National Veterinary Technician Week: LVH’s techs wear many hats!
We are so excited to be celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week at LVH this week!
Our entire team works hard every day to provide exceptional and compassionate care to our animal family. In honor of National Veterinary Technician Week, we want to take you behind-the-scenes with one group in particular – our licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs) – to show you the depth of their skills and specialties. All of our LVTs have completed a two or four-year course of study in veterinary medicine at a school that has been accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), have passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE), and take part in annual continuing education to maintain their state license.
Unlike human medicine, where nurses generally specialize in a particular area of medicine, licensed veterinary technicians are trained in many specialties and get to practice their skills in several areas every day. Some of these specialties include general medicine, emergency/ICU, surgery and anesthesia, pediatrics, radiology, phlebotomy, dental hygiene, and physical therapy.
At LVH, technicians are assigned to specific departments each day and rotate responsibilities throughout the week. Let’s take a closer look at some of their duties:
General Practice, Pediatrics, Geriatrics
Have you ever wondered where your pet goes with their vet when they leave the exam room and head to the back of the hospital? Most likely, they’re off to visit a technician who’ll help the doctor finish the exam. Technicians often administer vaccines, clean ears, trim nails, and even groom pets. Some of our techs have worked with pets from their first puppy or kitten visit through their senior pet exams – they love seeing how each pet grows and matures from year to year!
Our technicians are also one of the best lines of communication between you and our hospital. We’re more than happy to chat by phone, email, or face-to-face at the hospital in between wellness visits and when your pet is hospitalized.
Surgery, Anesthesia, and Recovery
Our veterinarians are always aided by a dedicated LVT during procedures and surgeries. The surgery tech helps prep pets for surgery and anesthesia administration, monitors anesthesia levels and other vitals (like blood pressure, heart rate, body temp, etc.) during the procedure, then stays with pets in post-op to ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery. On dental surgery days, our technicians add dental radiographs (X-rays) and cleanings to their to-do list. Much like a dental hygienist, the technicians create healthy, clean, and shiny teeth- but in your pet’s mouth! Our techs are always eager to show off their patients’ before-and-after dental pictures!
Hospitalization, Emergency, and Triage
Our technicians are your pet’s closest advocate when in our care. For all of our hospitalized patients and those who are admitted for exams and procedures, the LVTs assess and triage each case and care for patients throughout their stay. They give medications, alert and update doctors to changes in health status, and keep pets comfortable no matter what the diagnosis. (They may also get caught offering a loving smooch as an extra measure of TLC- a gesture displayed by most staff members, not just the LVTs.) In emergency situations, the LVTs are the first responders – often times meeting patients in the parking lot to begin life-saving care.
Diagnostics, Phlebotomy, Lab, and Pharmacy
When our veterinarians order diagnostic tests such as radiographs or minor ultrasounds, the LVTs prepare the equipment, the pet, and additional staff to carry out this task. When in-house lab work is needed, the techs draw blood and run the blood tests in our in-house lab. They also perform other laboratory tests such as microscope evaluations of ears, skin mites, urine –and yes- even feces (not the most glamorous part of the job). When medications are requested, the techs prepare each script and thoroughly check the prescribed dosage and instructions for accuracy.
Physical Therapy and Holistic Medicine
For pets with chronic conditions such as arthritis or those recovering from orthopedic surgeries, LVTs perform physical therapy, rehabilitation techniques, and laser therapy. LVH even employs a technician certified in the holistic modalities of Reiki and Tellington T-Touch.
Hospice and End-of-Life Care
The hardest topic and question to answer as a technician is always, “It must be so hard to euthanize pets. How do you handle it?” While there is nothing that can soften the significance of humanely euthanizing a beloved pet family member, technicians help veterinarians offer assistance, comfort, and relief to pets during their last stage of life. Equally important is having the privilege to offer a shoulder for owners to lean on. Like many of our clients, we fell in love with these pets during their first visit to LVH and have long-standing relationships with many of them- that makes this particular part of our job emotional and heart-wrenching. Together, we hope to provide our clients with comfort, peace, and closure during difficult times.