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Sunday, January 30, 2011

All About Veterinary Technicians

Today we have a first on my blog.  A guest post!  I thought this was a very worthwhile topic, and I hope you find it informative.

Veterinary technicians are not exactly veterinarians, but they’re the next best thing to them. They’re involved in the provision of medical care to animals, and they’re qualified professionals who have had academic and on-the-job training in looking after animals and birds. In general, the tasks and responsibilities of a vet tech include:
·       *   Assisting veterinarians in all that they do.
·       *  Helping with surgeries and routine examinations.
·       *  Administering medication, intravenously or otherwise.
·       * Conducting lab tests and knowing how to read the results of these tests.
·       * Providing overnight care for animals that have had surgeries and need to be kept in the hospital for observation.
·       * Working X-ray machines to diagnose animals with broken bones.
·       * Talking to clients and explaining surgeries and other medical procedures to them.
·       * Teaching clients how best to care for and cope with their animals.
·       * Helping with training animals – they teach obedience classes for pets.
·       * Some vet techs specialize in animal behavior and are involved with behavioral testing at veterinary practices.
·       * Some vet techs treat minor injuries and small wounds in the absence of a veterinarian and in emergencies.

If you want to become a veterinary technician, you must be prepared to:
·         * Enroll in and complete a two or four-year degree program. It could be an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, but it is necessary that you attend college before you’re allowed to take the certification examination.
·         * Apply for and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). This exam spans four hours and will test your abilities in prepping animals for surgery, nursing, animal pharmacology, lab procedures and other topics pertinent to veterinary science.
·         * Apply for an internship position at a veterinary practice or hospital.
·         * Apply for a job with a veterinarian who practices independently or with a larger hospital, depending on your location and options. 

Most vet techs go on to specialize in one particular field of care – you could choose to study critical care, internal medicine, dentistry, equine care or anesthesia to extend your repertoire, boost your chances of success, and earn a higher salary. If you’re looking for jobs and hoping to reach out to other vet techs, joining the National Association of Veterinary Technicians is your best bet. This association helps not just with jobs, but also with continuing education and career development.  

According the BLS, the median salary of vet techs is around $29,000. Vet techs in research earn more than their counterparts who choose to stay on in general practice. 

This guest post is contributed by Tina Marconi, she writes on the topic of vet tech online . She welcomes your comments at her email id: tinamarconi85[@]gmail[.]com.


  1. Personally, I love my vet. I don't think he's a real people person - he has his quirks, and I'll bet he's hard to work with for SOME people.

    But he's exceptionally methodical, particularly as he explains to me possible causes of an ailment and the background, and courses of treatment. He lays it out A, B, and C, and it's just really how I want my information. It's almost pedagogical. I'd recommend it all you vets and would-be vets, but I'm not sure it works for all clients! Other people might like real warm and fuzzy.

    Also, I want my vet (and his personnel) to understand that I make the decisions for my pets and my household - they're there to advise and hopefully support my decisions.

    Recently I brought my 16 year old cat in for undiagnosed weight loss, was told it was probably related to heart problems (diagnosed heart murmer for a few years) but to know for sure they need an XRay and have to leave the cat overnight. I've already decided at 16 y.o. I am not going to invest a lot of resources into this cat, and I know my cat and I know he does NOT want to be away boarded overnight in a strange place. I made the decision not to do the XRay and the office person kept challenging me - "we have payment options, this is what I did with my cat, yadda yadda yadda."

    I'm not taking it out on my vet because sometimes people are insensitive. I don't believe in making life miserable for underpaid staff workers either, even if they are sometimes rude. But it's something for you students to think of for when you get your own practice!

    Thanks for letting me vent, vets!


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