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What does a regular work day look like as a Vet Tech?

#veterinary-technician #veterinary-medicine

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Elizabeth F’s Answer

Hello Bethany!

It doesn't look like you have gotten any answers so I can give you a little information. I am a veterinarian, not a vet tech, but I work with many RVTs so I can tell you what they do in a day, but not necessarily how they see it.

Much of this will depend on the type of practice you work in. A general practice is usually open during the day, sometimes into the evening, and sometimes weeknds. Many emergency clinics are open from 5PM to 8AM, and all weekend. Specialty hospitals may be open 24 hours a day and may have busy emergency departments too.

Your shift will start with checking on any animals that are in the hospital. If it's a small clinic, the tech may be feeding, cleaning cages, and giving medications, while in a large hospital, the kennel attendants may do the feeding/cleaning (but really everybody helps with cleaning throughout the day). This happens before appointments begin, so the first shift may start really early. Then you may have rounds, where everybody checks in on how the animals are doing, which treatments have been done , and what the day looks like - who has which appointments, which surgeries, which technician will work with which doctor, who gets lunch breaks when, etc. Then the day "begins"! Clients bring their pets in, and the technicians usually do the first examination - (getting the weight, asking about the animal's history, checking the temp and pulse, etc) and record that for the veterinarian. Technicians hold the animals for the veterinarian to examine, they give vaccinations, get blood samples for lab work, do bandage changes, perform radiographs ("X-rays"), help with anaesthesia and surgery, perform dental cleanings, give medications, and help explain the doctor's instructions (like medications, exercise plans, when to come back, etc) to the clients when the appointment is done.

There are some mobile practices - many large animal doctors and also small animal doctors will go to the client's house/barn/farm to see patients. You will ride along, hold animals, help with examinations and procedures, clean up, etc. In equine practices this will involve some running - to examine a horse with a lameness problem, we need to have them jog back and forth. i know some equine technicians who are runners and are super fit!

Days can be crazy busy sometimes - depending on how many doctors, technicians, exam rooms, and surgery tables the practice has. Sometimes a "routine" appointment turns out to be really serious or complicated. Some days are happy days with healthy puppies and kitten appointments, and some days are sad days, but most often a mix.

You need to be a bit of a people person, even though we work on animals - you would be one of the first people that sees the clients, and also one of the last, helping to explain their pet's care. In the back, it is important to be a team player, so that everything that needs to get done gets done.


Elizabeth F recommends the following next steps:

Check out veterinary technician programs in your area. You can find out what their requirements are and how to apply.
Check the state board information about veterinary technicians. In CA, you can see the requirements for RVT licensing at https://vmb.ca.gov/applicants/rvt_checklist.pdf
Depending on what grade/year you are in school, but you can ask veterinary clinics in your area about shadowing or volunteering. (hint - if they have a volunteer program, SHOW UP!!! and dress professionally - neat slacks and a polo shirt or scrub top if you have one.)
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Bethany,

Here's an engaging glimpse into the dynamic workday of a Veterinary Technician, which is packed with an array of tasks that assist the veterinarian in delivering top-notch medical care to animals:

Morning:

Kick-start your day by arriving early at the clinic or hospital to get things ready. You might be setting up examination rooms, prepping instruments and equipment, and going over patient charts.

Lend a hand to veterinarians during appointments and procedures. This could mean measuring vital signs, giving medications, and aiding in restraining animals during check-ups or treatments.

Carry out diagnostic tests. As a Veterinary Technician, you're skilled in conducting various lab tests like blood tests, urinalysis, and X-rays, which are crucial in helping veterinarians pinpoint illnesses and injuries.

Get animals ready for surgery. This could imply shaving the surgical area, giving anesthesia, and keeping a watchful eye on the animal during the operation.

Afternoon:

Keep assisting with surgeries or other procedures as required. Post-surgery, Veterinary Technicians are key in the animal's recovery. This could mean tracking their vital signs, giving pain relief medication, and offering post-operative care.

Offer nursing care to animals in the hospital. As a Veterinary Technician, you might be tasked with feeding animals, giving medications, and tracking their progress during their hospital stay.

Educate pet owners on animal care. Veterinary Technicians frequently engage with pet owners during visits and procedures, offering advice on areas such as nutrition, grooming, and behavior training.

Carry out dental cleanings or other routine procedures. Dental care is a vital aspect of preventative veterinary medicine, and Veterinary Technicians are trained to perform dental cleanings and other related procedures.

Evening:

Get ready for the next day by replenishing supplies, tidying up examination rooms and equipment, and updating patient charts.

Give medications or treatments to animals that need overnight care. Some animals might require close monitoring post-surgery or after receiving certain treatments, so Veterinary Technicians might need to work late to ensure they get the right care.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association Source: Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

May God be with you!
JC.
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