Indy Style

Celebrating Veterinary Technicians and Assistants, as we learn more about their roles

They help take care of your pets– but many people still don’t know EXACTLY what a Veterinarian Technician and Assistant does or how their role is different from your pet’s doctor.

October 11-17th, 2020 has been set aside to recognize the hard working vet techs and assistants at your local veterinary office, and on today’s Indy Style, Thomas F. Dock, Director of Communications/Public Information Office, Noah’s Animal Hospitals, shares more on the intricate role.

National Veterinary Technician Week

  • A credentialed veterinary technician is someone who has completed a 2 or 4 year program at an accredited veterinary technician program, such as the International Business College’s Veterinary Technician program here locally or Purdue’s Veterinary Nursing Program.  Beyond completing their course work, potential technicians must also sit for a national test, pass it and then pass Indiana’s jurisprudence test.  Only then can the individual call themselves a Registered Veterinary Technician.
  • In fact, if anyone in the state of Indiana calls themselves a “veterinary technician” without the proper licensing and education, commits a Class A misdemeanor and can be fined up to $5,000 with 1 year in jail.
  • Like veterinarians, credentialed veterinary technicians must complete a specific number of continuing education hours every 2 years.  In some cases, registered veterinary technicians will go on to become specialized in areas such as anesthesia, nutrition, behavior, or even zoo medicine!
  • Veterinary technicians, along with veterinary assistants, are integral to the efficient workflow and proper patient care in many veterinary hospitals.  Beyond simply restraining the pets for the veterinarian’s examination, technicians and assistants have a wide-ranging scope of practice.
  • For example, your veterinarian technician will also be your pet’s anesthetist in surgery or a radiology technician when x-rays are needed.  When bloodwork is important for a diagnosis, it will be the veterinary technician who draws the blood (like a phlebotomist) and then runs the sample on the in-house laboratory equipment.
  • Veterinary technicians are nutritional consultants, give advice on your pet’s behavior, provide gentle and loving nursing care for hospitalized patients, and are often called up to be grief counselors as well.  During emergency situations, it’s a veterinary technician performing CPR, placing life-saving catheters, or providing proper hemorrhage control techniques.
  • Above all of this, veterinary technicians and assistants spend lots of time communicating with pet owners about preventive care and the wide range of other medical topics and questions people have about their furry friends.  Don’t be surprised if you spend more time with your veterinary technician than you do with your pet’s doctor!!