Veterinary technicians have many different roles and responsibilities within the animal clinic. My days are always different, and I love getting to meet so many different people and wonderful animals!
I unlock the clinic and start my day with a big cup of coffee, so I am prepared for any craziness that comes. The phones inevitably start ringing within 5 minutes of opening time with many different types of phones calls. I need to be prepared for anything from simply booking appointments to dealing with worried callers about sick animals. My training allows me to know what questions to ask in these situations to figure out the severity of the situation, give educated advice and schedule in emergency appointments.
I look at all the blood results that come in overnight from the laboratory and sort them out, looking at which ones need to be brought to the doctors’ attention when they first get to the clinic. My training allows me to read these reports and know what is normal and what is not!
We run many different types of surgeries in the mornings, and I set up for these procedures first thing. Everything from spaying and neutering to dentistry and tumour removals needs specific set ups, and it is up to the veterinary technician to ensure everything is prepared. I test the anesthetic machines to make sure there are no leaks, fill them safely with gas anesthetic and make sure they are set up for the appropriately sized animal. I prepare endotracheal tubes, intravenous fluids, catheters, surgical packs, gowns, gloves, turn the oxygen and scavenge system on and prepare comfortable areas for the surgery patients to stay with us for the day.
I handle the admissions of the animals in the morning, going over the plan with their sometimes very anxious owners! Sometimes the procedures are simple but sometimes they are complex, and I need to understand what will be involved in order to explain procedures accurately to the owners.
Once the doctors have arrived and have examined the surgical patients, I calculate all of their drug dosages and draw up their medications. I also administer their injections and monitor their level of sedation. My advanced training allows me to do these calculations and administer medications safely and accurately. I intubate, shave and prepare the surgical sites in a sterile manner while making sure the patient is at an appropriate level of anesthesia. While the doctor is performing the surgery, I am responsible for the safety of the patient, monitoring all vital signs to ensure everything is going well. When the surgery is over, I monitor the animals’ recovery, making sure there are no complications during this critical time. My education has prepared me for these critical roles, and I feel confident and comfortable in my abilities to keep the pets in my care stable and safe!
Once morning surgeries are over, there is a slew of other jobs I am responsible for. Pulling and writing in files, unpacking food deliveries, calling clients with results, sending reminders, etc. usually, get done over the lunch hour. It is very rare that we get to sit down and take a break as the phones are always ringing and there are always things needing to be done.
I help with appointments, putting patients in rooms, taking a history for the doctor, and helping with any treatments and procedures that need to be done. I use the microscope to look at samples and help the doctor make diagnoses. I dispense medications, log drugs, clean exam rooms, take your dog for a walk, give it some lunch, take its blood and clean up its poop! It is a frequent occurrence that I need to change into my spare set of scrubs.
My job is technical, messy, varied and busy and I need to be prepared for all of this and more. It is hard, and I love it. And I try to do it all with a smile on my face ☺
Written by Nat Sacks, RVT.