National Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week is celebrated every third week in October. We appreciate the contributions of our veterinary technicians every day, but we wanted to give you a glimpse into all that these integral team members do for your pets. To highlight their diverse knowledge and skills, we’re describing their many roles also performed in the human health care field, where each person has only one job.

  • Phlebotomist — Drawing blood from pets is the most common procedure our vet techs perform, but it can also be the most difficult. Pets cannot talk, they range in size from less than half a pound to more than 100 pounds, and they can be sick or well, wiggly or cooperative. Our technicians can successfully not only draw blood, but also place IV catheters in every pet who needs one. And, they can do it while making your furry friend feel calm and secure.

  • Laboratory technician — After they draw the blood samples, our vet techs use our in-house laboratory machines to obtain results. They learned what the results mean in school, and can alert the veterinarian to abnormal results quickly, if needed. In addition to blood testing, our techs are skilled at preparing and interpreting urinalyses, fecals, and cytologies (i.e., ear swabs and mass aspirates). They also run in-house diagnostic tests for diseases such as parvovirus and heartworm.

  • X-ray technician — An X-ray is one of the most important diagnostics that we can perform for your pet. Our vet techs know how to pick the specific settings and to position your pet to ensure high quality pictures for our veterinarians, all while ensuring your pet is as comfortable as possible.

  • Dental hygienist Much like a dental hygienist in your dentist’s office, our techs chart, clean, and take X-rays of your pet’s teeth. Because dogs and cats need to be anesthetized for their teeth cleaning, that leads us straight into the tech’s next job …

  • Anesthetist — Our technicians have an extensive knowledge of anesthetic drugs, gasses, and monitoring, which they use to ensure your pet is safe any time she has to undergo sedation or anesthesia. A vet tech stays with your pet during every step of her surgical procedure, from when the tech begins anesthesia, to when your pet wakes up.

  • Surgery nurse In addition to administering anesthesia, our vet techs play the same surgery role as human surgical or circulating nurses. They assist the veterinarian, who is in sterile garb, handing over the equipment needed during the procedure. They also clean the room and resterilize the equipment after the surgery is finished.

  • Physical therapist Our vet techs can use our state-of-the-art cold laser machine to alleviate your pet’s arthritis or injury pain, or help decrease healing time after surgery.

  • Pharmacy technician Pharmacology is one of the topics that vet techs study most extensively in school. Knowing drug classes, dosages, and side effects is vital, as well as ensuring the right amount of the right drug is filled for the right patient. Our vet techs also spend time with owners to ensure they understand the important details of any medication.

  • Hospice counselor End-of-life and quality-of-life conversations are frequent in veterinary medicine, and our vet techs are always available to answer pet owners’ questions. And, when you have made the difficult decision to release your pet from her suffering, our techs will help guide you through the process.

Our veterinary hospital could never function without our veterinary technicians. In addition to their knowledge and skills, they bring their love and compassion for animals and their owners each and everyday. Now that you have a better idea of what these amazing people do, give them a big thank-you the next time you bring your pet to see us.