Loving Family Animal Hospital’s veterinary team wouldn’t be complete without our devoted veterinary technicians. These animal advocates can be seen scurrying around every part of our hospital caring for patients. A veterinary technician is not just someone who loves animals; she is an educated, well-trained, vital part of our veterinary health care team who truly cares about your pet. Our August blog post spotlighted our veterinarians, and this month, we want to share the dedication and hard work it takes to be a veterinary technician. 

Preparing for veterinary technician school

Like our veterinarians, Loving Family veterinary technicians recognized their love for animals at an early age. Although a few of them started down different career paths, their dedication to animals brought them back to their passion. Aside from caring for their own pets as children, many veterinary technicians worked as assistants in veterinary hospitals, boarding facilities, or shelters before pursuing a formal education in animal care. Veterinary assistants perform basic animal care tasks, such as cleaning cages, feeding, walking dogs, restraining animals for procedures, and administering medications. 

Future veterinary technicians are typically intrigued by science and math, and have a particular interest in biology and anatomy in high school. They have a desire to understand how disease processes affect the animals they love, and how they can help support their recovery. Although many students enter a veterinary technician training program soon after high school, people of all ages and backgrounds can pursue a veterinary technician degree.      

Veterinary technician training

Veterinary technicians are credentialed veterinary professionals who have completed an associate’s degree in veterinary technology from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited college program and passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Admission into most veterinary technician programs is selective, and applicants must have strong high school grades, particularly in math and science classes. Many programs require applicants to spend a specific number of shadow hours in a veterinary hospital to ensure they understand that being a veterinary technician includes much more than playing with pets. 

Veterinary technician programs range in length from 18 months to several years, and are quite rigorous in nature. Class work includes courses such as:

  • Animal anatomy and physiology
  • Veterinary medical terminology
  • Veterinary medical math and dosage calculations 
  • Animal restraint and handling
  • Animal nutrition
  • Pharmacology
  • Anesthesia
  • Radiography
  • Clinical nursing
  • Surgical nursing
  • Office procedures
  • Parasitology
  • Hematology
  • Laboratory procedures

Near the end of their education, veterinary technician students complete an internship at a veterinary hospital to gain valuable clinical experience that will help them prepare for their career. A graduate of a veterinary technician program is not considered a certified veterinary technician (CVT) in the state of Colorado until they pass the VTNE and apply for registration with the state licensing board. The VTNE is a highly competitive exam that tests graduates’ competency to ensure they have the knowledge required to care for your beloved pet. 

Finally doing what they love

After school, veterinary technicians settle into hospitals to enjoy caring for pets. Although veterinary technicians are often compared to human nurses, the job of a veterinary technician encompasses duties of many different human health care professionals. On a daily basis, you can see our veterinary technicians performing tasks such as:

  • Taking medical histories from pet owners
  • Assisting our veterinarians with physical exams
  • Collecting specimens, such as blood, urine, and feces
  • Performing laboratory tests, such as fecal analysis, blood evaluation, and urine testing
  • Anesthetizing patients for surgical procedures
  • Assisting our veterinarians during sterile surgical procedures
  • Taking X-rays of patients
  • Calculating drug dosages and packaging patient prescriptions 
  • Performing routine dental cleanings on anesthetized pets
  • Educating owners about their pet’s medical condition or how to administer treatments
  • Comforting sick patients

Our veterinary technicians do all this and more with a smile because they truly love caring for pets.  They are an invaluable part of the team that keeps our hospital running smoothly, and we couldn’t care for your pet without them. They have devoted their lives to compassionately caring for pets—large, small, furry, feathered, and scaly—and we think they’re pretty special. 

Stop by to say hello to our veterinary technicians and help us show our appreciation for all they do for your pet. If you have questions about what it takes to be a veterinary technician, contact us.