Beyond taking your cat out of his crate in the exam room and maybe bringing him in the back for some tests, do you have any idea what the vet techs at your clinic do? The fact is, the techs are the glue that holds your animal hospital together, and if it weren’t for them, your cat’s experience would be very different. Here are some reasons to celebrate the awesomeness of veterinary technicians.
1. They’re experts at making your cat feel safe.
Despite the fact that vet techs are usually the ones drawing blood for lab tests and doing other things that hurt or annoy your cat in the name of medicine, they have a knack for helping him feel comfortable even after he’s been subject to such abject humiliation.
2. They’re anesthetists, dental hygienists, and ICU nurses all wrapped up in one.
Vet techs prep your cat for surgery and keep track of his level of anesthesia to ensure that your cat doesn’t wake up or experience pain during operations. Techs keep a detailed log of your cat’s vital signs and anesthesia level throughout the entire procedure. After the surgery is over, they monitor your cat as he wakes up and help him to remain pain-free and safe during his initial recovery. Working alongside your vet, they ensure that your cat’s pearly whites stay pearly white (and his breath stays fish-smell-free) by polishing and cleaning his teeth.
3. They’re also emergency room nurses.
If there’s an emergency, especially if it involves multiple pets, vet techs perform triage — quickly assessing each animal’s condition by taking their pulses and other vital signs and telling the vet on duty about what they find. This job is absolutely critical to ensure that the sickest pets get seen first. Vet techs who work at emergency clinics and specialty hospitals are particularly experienced and talented at this task.
4. They’re grief counselors, too.
When my sweet Kissy died unexpectedly after surgery, my clinic’s vet techs were the first people to offer hugs and condolences and let me cry on their shoulders. Even when they themselves are almost overwhelmed with shock and grief, they still come forward to comfort bereaved pet parents.
5. They’re certainly not in it for the money!
In 2010, the average U.S. salary for a vet technician was about $29,700 — about $14 per hour. If that sounds like a lot, think about this: If your vet tech were a nurse for humans, he or she would earn at least twice as much. And if your tech was a nurse anesthetist working in operating rooms with surgeons, that amount would rise to $150,000 per year. Vet techs go through an education and credentialing process, and sometimes even specialized training, very similar to that of registered nurses.
The next time you go to your veterinarian’s office, I hope you’ll see your vet techs as the amazingly well-trained and compassionate professionals they are. Let them know you think they’re awesome, because they are.
Why do you think vet techs rock? Please share your reasons in the comments!