Much like nurses in human health care, veterinary technicians are the unsung heroes of veterinary medicine. They play a vital role in the health and well-being of your pet as the “right hand” of the veterinarian.

But what exactly does a veterinary technician do? According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the more than 95,000 veterinary technicians in America are responsible for performing medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing the injuries and illnesses of animals. Depending on the animal hospital and the veterinary technician’s level of education and certifications, some of their specific tasks can include:

  • Observing the behavior and condition of animals
  • Providing nursing care or emergency first aid to recovering or injured animals
  • Bathing animals, clipping nails or claws and brushing or cutting animals’ hair
  • Restraining animals during exams or procedures
  • Administering anesthesia to animals and monitoring their responses
  • Collecting laboratory samples, such as blood, urine, or tissue, for testing
  • Performing laboratory tests, such as urinalysis and blood counts
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Preparing animals and instruments for surgery
  • Administering medications, vaccines, and treatments prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Collecting and recording patients’ case histories

The list can go on and on. In fact, the list of what a veterinary technician can’t do is much shorter and easier to digest. A veterinary technician cannot make diagnoses, perform surgery, or prescribe medication. Just about everything else is fair game.

Interested in becoming a veterinary technician? The U.S. Department of Labor expects employment of veterinary technologists and technicians to grow 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average. To learn more, visit the website for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

The veterinary technicians in our office regularly go above and beyond to keep your pet happy and healthy. Show your appreciation October 13 – 16, which is National Veterinary Technician Week.