2001-Sun Jun 25 17:02:06 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
In my hectic fledgeling days as a companion animal veterinarian in the early 1980s, my duties ran from the miraculous to the mundane. For hours in the morning, I’d be in the exam room diagnosing or treating pets; in the early afternoon, I would spend time in the surgery room doing a variety of things from spays and neuters to complicated orthopedic surgeries. In between, I would scramble to find a moment to look up a difficult case in my textbooks, eat lunch and do callbacks.
There were so many more things that had to be done, too: taking a pet’s vital signs, drawing blood for tests, putting in catheters, giving medications, taking and processing radiographs, changing bandages — even cleaning pets’ teeth. I was chronically rushed and not able to spend as much time as I would have liked with many patients and pet owners.
Fortunately, in the early '90s, veterinary medicine started welcoming licensed, registered and certified veterinary technicians (LVTs, CVTs and RVTs) to assist in caring for patients. That change made my days much less hectic and dramatically increased the quality of care I could provide. Today, the label is changing — they are veterinary nurses, not vet techs — but the work they do is still incredibly important to the patients and practices they serve.
When I'm seeing patients at North Idaho Animal Hospital, I work with a wonderful veterinary nurse named Michelle. Like tens of thousands of veterinary nurses nationwide, Michelle is more than just another set of hands to fill in paperwork, restrain a pet during an exam, or fetch a vaccine or medication; she brings another set of senses and skills to the process of a pet going from the living room at home to the exam room and back home. She often feels a lump I missed, notices extra eyelashes that are causing discomfort or remembers another patient in the past whose symptoms looked very similar. Michelle and I typically discuss cases right in front of the pet owner. And far from making me, the veterinarian, look less smart and capable, her expertise complements my knowledge, experience and authority, and raises the pet owner's confidence in the quality of the care we are providing.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.