Every year, from October 11th to 17th, people and pet lovers all over the nation celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week. This day is dedicated primarily to all the hardworking vets that keep our pets safe, healthy, and happy! Oftentimes, the work done by a vet is overlooked and undervalued, which is why it’s important we celebrate the people who love our pets as much as we do!
What exactly is a veterinary technician? These are the people that assist vets with the diagnosis and treatments of animals. The job includes testing different specimens (including blood, feces, and urine), administering medications, and preparing your pet for surgery. It’s important to remember that a veterinary technician does not have the same qualifications as a veterinarian, who is someone that went through more years of training and has more control over the practice. Technicians make an average salary of $33,000 annually and are licensed by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) if they pass their Veterinary Technician National Examination. If you’re an avid animal lover, this is a very rewarding job, so consider this pathway if you’re interested!
Surprisingly, the profession of veterinary medicine is quite recent and began in the early 1950s. It wasn’t until 1951 that the United States Airforce developed the first animal technician training program, and things skyrocketed from there. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) was created shortly after, but the real “father of veterinary technology” was Dr. Walter E Collins. At first, the AVMA refused to call veterinary technicians by their name or even validate them and chose to refer to them as “animal technicians” instead. There were no formal licensing procedures for aspiring vets for a long time, not until the late 1980s. In 1989, the AVMA House of Delegates finally approved of the term “veterinary technician.” This change was followed by a boom of knowledge concerning veterinary technology, which still continues to this day.
The job of a veterinarian technician can become quite laborious. Animals can be trickier to handle than human patients, so becoming a technician requires a lot of patience and stamina. Work is typically full time, and can often include weekend hours. A technician would have to have excellent active listening skills and be able to effectively communicate with clients and other staff members simultaneously. Most importantly, all veterinary technicians must have an immense amount of compassion — not just towards animals, but also towards their clients and staff members. This is why veterinary technicians can often have quite laborious tasks, but will still accomplish them with a smile on their face.
How can you support your local veterinary technician? For one, you can consider posting these social media posts on your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and show some love to your favorite technicians! Want to go above and beyond? Consider getting your technician a small gift, such as a gift card or a cup of coffee, and give it to them through your local animal clinic. Even a handwritten letter would be enough to show your gratitude.
So get out there and appreciate veterinary technicians. If it wasn’t for COVID, we would even advise you to give them a hug for all of their generosity, but for now, limit it to a simple gift. After all, these are the people that ensure that your dog or cat stay healthy and happy. Take the time to research more about National Veterinary Technician Week, your recognition of their hard work means everything.