Veterinary technician with dog

Like any good veterinarian, I know there’s no one I’d rather work with than a great veterinary technician.

So many stories I could tell, but I’ll share just one, because for me it says so much:

I was in an exam room at the North Idaho Veterinary Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho, with a pet, the pet’s owner and Brenda, one of the experienced veterinary technicians at the practice. From the room on the other side of the wall came a cry from someone else’s pet. The animal was coming out of anesthesia, confused and frightened, and as I glanced up at the person in the room with me, I could see the alarm and concern.

Brenda saw it, too, and before I could say a word, she stepped up.

A Caring Presence

She explained to the concerned client that the animal in seeming distress was actually OK, and that the pet was waking up on a heated thermal pad and was being closely monitored. And then as if on cue, we could hear the metal cage door open, and the muffled voice of someone warm and caring letting the pet know all was well. The pet’s crying calmed as the soothing voice continued, and the pet-owner in the room with us smiled.

Even as I returned to the examination of the pet before me, I marveled at the skill of the woman beside me, at how Brenda had understood the concern of pet owner in the room with us, and how well she explained not only what was going on with the crying animal but also what would happen next. She knew another technician as caring as she would be on the other side of that wall to help.

And just like that, I was reminded not only of the skill of the veterinarian technicians I’ve been blessed to have as my co-workers, but also of the compassionate nature that seems a given in the profession.

The Role of Veterinary Technicians

This week, National Veterinary Technician Week, is when we pause to celebrate the wonderful technicians veterinarians rely on. But really, veterinarians know that a week could never be enough, so much do we owe our veterinary technicians.

Consider …

They are the pet whisperers who soothe an anxious cat or dog in an exam room, who always have a kind word and a sweet snuggle for an animal in the waiting area, exam room or surgery. 

They are the skilled nurses who insert IVs, wrap wounds, clean teeth and monitor anesthesia

They are the first responders who are always in the front lines to help animals when there’s a disaster.

But more than any of those things, veterinary technicians are without a doubt the glue that holds veterinary medicine together, and the oil that makes all the parts work together smoothly. Highly trained, highly skilled and highly committed, veterinary technicians handle the care of animals and the education of pet owners. They are skilled surgical nurses and keen diagnosticians, savvy handlers of all kinds and sizes of animals, and of pet owners and veterinarians alike. No good veterinarian takes for granted the contributions of a great veterinary technician. I know I sure don’t.

To Honor and Respect

When it comes to helping an animal in my care, I long ago learned to respect the contributions of the veterinary technicians. I ask them what they see and what they think, and I listen carefully to what they tell me. Ours is a relationship built on mutual respect.

What does this week mean to you? I ask that you acknowledge the contributions of the veterinary technicians who care for and about your pets. Take a minute to say "thank you."

Because I promise you, as a veterinarian, we give thanks for veterinary technicians every day.

To learn more about veterinary technicians, check out all of our coverage of National Veterinary Technician Week.