In Honor of Veterinary Technicians
In October, we observe National Veterinary Technician Week. According to the Humane Society of the United States, more than one-third of American households own at least one cat or dog. When we take our pets to the vet, we would do well to take a moment to thank the unsung heroes of the veterinary profession—the veterinary technicians.
Veterinary technicians are an invaluable resource in the veterinary medical community. Without them, animal hospitals would close and the profession would atrophy. Known as “the nurse of the veterinary world”, they are the eyes and ears for busy veterinarians with packed waiting rooms. Veterinary technicians advocate for patients in pain, the shoulders for clients to cry on, the resource who patiently explains complicated instructions to pet owners. They also perform a number of other routine but vital duties—answering phones, running lab tests, monitoring anesthesia, restraining nervous dogs, drawing blood samples, maintaining the cleanliness of facilities, preparing medication, and setting up appointments. Technicians are responsible for informing the veterinarian about the medical history of their patients, drawing up appropriate vaccines, and educating clients about routine preventive care, nutrition, and husbandry of their pets. They walk dogs that have difficulty walking, pill cats that won’t cooperate, clean and love animals that need help.
The Becker College Veterinary Clinic is one of only a handful of college-run animal clinics open to the public. We care for hundreds of patients annually, as well as teaching animals (who go on to find adoptive homes), so students are provided with an uncommon opportunity for hands-on experience. Many veterinary technician graduates have gone on to work in veterinary school hospitals, such as the Cummings Veterinary School at Tufts University in Grafton, where they provide invaluable services and impart numerous practical animal handling skills to veterinary students.
We tell our veterinary technician students at Becker College to look for a position where their knowledge, talents, and opinions are valued. At Becker, we prepare these veterinary technician students for the “real world.” All of their hard work and skills are of great value to any clinic, and the Becker reputation helps these students to get their foot in the door and elevates them above the rest of the pack.
We are grateful to have the opportunity to give back to our profession, to train the students who will one day be the ones helping to train veterinarians, as they have helped us. In recognition of National Veterinary Technician Week 2013—and every day—we want to thank all technicians for supporting veterinarians and animal owners alike—as well as the animals and people we all touch daily with our mission of care and dedication.
Kelly Wolfenson Guay, B.S., DVM
Assistant Professor and Lenfest Animal Health Center Clinic Director
Becker College Department of Animal Studies