I hear this question frequently when I tell people what I do for a living. It seems as though a lot of people are familiar with the title, but what we registered veterinary technologists do is a mystery.
Veterinary technologists, or vet techs, are graduates from a CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association) accredited diploma program. We are in school for at least two years, and once we’ve graduated, we must write a national exam in order to become registered with the SAVT (Saskatchewan Association of Veterinary Technologists), or the association of the province in which we choose to work.
As a technologist, we must have ten hours of continuing education each year. At an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited vet clinic, such as Martensville Veterinary Hospital, technologists are required to have twenty hours of continuing education. These credits come from a multitude of sources such as online courses, presentations, and conferences.
So, what is it that we do? Well, it’s actually easier to tell you what we can’t do. As a technologist, we cannot diagnose, prescribe medication, or do surgery. Everything else is part of our job description. Technologists are trained in and perform radiographs, administer anesthesia, dental prophylaxis (dental cleaning), and lab work as well as obtaining the necessary lab samples. We are also responsible for the day to day nursing care of the pets that are staying in the clinic and administering their medications. At Martensville Veterinary Hospital, you will also see us in the exam rooms transcribing the exam findings and going through any educational material that the veterinarian recommends.
After three years in practice, vet techs can specialize in a specific field. These specializations require the technician to undergo more schooling and they must pass an exam to become certified in their chosen specialty. Some examples of areas in which vet techs can specialize include dentistry, emergency medicine, and nutrition.
Vet techs are a vital part of your pet’s health care team. When choosing a veterinary clinic, be sure to inquire as to whether they employ Registered Veterinary Technologists.