The joy of working in veterinary medicine

Dr. Cynthia Maro

I have an amazing and very rewarding job! As a veterinarian, I not only have the satisfaction of working in a field that provides meaningful work and care to support animal and human health, but I also have the honor of working with some of the most generous humans and the most humble that I know, the veterinary technicians. .

The veterinary support team and the veterinary technicians (LVT, CVT or veterinary care personnel) are the pillars of veterinary medicine. They enable veterinarians to effectively treat companion animals, farm animals, wildlife, exotic animals, laboratory animals, fish, birds and zoo animals.

The week of October 16-22 marks National Veterinary Technicians Week. Why do we have this week?

That’s because an organization called NAVTA, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, decided decades ago that the public should have an exemplary standard of care for their animals. This organization promotes the training and advancement of veterinary technicians and helps veterinarians get the help they need to serve many animals and their families.

Public awareness and recognition of staff for the vital care they provide has elevated the estate to a highly respected career, with competitive pay, which allows all of us to better appreciate and understand the animal world.

Veterinary technicians attend AVMA-accredited technical colleges and programs

LVTs are the equivalent of RNs in human health care. They receive extensive training in science, veterinary medicine, anatomy, medication administration, and client communication in the classroom and through day schools, then pass a board examination in the state where they practice. This exam is similar to the exam a nurse takes before entering clinical practice.

After passing the exam, they receive a license through their state’s Veterinary Licensing Board. They must maintain their license through regular continuing education programs and by adhering to animal care laws, the use of pharmaceuticals, the FDA, and their state’s practice law guidelines.

LVTs in AP may perform duties in large and small animal treatment veterinary facilities, zoos, human and animal health research, that go beyond assisting a veterinarian. Their salaries are often between ¼ and ½ of those of their equivalents in human health.

Often these professionals do not receive the recognition and expressions of gratitude that would make their work more rewarding, despite the fact that they act as X-ray technician, laboratory technician, surgical nurse, examination room assistant, chairside dental, CT operator, Ozone administrator, advisor, assistant, friend of animals and their humans, pharmacy technician and more.

Explore the domain

If you think you’d like to explore working in the veterinary field, I suggest shadowing at veterinary clinics to see what veterinary assistants, technicians, and front desk staff do on their busiest and most diverse days. . Then you can speak with the staff about programs available near us that can lead to obtaining a veterinary technician license.

And if you’ve been helped by a vet tech or team, here are some great ways to show your appreciation during vet tech appreciation week (or whenever you visit the vet).

Pet owners can show their appreciation to veterinary staff:

  • Thank you cards and notes, noting specific examples of how staff helped you
  • Send healthy snacks to the clinic, fruits, vegetables, edible arrangements and appetizers (staff often work during their lunches and breaks)
  • Baked goods, in particular homemade items
  • For veterinarians and large animal technicians, offer Grab n Go food and drink they can eat on the go

What owners can do to help veterinary staff have a less stressful day:

  • Arrive on time for appointments, with past records in hand
  • When time is tight, let the staff know when scheduling that you will need to be out at a specific time (don’t show up late and expect to be finished within 10 minutes)
  • Email or call two days before you expect your prescription refills
  • Tell staff ALL concerns when scheduling, so they can allocate enough time for your pet’s appointment
  • Know what your budget for care is and take responsibility for the limits of your budget – be upfront and don’t blame staff if you can’t afford all the recommended care.
  • Grant everyone grace and kindness within the clinic for the occasional time when they seem stressed, as they may have just faced an emotional situation prior to your visit. Euthanizing pets, calls from other team members, understaffing, and extra appointments can all lead to additional stress. LVTs and support staff provide compassionate care to customers and pets, out of love and kindness. Your appreciation and respectful treatment helps make every day more beautiful and will help create a great Vet Tech Week for the Vet Techs you choose to honor!

Dr. Cynthia Maro is a veterinarian at Ellwood Veterinary Hospital in Ellwood City and Chippewa Veterinary Hospital in Chippewa Township. She writes a bi-weekly column on pet care and health issues. If you have a topic you would like to discuss, email [email protected]

If you have stories of veterinary office workers who went above and beyond to help you and your pets, we’d love to hear about them. You can send the stories to Dr. Maro at [email protected] or [email protected]

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