’ve been working at West Hill Animal Clinic as a registered veterinary technician since I graduated in 2003 and it has occurred to me that a lot of my close friends, relatives and even clients don’t know everything that my role as a veterinary technician entails.
What do veterinary technicians do? Why do we do it? And what does it take? Well, I could tell you that on any given day we get to cuddle with puppies and kittens and play with dogs and cats. Yes, there is truth in that; however, I could also tell you that from the first time your pet steps into our clinic you may not have noticed but… we were there.
Whether your pet came in merely for a nail trim, vaccine, first visit or an exam, we were there performing the nail trim, pulling up vaccines and assisting the doctors if they needed an extra hand with restraint during the exam.
If your pet had surgery, whether it was a cruciate surgery, routine surgery such as a spay or neuter and even an emergency surgery, like a splenectomy, exploratory or gastropexy. We were there preparing and administering all the anesthetics, prepping your pet for surgery, as well as placing them on intravenous fluids and monitoring their vital signs during anesthesia. We have been there to scrub in and assist with surgery acting as human retractors to allow our doctors to have proper visualization, which is essential during operation. We were there to recover your pets and ensure to alert the doctors if we felt the animal was in pain and may require more pain medication or any extra attention needed by the doctor; we are their voice and their advocates.
We have been there to consult owners on many important subjects such as parasites, dental procedures and nutrition. If your pet has ever needed a dental, we were there, preparing them for anesthetics, monitoring, scaling, polishing and taking dental radiographs to assist our doctors with extractions.
If your pet has ever come in with skin or ear conditions we were there… taking swabs, cleaning the ear or taking skin scrapings and then confirming the doctor’s suspicion of mites or yeast by examining the samples under the microscope.
If your pet has ever needed medication prescribed by the doctor for varies concerns like ear and skin infections, anti-anxiety medication or thyroid, kidney and heart disease we were there counting and filling your pet’s prescription.
If your pet has come in not well and under the weather, we were there, taking blood, collecting ultrasound guided urine samples and perhaps taking radiographs to gather valuable information for our doctors to be able to determine a diagnosis of what may be wrong with your pet. If our doctors have recommended that your pet needed to stay in the clinic to aid in the recovery process, we were there, placing them on intravenous fluids, calculating and administering medications and potentially hand feeding to help nurse them back to health.
In their time of dire need, we have spent countless nights worrying about our critically ill patients. We were there, to monitor and help with blood transfusions, placement of feeding tubes and perform multiple tests including radiographs, bone marrow biopsies and ultrasounds as well as give them all the extra TLC they needed. We were there, for unexpected emergencies, performing CPR, administering lifesaving medications, fluids and cardiac compressions.
We have been licked, jumped on, scratched, bitten, peed, pooed and vomited on. We have laughed, and we have cried. We have been there for first breaths; natural and caesarian. And we have been there for last breaths; planned and unplanned. We were there as a soft voice, a gentle kiss, warm embrace or a final stroke on their face.
This just being the tip of the iceberg of all we do as veterinary technicians, some may question with all of this why on earth we would want this job? But it is much more than just a job. It’s our passion because with every laugh, worry, scratch, bite and tear spent we know that your pet is often scared and unsure as to what we are doing to them. Keeping that in mind, there is no greater joy in knowing we have helped your animal in some way from their first visit through to assisting them to exit this world with the poise and dignity they deserve. No matter the reason for the visit we have been there every step of the way and so much more.
So you could say parts of our role as a veterinary technician is “like” being a nurse, a dental hygienist, lab technician, x-ray technician, anesthesiologist, pharmacy technician and even a groomer, but we are not; there is no other job like it. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication; we are a part of what makes up the heart and soul of our clinic. Our love for your pets is palpable, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I AM a veterinary technician… I am YOUR veterinary technician, and I am here for your pet!”
Written by Tanya Jones, RVT