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Abbotsford Animal Hospital

The Role of the Veterinarian Technician

Calm Grey Cat being held by a male nurse looking at each other.

The role of the Veterinarian Technician is varied and complicated and is very often misunderstood. Most people who bring their pets into the veterinary hospital assume that the Vet Techs are the ones that simply do the holding of the pets while the veterinarian does the "important work". Or the assumption that their jobs consist of “just playing with puppies and kittens all day”. What may surprise you is that the Vet Tech is a very compassionate person with a wide skill set, is extremely hardworking, and very well trained. The Veterinary Technicians at Abbotsford Animal Hospital are a wonderful example of just that and are the best at what they do.

The Vet Tech is not a veterinarian in training. They have their own set of skills and have worked extremely hard to develop them. Most will go to college for two or three years to get their diploma. The skills that they have learned allows them to perform tasks on a daily basis that are similar to professions like a laboratory technician, paramedic, radiology technician, grief counselor, dietitian, nurse, dental hygienist, anesthesiologist and more all rolled into one.

Though Vet Techs are not allowed to make diagnoses, perform surgery or prescribe medication, they are however, the ones doing the “hands on” work. They are knowledgeable about a great number of drugs, how they are used and what dosages are necessary. A Vet Tech can do many laboratory tests such as identifying parasites on a fecal exam or looking for abnormalities on a blood smear. They can tell you what cells are normally seen on a urinalysis and which ones can be indicative of a serious problem. They can draw blood samples from patients of varying sizes, from a 150 lb Great Dane to a 2.5 lb kitten, who in both cases, are not always the most cooperative. They can place intravenous and urinary catheters, take x rays on patients who are not anesthetized and triage patients based on their current situations. They can also apply bandages to various areas, from paws to tails, knowing the right amount of pressure to apply to make sure that the bandage does not slip or fall off. Vet Techs assist in surgery and apply anesthesia monitoring, administer the anesthetic via intravenous injection and/or gas anesthetic allowing the veterinarian to make decisions quickly, efficiently and safely. They are the ones giving the patient care to the pets. 

Most importantly, Vet Techs are not only there for the pets but are also there for the people, the owners. They are the teachers that explain and educate clients on various situations and conditions that arise with their pets. It can be a scary experience and the Vet Techs allow for the owners not to feel alone. Vet Techs are there for the owners that have the sick loved ones in the hospital who just need to know that they are getting extra “cuddles and love” giving the peace of mind that they are being cared for. They are the ones that help the anxious and often terrified pet parents during an emergency situation taking as much stress out of the situation as possible. They are the grief counselors and the shoulder to cry on that soothe the owners in the most difficult situation as the end of life decision and the loss of a pet. Often they are the complaints department that deals with upset clients that have concerns about varying aspects of the hospital visit and they try to satisfy the clients the best they can. They are also the cheering section that hears about the triumphs and accomplishments and provide encouragement when it is needed. Client relations is a skill that is as important, if not more, as the technical ones. The relationships built with clients can be truly amazing. 

The Veterinary Technician is a compassionate, hard working, professional. Well educated, technically skilled, and has to be highly personable. The role of a veterinarian technician is challenging, exciting, emotional and as seen, very rewarding.

We understand how precious your furry family members are to you. We strive to assist in making the lives of your pets healthy and happy. Please come in and meet our wonderful and talented Veterinary Technicians!

Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.

Annette Kim RVT. CCMT.

Joined Abbotsford Animal Hospital in 2000 and is the Head RVT.