In today’s growing veterinary care sector, becoming a vet tech can be an excellent way to enter a well paying and secure professional career. Because many individuals hold the well-being of their beloved companion animals in the same light they would any other family member ensures that vet techs are not only well compensated, but they are also respected by their colleagues and the general public alike.
However, vet techs must undertake a variety of duties that can be difficult and require a high degree of knowledge and skill to effectively carry out.
In addition, vet techs must be able to function in an environment that can sometimes be professionally and emotionally stressful.
Because of this, individuals considering a career in veterinary technology should be prepared for the more difficult duties a vet tech may be required to perform.
Vet Techs and Professional Responsibilities
A vet tech has a wide range of professional duties, some that will be more difficult than others. In many cases, a vet tech must be prepared to work quickly in high stress situations in order to provide effective care to those animals he or she is treating. In addition, a vet tech must be able to relay accurate information to the supervising veterinarian and other veterinary professionals in order to ensure that a proper diagnosis and course of treatment can be developed for the animal.
Emergency Veterinary Care
One of the most difficult duties a vet tech will have is providing emergency and critical care for an animal. In many cases, a vet tech will be the first individual to see an injured animal and so will have to provide the emergency care that will keep the injured animal alive until the veterinarian can provide long-term care.
This often requires that the vet tech quickly identify the most critical injuries and act to immediately stabilize the animal. Because veterinary emergencies are always time-critical events, the vet tech must be prepared to make quick decisions when deciding what types of first aid to administer to the animal.
In addition, even while the vet tech is providing emergency care to the animal, he or she must also be making accurate records of every action taken to assist the animal, what injuries it has and any unusual symptoms it displays.
The supervising veterinarian will use this record, in combination with his or her observations, to determine the nature of the animal’s injuries and how best to proceed.
Finally, during an emergency the vet tech may be required to work with the animal’s owners. This often involves interviewing distraught individuals, which requires that the vet tech have a professional, yet caring attitude. Most importantly, the vet tech must be able to quickly obtain the needed information from these individuals in order to ensure that the animal can receive the best treatment possible.
Working with Angry or Injured Animals
Another difficult part of a vet tech’s duties is working with injured or ill animals and helping to immobilize them so that the veterinarian can carry out his or her treatment.
This can be very difficult when working with larger animals, or animals that are aggressive or frightened. In this case, the vet tech has three important goals.
The first is to safeguard the veterinary staff that is working around the animal, ensuring that the animal cannot bite or claw any of the workers. The second is to ensure that the animal’s restraints do not harm it or aggravate any pre-existing injuries.
Finally, the animal must be restrained in a way that allows the vet to carry out his or her examination or treatment.
Finally, due to the wide range of animals a veterinarian may treat, the vet tech must be prepared to handle a variety of situations. Immobilizing a domestic cat or dog will require different techniques than safely immobilizing a horse or other large animal.
For this reason, vet techs must practice a wide range of techniques in order to be able to quickly and effectively prepare a hostile animal for examination and treatment.
Continuing Education Requirements
In addition, vet techs who are licensed or currently hold a certification with a professional veterinary technician association must obtain continuing education (CE) units in order to maintain their license or certification. In most cases, these CE units must be obtained from an accredited educational institution. Because of this, vet techs must put somewhat more effort into maintaining their professional status than other employees will.
In addition, vet techs who have chosen to become certified as a specialist in a National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) recognized field must obtain additional continuing education courses in order to maintain their specialist certification.
Emotional and Personal Job Stresses
While vet techs serve a vital role in the field of veterinary medicine and are well respected by their peers and the public alike, this profession can expose a vet tech to considerable professional and personal stress. This is especially true for vet techs that interact with the owners of injured or ill pets on a regular basis.
Depending on where a vet tech works, he or she may be forced to work overtime. This is especially likely in small practices where a sudden influx of animals or increase in employee absenteeism will result in unexpected overtime. While vet techs are compensated for overtime, they may find that regular overtime can lead to unwelcome stress in their personal life, especially if they are married or have children.
Working with Pet Owners
In addition, vet techs will often find themselves interacting with pet owners. Especially in the case of severely ill or injured pets, the vet tech may have to work to calm a distraught owner down so important information can be obtained. In addition, many vet techs find working with pet owners to be emotionally exhausting, especially as they must present a calm and reassuring demeanor at all time. This can be especially trying if the vet tech is working with pets that are owned or associated with younger children.
The most emotionally trying part of a vet tech’s duties can be assisting with the euthanasia of an ill, injured or elderly pet. While euthanasia is often the kindest choice for a pet that is suffering from an incurable condition, it is usually traumatizing for the owner of the pet.
The vet tech, in cooperation with the supervising veterinarian, often plays a major role in discussing the option of euthanasia with the owner, as well as comforting them before, during and after the process. Furthermore, the vet tech may feel guilty about being unable to treat the pet, even if there was no other option. Because of this, euthanasia can result in great personal stress for a vet tech.
Ultimately, vet techs enjoy a field that provides them with excellent salary and professional opportunities, while also enjoying the respect of their coworkers and clients alike. However, this is a field that can also involve both professional and personal stress. Because of that, it is important that anyone thinking of becoming a vet tech fully investigate the field when deciding whether or not it would be a wise career choice.
Those who are uncertain should speak with local vet techs, veterinarians and other veterinary professionals in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the professional and personal world vet techs work in. After doing so, an individual can make a well-informed decision about his or her future career in veterinary technology.