Modern veterinary care has increasingly come to resemble the kind of medical care a fully equipped municipal hospital offers a human.
With everything from advanced MRI systems to fully equipped surgical departments, the modern veterinarian can offer a vast range of services to help the treasured pets of his or her clients.
Due to this, an increasing number of pets have various surgical procedures performed on them, requiring veterinary technician specialties in anesthesia and related fields.
The Importance of Veterinary Anesthesia
In order to reduce the discomfort of animals during surgical procedures, a veterinarian technician specializing in anesthesia administers the anesthetic, observes its effects, and monitors the condition of the animal before, during and after the surgical procedure.
The responsibilities of the veterinary anesthesiologist include the following:
- The technician must monitor the condition of the animal during the medical procedure, and ensure that the animal feels no discomfort during the procedure.
- He or she must determine the proper dosage for animals of widely varying weights and many different species.
- The veterinary technician must observe the animal during the procedure for any signs of unexpected allergic reactions to the anesthetic drugs being used.
- The animal must be monitored after the procedure to ensure that that the anesthetic drugs do not cause any long-term difficulties.
- If other drugs are used, the technician must determine how they will interact with the chosen anesthetic, and inform the surgeon and other personnel of any potential drug interactions that must be avoided.
- He or she must instruct fellow veterinary technicians on any medical needs that animals will have after the anesthetics wear off.
In addition to these duties, the veterinary anesthesiologist must also understand how the drugs interact with a wide variety of animal species.
Depending on the species, certain drugs may be useless or even harmful.
In other cases, differences in size and metabolism within the same species may require different types of medication to be administered in order to ensure the safety and comfort of the animal during the procedure.
This is especially important given the wide variety of exotic pets that can require treatment.
For procedures where the animal is to be returned home while still under the effects of the anesthetic, the veterinary anesthetic technician will often discuss possible side effects with the pet’s owners, answering any questions they may have about how best to care for their animal.
This is especially important if the after effects of the anesthetic require a modification of the pet’s diet or physical activity.
Becoming a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Anesthesia
A veterinary anesthesiologist requires a great deal of knowledge and training to effectively and safely prepare animals for surgery.
Due to this, they are required to be certified in this field after fulfilling a number of requirements, including work in a vet tech school.
Requirements for Certification
In order to become a veterinary technician specialist in anesthesia, the candidate must successfully complete a number of steps.
These include the following:
- The candidate must be licensed veterinary technician. Alternatively, he or she may have graduated from an approved veterinary technology program.
- A minimum of 4500 hours of anesthesia experience. For a veterinary technician spending all of his or her working time assisting with anesthesia, this will be approximately three years of full time work.
- A case log having no less than 50 cases recorded. As some of these case logs may be rejected, it is actually wise to have more than fifty. These case logs must all come from the year immediately before the candidate seeks to obtain his or her certification.
- Four case histories taken from the above case logs. These are in depth studies of the case, showcasing the candidate’s knowledge and skills in this field.
- At least 40 hours of continuing education relating to the field of anesthesia. These classes must have been taken within five years of application, and must have been taught by an approved and credentialed vet tech school.
- After completing the above steps, the candidate must then pass an examination that demonstrates his or her knowledge of the field of veterinary anesthesiology.
Upon the successful completion of these steps, the candidate will be certified as a veterinary technician specialist in anesthesia, allowing the successful candidate to pursue a career in veterinary anesthesia as a highly qualified worker.
Employment as a Veterinary Technician Specialist
There are a number of employment opportunities for a qualified technician. With the growing importance of providing care of all types for pets and domestic animals, the number of surgical procedures requiring anesthesia continue to increase.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects excellent across the board growth for veterinary technicians of all specialties.
Especially in rural areas, this growth is expected to continue, and in fact accelerate, making the long-term employment prospects very favorable.
Even more importantly, the BLS has also noted that the increase in job opportunities continues to outpace the number of new graduates, ensuring that veterinary technician specialists in anesthesia will continue to be in high demand by new and expanding veterinary practices.
Due to this, it is highly unlikely that this field will become impacted at any point in the foreseeable future.
However becoming a qualified veterinary technician specialist in anesthesia is not simply a gateway to a long-term and secure career.
It is in fact a method of providing a vital service to a community that treasures the well being and comfort of its pets.
Whether for a minor medical procedure, or a major life-saving surgery, anesthesia is a vital part of avoiding unnecessary pain on the part of the animal and assisting the surgeon in completing the surgery.
With the assistance of the veterinary technical specialist, it becomes far more likely that the surgery will be successful and allow these treasured animal companions to return to the side of their owners.