Veterinary technicians have diverse skills: One minute we’re bathing a stray cat, and the next, intubating a puppy prior to surgery. Being a vet tech also requires the people skills to handle our clients’ many questions and concerns—especially during stressful times.
And while you may be familiar with some things a vet tech does on a daily basis, here are a few things that may surprise you.
8 Things Only Veterinary Technicians Would Know
1. We must be prepared to care for a range of different species.
As veterinary technicians, we know that vets must be familiar with the health, diet, and physiology of not just cats and dogs, but of other pets, including rabbits, ferrets, birds, and reptiles. And they must know how to treat these animals throughout their life cycle.
2. We know how to start an IV line in a 5-week-old kitten.
Since vet techs help care for pets across the lifespan (there’s no analogy for pediatricians in the veterinary world), we often find ourselves treating very young animals. Starting an intravenous line or placing a breathing tube prior to surgery on such small creatures requires a special set of skills few possess.
3. We love your pets almost as much as you do.
When a sick or injured animal is brought into the vet’s office for care, we do our best to keep the animal calm and comfortable. That means building a certain level of trust. And our regular clients know that we can get very attached to the pets we treat. So when you bring your pets to us, you can be sure they’ll get not only the best physical care, but the best emotional support as well.
4. We know which cleaning products work best on pet stains!
Being a vet tech isn’t all glamor—it involves cleaning cages and mopping up after procedures. Not surprisingly we get to know a lot about what products (paper towels, cleansers, odor removers, etc.) work best on pet stains like blood, urine, and feces. Definitely not glamorous—but given that many of us are pet owners ourselves, the knowledge comes in handy.
5. Even the sweetest animal can act out in a clinical setting.
As a vet tech, you have to be prepared for pretty much anything. And like humans, animals often have anxiety about going to the doctor. After all, who likes to be poked, prodded, or x-rayed? Sometimes a pet that’s normally calm at home can freak out on the exam table. Vet techs learn this quickly, and we do our best to keep your pet soothed throughout the exam.
6. We’re don’t mind fielding pet-related questions from friends at all hours.
When the phone rings at 3:00 am, it’s usually not good news. And if you’re a vet tech, it’s often a friend or family member with an urgent question about a sick or injured pet. We know how important it is to hear a calm voice when you’re worried about the health of your pet, and we don’t mind doing a bit of telephone triage after hours.
7. We know how to deal with scratches, bites and more.
Vet techs hand animals every day, and sometimes we get scratched or bitten by a frightened or pained animal. It’s part of the job, and we don’t freak out. We get to be pretty skilled at knowing what treatment a pet-related injury requires— from basic wound care to knowing when to see a doctor for antibiotics.
8. We get to interact with some pretty awesome people.
Not only do vet techs get to work with (and learn from!) some very skilled and talented vets, we also get the opportunity to work with the kind, dedicated, and knowledgeable people at various animal rescue and welfare organizations. Many of these people spend their lives going above and beyond the call for the animals and communities they serve, and we’re proud to know them.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.
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