When your pet comes into the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center, an entire team of experienced, compassionate veterinary professionals is on hand to give them the highest quality care. While our entire tight-knit group is composed of talented individuals, we’d like to highlight our veterinary technicians during National Veterinary Technician Week, which begins October 11. These highly skilled team members play an integral role in caring for your furry pal, working tirelessly to provide nursing care in exam rooms, laboratories, treatment areas, and surgical suites. We know you’ve met our veterinary technicians, and your family veterinarian’s techs during your pet’s appointments, but you may not know much behind the job title. Take an in-depth look at these veterinary team superstars, and learn some surprising facts. 

#1: Our veterinary technicians undergo extensive schooling

Not anyone can call themselves a veterinary technician. To become a fully credentialed, licensed veterinary technician in Washington, you must graduate from an accredited veterinary technology program, or graduate from a non-accredited program and gain full-time experience for 36 months. After graduation, you must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE), which consists of 170 multiple-choice questions—and you are not yet considered a licensed vet tech in Washington. You must still successfully complete the Washington state jurisprudence examination, HIV and AIDS training, and a background check before you can finally call yourself a licensed veterinary technician (LVT). 

#2: Our veterinary technicians never stop learning better ways to care for your pet

After two or more years of college education, you’d think an LVT would be done with schooling, right? Wrong. To maintain their licenses and ensure they care for your furry family member with the most current, innovative protocols, our LVTs must undertake 20 hours of continuing education every two years. Some areas in which our LVTs can attain continuing education credits include:

  • Anesthesia and pain management
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Behavior
  • Disease management
  • Diagnostic testing and sample collection
  • Nursing care
  • Surgical monitoring and assisting
  • Practice management
  • Client communication
  • Parasitology
  • Dermatology

With so many exciting areas, LVTs can also continue their training in a certain aspect of veterinary medicine and pursue their specialization, an incredible accomplishment that often requires at least four years of dedication to their chosen specialty.

#3: Our veterinary technicians provide gold-standard nursing care to your pet

In the veterinary world, vet techs are the equivalent of human nurses, providing your pet with all the nursing care they need, including comforting, cleaning, and caring for them during their stay at our hospital. Vet techs also play an important role in discussing treatment plans with veterinarians, administering medications, and coercing your pet to eat and recover. At any point during their shift, you may discover our LVTs performing the following tasks:

  • Creating an anesthetic protocol for your pet
  • Monitoring your pet’s vital signs while under anesthesia
  • Assisting with surgery
  • Ensuring your pet is comfortable, clean, and pain-free during recovery
  • Administering medications and fluid therapy
  • Providing proper nutrition and ensuring your pet is hydrated
  • Collecting samples and performing diagnostic tests
  • Taking X-rays
  • Assisting our veterinarians with exams and treatments
  • Discussing pet care with owners
  • Monitoring patient comfort and health status, and alerting our veterinarian to problems

This lengthy list contains but a few of the daily tasks our LVTs tackle each day to ensure your best friend returns to you happy and healthy. 

#4: Our veterinary technicians love and worry about your pet as much as you do

While this fact likely doesn’t surprise you, it highlights how devoted vet techs are to their patients. They celebrate when you welcome a new puppy or kitten into your family, they worry during surgery and hospitalization, their hearts sink when they hear a cancer diagnosis, and they cry as they hold your hand as your beloved pet slips away. A love for animals and their families is the underlying reason every veterinary professional enters this field, but veterinary technicians have to be incredibly tough, yet kind-hearted, compassionate souls, to handle the ups and downs associated with veterinary medicine.

Now that you know about the talents, devotion, and TLC our veterinary technicians bring to the table each and every day, you can rest assured your furry friend is in excellent hands. If your pet suffers from an emergency situation or requires an internal medicine referral to our hospital, contact our Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center team, and meet your pet’s champion caregivers first-hand.