When you take your pet to the veterinarian, you’ll likely come into contact with a number of different people. Among them is a very special group of professionals who take care of the technical aspects of your pet’s care, known as veterinary technicians, or vet techs.
A licensed veterinary technician, or LVT, has earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology and passed a national exam to become certified. A vet tech is required to take 15 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain certification.
What exactly does a vet tech do? A vet tech performs a number of important jobs relating to all aspects of an animal’s health care under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Many of their responsibilities are the same that a nurse would perform.
Duties can include drawing blood; placing catheters; preparing animals, equipment and instruments for surgery; assisting in surgery; managing anesthesia; administering medication; recording patient case histories, cleaning teeth; taking x-rays and performing laboratory procedures such as blood counts and urinalysis. Vet techs can even conduct patient education for pet owners. They do not diagnose, perform surgery or prescribe medication.
A vet tech’s day can vary from routine to emergency situations. They start their days early, typically checking on any animals who may be recovering from surgery or an illness before getting down to the business of technical work. Because daily duties vary, the nature of a vet tech’s job makes it an interesting one, notes veterinaryedu.org.
While most vet techs work in a private practice, some choose to specialize in areas such as dental technology, anesthesia, internal medicine, emergency and critical care, behavior, zoological medicine or equine veterinary nursing, adds AVMA.