What Do Vet Techs Do?
April 28, 2014
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What do vet techs do? Do they play with cats and dogs all day? Do they bring them their food and clean their cages at night? In reality, veterinary technicians are an essential part of the field and work closely with veterinarians to help keep animals healthy. The following are six things that are an important part of a vet tech's job:
Draw Blood, Insert IVs
There are few, if any, blood draw labs for animals, so vet techs must take on the role of phlebotomist when animals need a blood test done. Also, if an animal is going into surgery or is severely dehydrated, the vet tech will start an IV to deliver the necessary medicine and hydration.
After the veterinarian makes a diagnosis and prescribes the right medications, the vet tech is responsible for administering the medication. This can range from having an animal swallow a pill to intramuscular injection or suppository.
Assist in Surgery
A veterinarian is responsible for all aspects of animal care, which means they can perform surgeries as well as diagnose and treat pets. So, what do vet techs do during surgery? Tasks include preparing the animal beforehand by thoroughly cleaning the surgical site, monitoring the animal's vital signs, handing the veterinarian supplies and maintaining sterile techniques throughout the procedure. Vet techs can also become certified to assist in veterinary surgery by completing considerable hours in surgical care, passing an exam, and providing case reports and letters of recommendation to the Academy of Veterinary Surgical Technicians.
Keep Good Records
Documentation is an essential part of every health care field. Vet techs and veterinarians must document an animal's health history and assessment findings during the veterinary exam. Everything that a vet tech does for an animal and information about their behavior and health should be kept in a medical record. The information should be thorough and easy to understand.
If a broken bone or other disease is suspected, a veterinarian may order an X-ray. The vet tech is then responsible for properly positioning the animal, shielding themselves and the rest of the animal, and helping the animal stay as still as possible so the X-rays will develop clearly. Then, depending on whether the X-ray is traditional or digital, the vet tech may need to develop the X-ray film. This duty is an important part of helping veterinarians understand how to best treat the animal.
Interact with Animals and Their Owners
Vet techs also perform all of their clinical responsibilities while maintaining positive interactions with a variety of animals and their owners. Animals may not be on their best behavior when they aren't feeling well and are exposed to a new place and strange things or people. Owners may be worried about the health of their pet and may not be on their best behavior as well. Vet techs need to be able to safely handle the animals and sensitively and respectfully communicate with their owners.
This list just covers the very basics of vet tech responsibilities; there are many more duties, but the most important one is helping animals be their happiest and healthiest selves.
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