Vet techs are DVM’s best friends |

Vet techs are DVM’s best friends

CMC Corner
Jeff Myers DVM
Colorado Mountain College
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Doctors and dentists depend upon nurses and hygienists to carry out a good deal of patient care. In much the same way, veterinarians entrust veterinary technicians with a wide breadth of animal care.

Veterinary technicians are highly skilled animal health professionals that have been through rigorous training. Like their nursing student counterparts, vet techs hit the books hard – studying anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology. They too participate directly in clinical experience as part of their training. Plus, they get skills in a few other areas that nursing students don’t typically encounter in their coursework, such as patient handling and restraint and euthanasia.

Upon graduation, vet techs sit for a national licensing exam, just as nursing students do. At that point, they can walk into a veterinary practice and do everything except performing surgery, making diagnoses and prescribing treatments.

That means the list of things vet techs can do is a pretty long one indeed. It includes everything from injections, blood collection, placing IV and urinary catheters to client education and grief counseling.

Other VT skills include performing laboratory work, taking X-rays and assisting in surgery. Chances are, when you call to check on a sick or injured animal, it is the vet tech you’ll speak with and it’s the vet tech who has monitored and cared for your pet.

Veterinarians increasingly depend upon this mountain of skills their techs bring. Over time, the quality of education and training they receive has greatly improved. Programs like the veterinary technology program at Colorado Mountain College emphasize science study, but they also emphasize communication, problem solving and team work.

Though it may not seem that way, veterinary practice is very much a people business. Vet techs get into the business not because they’re just good with animals. They get into the business because they’re good working with people – with the owners who need information about the best nutrition for their animal or how to best solve a problem related to the care of their pet.

Successful vet techs find it fun and rewarding to work with people, and people skills are an important part of their training.

By and large, vet techs are primarily employed in clinical practice, but there is also a range of other sectors in need of them: pathology labs, pharmaceutical and medical equipment sales, education, research and more.

The obvious beneficiary of a good vet tech’s care is your pet. But it’s also the veterinarian who has employed them. And it’s also you, the pet owner.

Dr. Jeff Myers is professor of veterinary technology at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley. Last week was National Veterinary Technician’s Week, but it’s not too late to appreciate your favorite vet tech.

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