If you are like many other people, when you think of veterinary technicians, you probably picture them working in such settings as animal clinics or hospitals.
However, there are many other places where vet techs can work including animal sanctuaries, wildlife parks and wildlife rehabilitation centers.
While some of the tasks that wildlife vet techs perform are quite similar to those performed by other veterinary technicians, the main difference between these vet techs compared to others is the type of animals they work with.
Whereas other vet techs work with household pets or animals held in captivity, wildlife vet techs work with animals that live naturally in the wild such as deer, foxes, wolves and owls.
Just as with any other type of veterinary technician, those who choose to work with wildlife must complete a veterinary technology program and earn at least an associate degree. However, they will also need to take various wildlife classes such as those that are listed below.
- Issues in Environmental Stability
- Exotic Animal Studies
- Introduction to Wildlife
- Habitat and its Relation to Wildlife
- Avian and Mammalian Studies
- Wildlife Care I and II
- Wildlife Nutrition
- Legislation and Wildlife
- Field Techniques
- Reptile and Amphibian Husbandry
- Offences Against Wildlife
Wildlife vet techs work closely with both veterinarians and wildlife caretakers to provide medical care to animals in the wild. Depending on the circumstances, care may be administered to animals in their natural habitat or within protective enclosures.
While the responsibilities of wildlife vet techs may vary depending upon their employer, some of their most common responsibilities are as follows.
- Restraining Animals During Examinations and Procedures
- Performing and Developing X-rays
- Administering Anesthesia, IV Fluids, Injections and Medications
- Assisting During Surgery
- Prepping Animals for Surgery
- Maintaining Medical Equipment
- Taking, Recording and Monitoring Vital Signs
- Drawing Blood and Collecting Other Samples
- Performing Laboratory Tests
- Controlling and Ordering Inventory
- Helping Capture, Transport and Release Animals
- Tranquilizing Animals
- Feeding Animals and Cleaning Enclosures
Working with any type of animal can be risky; however, working with wild animals can be particularly dangerous. Additionally, some of the animals that wildlife vet techs work with are quite large. As such, if you choose this profession, you must be very strong, in good health and have quick reflexes.
As a wildlife vet tech, you must be able to adapt to a variety of work settings. These professionals spend much of their time administering care in such settings as forests, fields and large enclosures. While some of your work may be conducted in an office or clinic-type environment, most of it will not.
Although positions in wildlife veterinary technology are highly competitive today, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of gaining employment in the field.
First of all, it is highly recommended for you to enroll in all or some of the classes listed above. Other things that will look favorable on your resume are as follows.
- Internships with Wildlife Facilities
- Volunteer Work at Wildlife Facilities
- Farm Work that Involved Large Animals
Wildlife veterinary technology is an exciting field that offers a variety of work environments. If you choose to work in this field, you must be in good health and prepared to handle many different animals in their natural habitats.
While positions in this field are quite competitive, you can increase your chances of employment by obtaining as much experience and training as possible.