The unsung heroes and backbone of every vet hospital: The vet techs

Vet tech appreciation week 2022

(a.k.a. vet nurses)

Before we begin:

For the purposes of this story, the term "vet tech" includes registered vet techs (RVTs), non-registered assistants, and vet nurses, as they are called internationally.

When a pet recovers from an illness or injury, pet parents often thank and credit the vet for the recovery (as we should). 

But like nurses in human medicine, vet techs (or vet nurses) are often forgotten and left feeling unappreciated even though they also play a vital role.

1. They monitor and nurse patients

Vets have patients to see, clients to talk to, and surgeries to perform throughout the day, so they rely on vet techs to monitor patients around the clock.

2. They administer medications

Vets do the prescribing, but vet techs make sure the medications are given on time to hospitalized patients.

3. They treat patients

When the vet has a diagnosis, vet techs often carry out the treatments on the vet's direction.

4. They collect specimens for and run labs

Vet techs are responsible for collecting blood, urine, stool, and other samples for diagnostics as well as running labs.

5. They perform first aid and assist in emergencies

Vet techs help the vets by holding and restraining pets for and also providing treatment.

6. They assist with procedures

Vet techs prepare pets for and assist in procedures, x-rays, and surgeries.

7. They conduct initial assessments

Vet techs assess pets' conditions on intake and triage when there are multiple emergencies.

8. They educate pet parents

Vet techs answer pet parents' questions and pass on instructions from the vet about food, medications, and care.

Despite everything they do, vet techs often go unnoticed by pet owners, partly because much of their work is behind the scenes.

What they often do get is verbal abuse about things out of their control (like costs and wait times) when bringing pets back to their owners after treatment.

That combined with much lower pay and longer hours makes vet techs even more prone to anxiety, depression, burnout, and suicide than veterinarians.

So, next time you're at the vet, don't forget to say "thank you" to everyone for their part in your pet's care including the vet techs, assistants, and receptionists.