Educational Requirements and Duties of a Veterinary Technician

A love of animals is the primary prerequisite to work in a veterinarian’s office. A veterinary technician must acquire a two year associate’s degree and achieve a passing grade on the National Veterinary Technician exam. Additionally, the various states have different exam requirements that must also be passed before credentials are issued. However, a veterinary assistant can obtain employment in a veterinarian’s office without such credentials. Therefore, it is possible for almost anyone who loves animals to find a way to work with them regardless of his or her background.

The duties of a veterinary technicians can vary, but usually include tasks such as performing routine lab tests, drawing blood from injured or sick animals, and collecting, skin and urine samples. Technicians may also be called upon to administer blood products, drugs or fluids as prescribed by the veterinarian on duty. They also maintain inventory and medical records. A vast array of administrative tasks are also completed by most veterinary assistants.

The American Veterinary Medical Assoc. must approve the schools that offer an education in the field of veterinary science. One can also enroll in online classes to prepare for employment in this field. However, it is important to understand that there are additional requirements such as clinical experience that must be satisfied before one is qualified to begin seeking employment. Clinical requirements can be fulfilled by employment at an animal hospital or through working as a volunteer at an animal shelter. In addition, videotapes must be submitted to the school which show the student’s interaction with animals before a degree is bestowed. The curriculum for students attending traditional classes also includes clinical experience.

Special certification is available for technicians who have demonstrated the appropriate skills. These include nutrition, surgery, equine nursing, neurology, oncology, internal medicine, cardiology, dentistry, critical and emergency care and anesthesiology. These can be divided even further into sub-specialties such as production animals, exotic animals, canine and feline. While veterinary assistants are not required to by law to prove a formal education, there is a Veterinary Assistant program that has been approved by the AVMA for those who successfully complete their educational in this field. Large practices may demand this type of certification for their workers; however, this will vary from practice to practice.

Veterinary technicians also assist the veterinarian with physical examinations and surgical procedures. They perform tasks such as taking the animal’s temperature, pulse, and respiration rate. They dress wounds, apply splints, flush ears and perform catheterizations. Their duties may also include provide numerous dental services. Both associates and technicians must be comfortable working with a variety of animals and regard the animal’s physical well-being as a basic right.

Employment can also be found in zoos, circuses, breeding facilities, large farms, animal shelters, and training or teaching venues. Outdoor and traveling positions are also available and salaries vary tremendously depending on a wide variety of factors. Those who obtain a four year degree can seek credentials as a veterinary technologist. Although performing similar duties, such individuals receive higher salaries and have the authority to make more decisions than those who hold a lesser degree.

Those who love animals and wish to work with them for a living should pursue a career in veterinary medicine. A great need exists for veterinary technicians and associates and because it is a relatively young discipline, opportunities will most likely grow significantly in the future.

Veterinary Supplies – Pet Grooming and Health

Grooming is an important part of caring for your pet. Not only does it make them look and feel beautiful, it helps keep them healthy too!

Benefits to Grooming Your Pet:

A good grooming session with your pet can be greatly beneficial to both you and your animal. The best part is that there are a lot of grooming methods you can do yourself at home! Granted, there are benefits to using a paid professional because they are trained to not only groom, but spot potential health risks before they develop into major complications. Every so often, you may want to take your pet to a professional groomer.

Regular grooming develops a strong bond between you and your pet. An animal that lets you brush out its fur and clean its ears is showing great trust in you. Grooming involves a great deal of petting and handling which also benefits the pet’s emotional state too. Regular grooming also may uncover any potential health risks- for example, when brushing your pet; you may find a matted section of fur that is hiding some form of skin disease or irritants like clinging plant pods or thorns. Small irritants like these can develop into infection and disease if left uncared for. You should also clean any dirt out of their ears before it becomes compacted and causes complications.

The two greatest benefits to routine pet grooming are, one, it allows you to make observations that may uncover issues like weight problems, vision trouble, skin disease or tumors before they develop and become untreatable. And two, it allows you and your pet to develop a deeper and more trusting relationship together!

How to Properly Groom Your Cat:

Cats clean themselves, so do you really need to groom them too? Yes! Although they spend a great deal of time cleaning their own fur, they still need a little help from their owner. Plus, why would you pass up such an opportunity to bond with Fluffy?

Ideally, you want to start grooming your cat when it’s a kitten. If you start young, it will become routine and normal to them. However some cats, at any age, don’t take kindly to grooming, so don’t force it! Do very short grooming sessions where maybe you only brush one part of its body and another tomorrow. Gradually increase grooming seasons until they are more receptive to this routine.

When grooming your cat, you want to relax them first, so spend some time petting them to get the cat into the idea that you’ll be handling them for a little bit. Then gently begin to brush their fur- hold the brush in one hand and use the other to smooth down their fur in front of the brush to feel for any lumps and matted fur. If you do find matted fur, gently brush out one layer of fur at a time. If it seems to be causing your cat discomfort, slowly brush it out over a few days. If at any time the cat lets you know that it is uncomfortable, be sure to stop and find out what is causing the stress- don’t force additional grooming. Cats need to know they are in control, otherwise they may not trust you next time. One handy trick that works for my frisky cats (who like to attack their brush) is that I try not to let them see the actual brush. For some reason this works- they love the feeling of the brush but don’t like looking at it. Usually, most cats don’t like to be brushed for a long time anyways, so doing a little each day will be more efficient than trying to brush them out for a long time. And always remember to brush in the same direction as their hair is growing.

How to Properly Groom Your Dog:

Now, dogs typically don’t spend as much time self-grooming as cats, so they’ll be relying on you a bit more for their personal hygiene! Brushing your dog before you give him a bath will remove any loose fur which increases the effectiveness of the shampoo. When brushing your dog, be systematic, start at the head and move your way to the tail. Be firm but gentle with your brush strokes to be sure you get the job done but not to hurt your pet or cause them any stress. You want them to enjoy grooming sessions with you! When you find any tangles or matted areas, don’t brush at them firmly! This will hurt the animal’s trust in you- gently and slowly try to detangle the knots and brush the fur free.

When bathing your dog, you have to find a suitable location. Sinks and basins work great for smaller dogs while bathroom tubs or portable pet tubs are best for larger dogs. Using an outside hose is convenient, but not a great alternative. The cold water makes your pet uncomfortable, plus the shampoo won’t work as well in cold water. Never use a shampoo made for humans! Our shampoos contain harsher detergents that may damage your pet’s hair or sensitive skin. When it’s time to dry off, use a cotton towel for short haired dogs and rub the fur vigorously with the grain and then against working head to tail. For long haired dogs, you should comb out the fur to prevent tangles.

Clipping your dog’s nails can be a little tricky, so you’ll need to get clippers specifically for dog nails. You have to be careful not to trim too far back- inside your dog’s nail is a vein referred to as the “quick”, and cutting the quick of the nail can cause pain and bleeding. The longer your dog’s nail, the longer the vein extends into it. So if you haven’t done it in a while, you’ll have to cut their nails in phases. First, taking off just a little bit at the tip and then waiting a week. After the first cut the quick will retract further back away from the tip. Then cut a little more, again waiting a week allowing the vein to retract. Once you get the hang of it cutting your dog’s nails will be as easy as cutting your own!

Products:

Since you’ve already made the choice to properly groom your pet, you also want to be sure you’re using the right grooming supplies! Contact your veterinarian to help you decide what types of products you may need. There is an array of antibacterial shampoos and solutions to choose from, so do your research for Fluffy and Fido and they will look fabulous for you in return! Benzoyl Plus Shampoo is a great choice- it is anti-bacterial, keratolytic, and follicular flushing. It also degreases and rehydrates your pet’s coat. Plus, it’s safe for use on dogs and cats!

Veterinary Products – Keeping Your Pets Tick Free

It’s important to keep your pets tick free for their own safety. But most of us have adventurous little critters that want to run and play in the grass, leaves, and wooded areas where ticks are just waiting to drop off their perch and right onto your pet! Here are a few things you should know about ticks and your pets.

Ticks Are Disease Carriers!

It’s easy to underestimate the dangers of ticks since they are such small insects, but they actually pose a great threat to us and our animals, since ticks often carry diseases. Diseases that ticks can transmit to animals include Lyme Disease, which is transmitted by the deer tick and causes symptoms similar to that of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which is primarily found in New England and the West is a disease that causes depression, fever, rashes, skin hemorrhages, and joint disease. Dogs who live in wooded and mountainous areas often are at risk for this disease. Other possible diseases include Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection, and Babesoisis, a blood disorder.

Safe Tick Removal.

It’s important to check your pets often for ticks, especially during tick season and if they have been outdoors. The most common places ticks like to hide on animals are:

• Head
• Neck
• Ears
• feet

The following are the proper steps to help you safely remove and dispose of a tick you’ve found on your pet.

1. If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately! The longer it is attached to your pet, the greater the chance of disease. First to protect yourself, put on a pair of gloves so you do not have to touch the tick.

2. Use a pair of tweezers to carefully grasp the tick near the pet’s skin and gently pull until it lets go.

3. To help prevent inflammation and other infection, you may want to apply an antiseptic to the bitten area on your pet. Especially if it has left an open wound.

4. It’s important to properly dispose of the tick now that you have removed it from the animal. Acceptable methods include wrapping it in tissues and flushing it down the toilet or dropping it into a small container of rubbing alcohol. Don’t use water; ticks do not drown in water! And do not crush or burn them either, this may spread any infectious bacteria the tick may have.

Tick Prevention!

Pet owners should brush their pets often to check for ticks, especially after walks and trips outside in the woods or mountains. If you thoroughly comb and check your pet over within a few hours of being outside, you can greatly help prevent your pet from becoming infected by a disease from a tick. The best thing you can do for your pet is use some kind of tick prevention on them. Frontline is considered the #1 recommended tick and flea preventative by veterinarians. Frontline Plus will kill up to 100% of ticks on your pet within 48 hours and continue to keep them tick free for an entire month! (And the same product also keeps your pets protected from fleas too!) Many people enjoy ordering such products online because it’s so simple and reliable.