The veterinary field continues to grow, due to the importance many pet owners place on the health and well-being of their animals.
One of the faster-growing segments of this field is the emergency and critical care field, which has led to a growing demand of those veterinary technician specialties that can assist in critical care for pets.
Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care: What Is It?
Critical care for pets is very close to the critical care facilities one finds in conventional hospitals, for immediate, life-threatening conditions that require intensive care and around the clock monitoring.
Among pets, common medical emergencies include the following conditions:
- Ingesting poisons, such as rat poisons or household chemicals, which will require a diagnosis of the chemical in question in order to effectively treat the condition.
- Being hit by a car or truck, which often results in broken bones and trauma to the animal’s internal organs.
- Injuries incurred due to a fight with another animal, domestic or wild. In addition to the physical trauma, the attending veterinarian must be aware of the potential for infection from feral and diseased animals.
- Chemical or fire-related burns.
- Poisoning from snakebites or other venomous creatures, often requiring specialized treatments such as the timely administration of antivenin.
In every case, immediate, high-quality treatment is vital to prevent the pet’s death, while long-term monitoring of the animal’s condition is the key to restoring it to full health.
It is in these cases where a veterinary technician who has specialized in emergency and critical care is vital if tragedy is to be averted.
Emergency and Critical Care
In general, emergency and critical care represents two separate stages in treatment.
The emergency treatment of an injured animal is often concerned with the period immediately after the pet’s arrival.
At this point, it is most important to diagnose the most critical injuries and stabilize the pet for further medical treatment.
As an example, an animal that has been hit by a car would receive treatment designed to stop the immediate bleeding and other life-threatening injuries.
The critical care period is that period after the immediate injury when treatment and supportive care is being provided.
This period of care requires close supervision of the animal, along with extensive medical treatments to cure the underlying condition.
For an animal struck by a car, this would include the securing of broken bones in cases, provision of intravenous feeding and monitoring the overall health of the animal.
In addition, both types of care require the technician to be able to effectively communicate with his or her supervisors, coworkers, and in many cases, the owner or owners of the pet.
The technician must keep clear and concise records and be prepared to make quick decisions based on the changing condition of the animal.
Training For Emergency and Critical Care Veterinary Specialties
When seeking a vet tech school that will assist the student in becoming an emergency veterinary specialist, there are a number of factors that the student must consider.
Among these are the requirements for entry to an emergency and critical care program, as well as the requirements to successfully complete the course and obtain certification as a qualified critical care veterinary technician.
Qualifying for Certification
In order to become a certified emergency and critical care technician the candidate must meet a number of requirements. These include the following:
- The candidate must have graduated from a qualified vet tech school and currently be licensed as a veterinary care technician.
- The student must have three years, or 5760 hours of work experience in the critical care and emergency field, the experience being no more than five years old at the time of application.
- The candidate must have at least 25 hours of education from a licensed and accredited vet tech school, comprising continuing education in the field of veterinary emergency and critical care.
- A folio of no less than 50 cases must be provided. These records must include the nature of the cases, as well as the treatment plans that were carried out and how they relate to the candidate’s veterinary skills.
- The candidate must have at least two letters of recommendation from qualified veterinarians.
Presuming that all of these requirements are met, the candidate may then take the national test.
Upon successfully passing the test, he or she will then be a licensed emergency and critical care veterinarian, and be allowed to work as such.
The Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Emergency and Critical Care Technician
In today’s veterinary field, becoming an emergency and critical care technician can result in dramatically improved career prospects.
Because of the increased emphasis on emergency care for injured pets, a qualified technician can command higher wages and job security in the field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections show much higher than average growth in these veterinary technician specialties when compared to other career areas. This makes a long-term career as an emergency and critical care veterinary technician a very beneficial choice in terms of pay, benefits and long-term employment prospects.
In addition to the career and wage earning prospects, a veterinary emergency and critical care technician serves an important purpose in the community.
By helping to restore treasured pets and companions back to health, the technician not only aids the physical health of the animals under his or her care but contributes to the emotional health of their owners.