2001-Tue Jan 24 06:14:05 MST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
What is a veterinary technician? A technician is very similar to a human nurse. It is our role to assist licensed veterinarians in all that they do to help keep pets healthy. We work under their supervision to help monitor and treat patients, perform certain tests, educate clients, and assist in surgical and dental procedures.
Like veterinarians, technicians can also specialize in certain areas, such as radiology, dentistry, and anesthesiology. In my case, due to an abiding interest I had, I chose to specialize in behavior. I thought I could be of the most help to clients and their pets by helping them to overcome their behavioral problems as well as their medical ones. I have to say, the one thing I rarely experience in this field is boredom: You simply don’t know what the day will bring!
The qualities that someone in my job must have include an excellent sense of humor, almost photographic observational skills, and an ability to relax in the most unpredictable of situations. A sense of empathy for patients who are confused, frightened and trying to protect themselves—often while trying to hurt you—is also essential. But probably the most valuable skill is the ability to support and empathize with human clients who struggle daily to understand their emotionally distraught pets.
I suspect my life experiences have shaped me for this job. Like my animal patients, I understand what it is like to be afraid. I have lived with unpredictability and danger in my life. I’ve suffered anxiety attacks and know the terror of wanting to run from something but not knowing what that ‘something’ is. I also understand pet owners. I know what it feels like to see someone you love suffer from the threat of unknown demons, and to not have a clue how to ease their fear and pain. You see, two of my human children suffer from mental illness. That has been difficult to watch but it has also honed my skills of observation and empathy.
The animal patients I meet in the course of my day as an animal behavior technician are afraid. They exist in a frightened, self-preservation mode, always looking for the dangers that they know are there. Usually these issues occur because of an organic chemical imbalance in their brains and/or life experiences that have been traumatic to them. It is important to focus on the words “traumatic to them.” If we want to help, we have to see the world through their eyes, not our own. For example, maybe that big green trash can that fell over as they walked by didn’t seem to be such a horrible experience to us, but when an animal is already fearful — and then an object they don’t understand “attacks” them — it can seem very traumatic. When this happens, their human owners are often terrified that they’ve done something wrong to cause the problem. Most often, however, that is not the case. While there is almost always something we can teach these owners to do differently, it is unlikely that they “caused” the problem. These things just happen. It is a part of life. Our job, if you choose this field, is to simply try and get everyone happily beyond whatever that problem is.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Want to choose the best food for your
pet? Here's why you shouldn't fear
preservatives or fall for marketing…
Electronic cigarettes may be growing in
popularity, but their higher concentrations
of nicotine can poison cats and…
Are you handling your pet the right way?
Our vet shares five things your pup wishes
you knew about picking him up.
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
The laid-back American Wirehair’s crimped, coarse coat requires almost no brushing or combing.
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.