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This year a week
dedicated to recognizing the commitment veterinary technicians give
to the veterinary profession - National Veterinary Technician Week
- will take place from October 9 to October 15, 2011. In
celebration of National Veterinary Technician Week, it is important
to highlight the profession that does so much for the veterinary
According to Jean Laird, canine internal medicine and
endoscopy technician at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), "The decision to be a
veterinary technician is an exceptional career choice that requires
skill, dedication, and ongoing desire for education and most
importantly, a serious respect and admiration for animals and the
clients that consider them family."
Veterinary technicians are trained to assist veterinarians in a
variety of professional settings. Therefore, diverse skill sets are
essential for a veterinary technician to perform all of the
"Some of the daily duties performed by a veterinary technician
are assisting in surgery, managing anesthesia and sedation,
performing a thorough patient assessment, administering fluids and
medications, patient management, critical care, urinary, arterial
and venous catheterizations, and medical record keeping," Laird
"One of the most important aspects of veterinary medicine is
client communication," Laird added. "It is of vital importance that
a technician can communicate accurately and effectively with
clients. Demonstrating empathy and patience is a key part of client
communication, as is the necessity of appreciating the human/animal
By law, veterinary technicians cannot diagnose, perform surgery,
or prescribe medicine to a patient.
A veterinary technician has the opportunity to advance in his or
her field by becoming a registered veterinary technician (RVT).
Laird explains that RVTs are technicians that have completed state
required experience, state and national testing, and two years of
classroom and practical instruction from an accredited university
to earn an associate degree in applied sciences.
A RVT is similar to a registered nurse in human medicine. To
maintain their certification status, RVTs are required to have a
certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEU) each year. To
retain a certification in Texas, RVTs are required to complete five
CEU hours per year.
After certification, a RVT can continue his or her professional
growth and strengthen his or her focus by obtaining an additional
professional certification known as Veterinary Technician Specialty
"A VTS allows a RVT to gain a higher level of education, skill,
and experience by specializing in a specific area of veterinary
medicine," Laird said. "Currently, specialties available through
VTS are dentistry, anesthesia, internal medicine, emergency and
critical care, behavior, zoo, equine, surgery, and clinical
opportunities widely vary within venues of veterinary medicine for
technicians. According to Laird, some examples include, but are not
limited to: neighborhood clinics, emergency clinics, search and
rescue, entertainment, shelters, research, specialty referral
hospitals, public health, academia, specialty parks, and
After more than fifteen years of service as a veterinary
technician, Laird has had some time to access the pros and cons of
"Veterinary medicine is an exciting and rewarding profession
that awards the opportunity to make a difference in a person and an
animal's life," Laird said. "A veterinary technician is a
tremendous asset to the ongoing changes and future of veterinary
"The most difficult part of veterinary medicine is euthanasia,"
Laird said. "To lose a patient or pet is life-altering and
devastating. It is however, a small price to pay for what a
tremendous gift and enrichment any pets are to our
The CVM holds special events every year for National Veterinary
Technician Week. This year is no different.
"Each year we celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week by
providing sponsored breakfast, lunch, and continuing education
dinners to our 77 small animal and 30 large animal technicians,"
Laird explains. "It is an exciting time and the entire hospital
staff, senior clinicians, residents, interns, and students join
together with the hospital administration to show appreciation to
the hardworking, dedicated technicians that are the foundation of
the most exceptional veterinary care offered in the world."
As pets continue to become an integral part of the family,
the demand for skilled veterinary technicians continues to rise.
For more information on becoming a veterinary technician, please
The CVM has partnered up with Blinn College, in Bryan, Texas, to
offer a Vet-Tech program. For more information on this unique
program, contact (979) 209-7203 or at www.blinn.edu/twe/vet_tech.
To learn more about the events surrounding National Veterinary
Technician Week, please visit
ABOUT PET TALK
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Top Photo: Jean Laird, veterinary technician at the
CVM, helps with an endoscopy of a lion.
Bottom Photo: David Sessum, registered veterinary
technician and rehabilitation specialist at the CVM, and Abby
Rafferty, registered veterinary technician at the CVM, help a
patient during rehabilitation exercises.
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843
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