Veterinary technicians play an important role in helping to keep animals happy and healthy.
These professionals can be found working in many different environments including veterinary clinics, research facilities, zoos and animal shelters.
Those who choose to work in animal shelters are responsible for a large number of tasks such as those discussed below.
Cleaning and Sterilizing
Depending on the facility that veterinary technicians may choose to work in, they may need to perform various cleaning and basic care duties.
This can include such things as feeding animals, bathing them, and cleaning cages and exercise pens. It may also involve cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment, and keeping other areas of the facility clean and tidy.
Administering Medication and Vaccinations
One of the primary jobs of vet techs working in shelters is to administer various medications and vaccinations to animals.
In some cases, it may be necessary for them to vaccinate or medicate dozens of animals during the day. They will also need to keep records of the vaccinations and medication that each animal receives.
Since many animals in shelters can be difficult to handle, vet techs may need assistance when administering vaccinations or medication to them. For medicine that is in pill or liquid form, mixing it with a tasty treat is a standard method that shelter vet techs use to get animals to take the medication.
Performing Laboratory Tests
Many animals that come into shelters were strays. As such, the shelter staff has little to no information in regards to their medical histories.
Additionally, many of them come in malnourished and sick. What this means is that the vet tech will need to perform various lab tests on these animals to help the vet determine what may be wrong with them.
This process typically involves such procedures as drawing blood, performing skin scrapings, and collecting fecal or urine samples. By performing these tests, the staff can find out if animals are suffering from such health issues as manage, hookworms, tapeworms, heartworms, anemia, leukemia or parvovirus.
Assisting with Emergencies
Not only do animal shelters receive many malnourished and sick animals, but they receive a large number of animals that have been injured as well. In some cases, these injuries can be quite severe and even fatal. As such, veterinary technicians working in shelters must always be prepared for the unexpected.
Some of the emergency situations vet techs may encounter while on the job include animals hit by cars, animals injured by traps and animal cruelty cases.
Furthermore, many shelters take in wild and farm animals in addition to common household pets. In the event of an emergency, it is the vet tech’s responsibility to assist the veterinarian in any way necessary.
One of the hardest tasks veterinary technicians must perform in animal shelters is euthanasia. While there are some no-kill shelters scattered across the country, most facilities simply do not have the room or the budget to handle all of the animals they receive each day of the year.
For this reason, most shelters must perform euthanasia on any animals that have been housed in the shelter for a specified amount of time. Performing this procedure regularly can take a serious emotional toll on vet techs. However, there simply are no other feasible alternatives at present.
Educating New Owners
An important responsibility of shelter vet techs is to educate new pet owners on proper care for their newly acquired pets.
This can include many issues such as an animal’s unique needs, proper diets, grooming, and housebreaking. However, they will also want to advise new pet owners on when to schedule checkups for their pets, how to clean their pets’ teeth and when their pets will need any vaccinations.
Shelter veterinarians are responsible for the well-being of hundreds of animals every day. This is not an easy job for them to handle on their own.
However, with the valuable help of veterinary technicians, veterinarians are able to meet their goals.
By performing such tasks as cleaning kennels, restraining animals and assisting during surgeries, vet techs are essential in helping veterinarians remain on schedule.