A week in October is set aside each year to honor the veterinary technicians who devote their lives to caring for your furry family members. At Belmont Animal Hospital, we appreciate our vet techs every single day—they are your pet’s unsung heroes. Although we may sometimes forget to express our gratitude, in the hustle and bustle of hospital life, we know we could not provide the same exceptional care without them. You have likely seen our vet techs snuggling your pet or whizzing through the hospital, but you may be unaware of the critical tasks they perform behind the scenes. Follow us through a tour of our hospital, and you will likely be surprised at all they do.
Veterinary technicians in the exam room
A veterinary technician typically calls you into an exam room and gathers important information about your pet and the reason for your visit. They take careful notes in your pet’s medical record to help the veterinarian. The vet tech will check your pet’s vitals, taking their heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature to get a cursory overview of their health status, and may listen to their heart and lungs. While the veterinarian performs a more thorough exam, a vet tech will gently restrain your pet to ensure they get the information they need. If the veterinarian prescribes medications for your pet, a vet tech will prepare the prescriptions and ensure you understand how to correctly administer them.
Veterinary technicians in the treatment area
In the central treatment area, our veterinary technicians obtain blood and urine samples from pets, place intravenous (IV) catheters, and perform other minor procedures. Licensed vet techs undergo two to four years of rigorous training, during which they must demonstrate competency in a long list of required skills. After graduating from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited training program, a candidate must pass a challenging national exam to obtain licensure. These hurdles ensure that each licensed veterinary technician (LVT) has the knowledge and skills to properly care for your pet.
Veterinary technicians in the lab
Disease diagnosis depends on the results gained from diagnostic testing, such as urinalysis, blood testing, fecal analysis, and cytology. After they collect the required samples, our veterinary technicians perform important diagnostic tests and report the results to our veterinarians. Vet techs use a microscope to look for parasite eggs in fecal samples, screen ear swab samples for mites, bacteria, and yeast, and evaluate cells aspirated from a pet’s mass for cancer signs. Vet techs also analyze blood samples to detect abnormalities such as infections, anemia, and organ damage.
Veterinary technicians in the radiology room
Our veterinary technicians may be your pet’s superheroes, but they don’t have X-ray vision. They can, however, use an X-ray machine to obtain images of your pet’s internal anatomy to help diagnose problems such as broken bones, gastrointestinal foreign bodies, and heart enlargement. To take X-rays of diagnostic quality, vet techs must know how to adjust various settings on the X-ray unit and exactly position each patient, so our veterinarians can examine the structures in question.
Veterinary technicians in the surgery suite
During surgical procedures, veterinary technicians perform many important duties so the veterinarian can focus on the surgery. To prepare a patient for surgery, a team of vet techs draw up and administer anesthetic drugs, place a breathing tube into the pet’s airway, and maintain the pet at an appropriate anesthesia level throughout the procedure. While one of our veterinarians performs surgery, a vet tech in sterile gear often acts as a second pair of hands, passing instruments, opening suture material, and cutting the suture ends. After each procedure, our vet techs thoroughly clean the surgical instruments, package them, and sterilize them for future use.
Veterinary technicians in the medical wards
When your pet is hospitalized, our veterinary technicians carry out their medical orders. They give medications, measure vital signs on a regular schedule, ensure IV fluids are administered at the correct rate, and change bandages. Most importantly, they ensure your pet is warm, clean, and dry, and give them extra doses of snuggles and encouragement as they recover.
As you can see, being a veterinary technician is much more than puppy snuggles and kitten care, but at the end of each shift, that is what they most remember, and so does your furry family member.
The next time you are in Belmont Animal Hospital, join us in honoring our devoted team of veterinary technicians. Whether your pet needs routine vaccines, a medication refill, or is feeling under the weather, make an appointment, and see our veterinary technicians in action.