5 Things You Don't Know About Veterinary Technicians

Anesthesia: Every day, in every veterinary practice, pets go under anesthesia. And every day, pet owners worry about that. We veterinarians know anesthesia is “routine” in the sense of being “common,” but we never treat it like it’s not a serious thing — because it is. Veterinary technicians are a vital part of the team when pets are under anesthesia, with specially trained technicians monitoring sedation to allow veterinarians to make adjustments quickly if necessary.

Dentistry: Veterinary technicians are also an essential part of the team when your pet is in for dental care. Those pearly whites you see in the end — and the doggy breath you don’t smell — don’t begin to reveal the work and skill that go into a dental cleaning. Working alongside your veterinarian, technicians get your pet's teeth cleaned and polished, including under the gums, and ready for you to maintain at home.

Surgery: In recent decades, the number of veterinary specialists and specialties has grown, and that trend continues within the ranks of veterinary technicians. One of these specialties is in surgery, where vet techs can now be certified after experience, training and testing. And while in human medicine a surgical nurse will likely work in surgery and nowhere else, in veterinary medicine, highly trained technicians will work in many different areas within the clinic on any given day.

Phlebotomy: Your doctor wants tests, so off you go. Sit in a chair, offer your arm. That person on the other side of the table? Not a vampire, but a phlebotomist (one of the best words in human medicine). In veterinary medicine, we still just have one word for this specialty — well, actually two: veterinary technician. Yes, vet techs do the blood draws, and on patients who are often far less cooperative than in human medicine. They also work as radiology techs, getting the radiographs that are often key to accurate diagnosis.

But Wait, I’ve Just Started!

To be honest, I haven’t even begun to get through the full list of all the remarkable things veterinary technicians do around, with and for animals, all helping what I call the three P’s: people, pets and the profession.

Want more? Think about zoos, which couldn’t function without their veterinary technicians. Aquariums, too, including parks with marine mammals. Veterinary technicians are on the front lines of research into tomorrow's medical miracles for both animals and people. They serve in the military, helping animals there, and work through organizations like World Vets to help animals and people around the globe.

That's why for this year’s Veterinary Technician Week, I wanted to share more about these incredible health professionals, because the great work they do needs to be recognized, as much as they need to be thanked. The next time you go into your vet's office, tell the techs you appreciate the great work they do. And say, “Thank you!”

Read more Vetstreet articles about veterinary technicians.

More on Vetstreet.com:

* Time to Sing Out for Vet Techs, the Unsung Heroes of Animal Care

* 7 Secrets to Getting the Red Carpet Treatment From Your Vet

* 7 Things Pet Owners Do That Drive Veterinarians Crazy

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