It’s National Vet Tech Week and we’re revealing the surprising, sometimes gross, and always super-impressive job requirements that make vet techs so special and versatile. Our $3.75 million A.H. Meadows Animal Health Care Facility consists of five licensed techs, three full-time veterinarians, hospital keepers, and records administration.
Our vet techs work with some of the most majestic animals on earth, helping monitor animals under anesthesia; collecting blood samples; placing IV catheters and performing endotracheal intubation; filling hundreds of prescriptions; laboratory work; and assisting during procedures. The list seriously doesn’t stop.
Here are nine things you probably didn’t know our incredibly hardworking, smart technicians do with a healthy dose of good humor.
1. They geek out over abscesses. The process of lancing an abscess, flushing it, and then watching it heal is truly their idea of a good time.
2. They’re not “clock watchers.” They come in the middle of the night when needed; work through lunch during surgeries; stay late when new animals arrive, and more. (Vet techs may be superheroes.)
3. Techs are skillful phlebotomists. They draw blood from the smallest of birds and reptiles to the largest of mammals. They must know where the best collection site is: jugular for birds; tail vein for most snakes and lizards; subcarapacial sinus in turtles/tortoises; and the tail, leg, or jugular vein in most mammals. (Serious mic drop.)
4. They’re brave. Techs conquer their fears to help animals they’re afraid of, and they do it with a lot compassion.
5. They’re the only people EVER who look forward to teeth cleanings. During dental prophylaxis, they become giddy after snagging a huge piece of calculus (tarter) off an animal’s tooth. (No joke.)
6. They work with zookeepers to make health checks easier on the animals. Through voluntary training, animals don’t have to go under sedation; instead they’re taught to present body parts for things like, blood draws, vaccinations, blood pressure and more. Pretty awesome, huh?
7. Techs do it all and more. They’re the setup crew, the cleanup crew, the nurse anesthetist, and everything in between.
8. They LOVE neonates. (Even capitalizing ‘love’ still makes it an understatement.)
9. They win “Best Supporting Actor” every time. “Techs are the wind beneath the wings of the veterinarians. Without techs, vets would not be able to soar as high as they do.” ~ Dianna Lydick, hospital manager, BS, RVT, VTS (zoo)
Not only are our vet techs licensed professionals who have to pass a national and state exam, but all of our techs have a Bachelor’s degree, and an Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology. They also are required to attend continuing education annually just like other health professions. Plus, they’re part of the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians.
To vet technicians everywhere, we honor you this week and applaud your work ethic, especially our zoological technicians: Deborah Chase, Cassandra Reid, Laurel Walosin, Eileen Heywood, and relief tech/hospital manager, Dianna Lydick.