Veterinary technicians can be found working in many different areas of animal clinics and hospitals including reception areas, examination rooms, laboratories, surgical rooms and pharmacies.
Pharmacy-related tasks are extremely important as this is where all of the life-saving medications are kept.
While it is the veterinarian’s job to prescribe medication and its dosages, it is the veterinary technician’s responsibility to dispense medication and print the labels for medicine bottles and boxes.
It goes without saying that it is vital that labels contain the correct information and are matched with the proper medication.
Each label should contain the pet’s name, its owner’s name and the date that the medication was dispensed. Under this information, the label should clearly state the name of the medication, its strength, expiration date, dosage instructions and any warnings that may be applicable.
While some veterinary facilities have automated counters for pills, many of them do not.
As such, the vet tech will need to carefully count the prescribed medication before placing it in the proper bottles.
Since any discrepancies can result in very sick animals, it is recommended that the label and medication is double or even triple-checked to ensure that everything is correct.
At times, the veterinarian may prescribe medication that the facility is out of or does not normally carry. In these situations, the veterinary technician will need to call the prescription in to another facility’s pharmacy.
However, before calling in any prescriptions, the vet tech must double-check the information on the prescription.
Additionally, in many cases, there may be various types of controlled drugs kept in veterinary pharmacies. These types of drugs should always be kept locked in a secure location and should only be accessible to the veterinarian and the vet tech who is in charge of medications.
Furthermore, it is essential for vet techs to maintain detailed logs whenever dispensing controlled drugs. Typically, information that should be logged includes the amount of the drug dispensed, the person dispensing the drug, the date the drug was dispensed and the client who received the drug. Medication shortages must be reported to the veterinarian immediately.
Although usage instructions should be included on the labels of all medication packages, it is still a good idea to explain the directions to clients before they go home. In addition to explaining how to give the medicine and when to administer it, the vet tech should also explain how the medication will help the pets.
For example, antibiotics will help cure infections but must be taken for the full 10 days as prescribed by the vet.
Another example is that pain medication can alleviate a pet’s pain or discomfort, but it will likely make the animal sleep more than usual. This is the type of information that vet techs must be prepared to offer to pet owners.
Veterinary technicians are responsible for many important tasks including properly labeling and dispensing medication for clients’ pets.
It is crucial that these tasks are taken seriously as any discrepancies, no matter how small, can cause serious harm to a client’s precious pet.