It’s crazy to imagine that a year ago I was just cleaning kennels and bathing dogs. At that time I was just a kennel tech and took care of pets that were boarding at my previous place of work. At some point I realized I wanted to do more for the animals I saw and that I also wanted to work with a larger range of animals other than just dogs and cats.
The first exotic animal that I ended up actually getting was my rabbit Clover. When I first got her I had no idea what I would do with her, whether I wanted to get her spayed or leave her as is because I was terrified at the thought of having her go through surgery like that. Despite how nervous I was, I set a date and had Clover spayed by Dr. Molly. Throughout the whole day I learned what it felt like to be in the shoes of first time pet owners and how nervous they might feel while their pet is being spayed or neutered. After that experience I now make sure to reassure the owners that while their pet is in surgery they are always taken care of and looked after diligently by the staff. I’m very fortunate that I’ve had good opportunities come my way to help me learn.
If one year ago you would have told me that I would be working four to five days a week drawing up vaccines, drawing blood, and getting to watch surgeries, I probably would have both laughed and been really excited. Working at Northwest Animal Hospital has been the best choice I have ever made. I have been taught about different medications and what they’re used for. I’ve learned how to read fecal floats and how to set up heartworm tests. I’m able to share the importance of heartworm prevention and the benefits of spaying and neutering pets. Thankfully I’m now in an environment where I can learn and thrive. While I’ve come a long way I feel like I still have room to grow and improve.
As a veterinary technician, I am arguably the busiest person in the hospital at any given time. Most of you probably just think that I am a glorified puppy holder or designated poop scooper, but my skill set is much more specified than that. I am proficient in technical aspects of medicine and patient care and my veterinary education are well versed. The comfort and wellbeing of my patients is my number one priority, so I make sure everyone is monitored closely. To give you a better understanding of what I do, let me take you through a day in the life of a vet tech.
I arrive at the hospital bright and early because I know my overnight patients are eagerly awaiting me. After each patient is examined and situated in a clean cage, I write down all my notes for the doctors to review when they arrive. When I finish, I move on to opening procedures; starting up the lab, checking oxygen levels, turning on radiology equipment, etc. While I’m doing all of this, my surgery and dental cleaning patients are starting to arrive, and as they do, I look over each chart and prepare them for preanesthetic exams. I look for pertinent medical history or any recent notes about their procedure for the day. Once my coworkers arrive, I will start my preanesthetic exams. As I go, I’ll start pulling blood and running the samples in the machines. I begin calculating appropriate anesthesia protocols for each patient. Once I’m finished, I’ll run it by the overseeing doctor and if everything checks out, I’ll prep each patient for general anesthesia, giving the first doses of the medications. Next, I’ll move on to preparing the surgery suite for the upcoming procedures. I’ll start with my dental cleanings so that the doctors can see early appointments. During a dental cleaning I’ll do a thorough exam of the patients’ oral cavity, take x-rays of all the teeth in the mouth to better assess the integrity of the structures underneath the gums. Occasionally, some teeth do need to be extracted and if so, I’ll page my doctor to surgery for extractions. All the while, did I mention I’ve been monitoring anesthesia and taking vitals? Oh yeah, I do that too.
During a dental cleaning I’ll do a thorough exam of the patients’ oral cavity, take x-rays of all the teeth in the mouth to better assess the integrity of the structures underneath the gums. Occasionally, some teeth do need to be extracted and if so, I’ll page my doctor to surgery for extractions. All the while, did I mention I’ve been monitoring anesthesia and taking vitals? Oh yeah, I do that too.
After my patient is recovered from anesthesia and awake, I make notes, clean up and move on to the next cleaning. In between procedures, I will also check on any hospitalized or recovering patients. After all my dentals are done, I’ll start surgeries with my doctors. During surgery, I’ll closely monitor anesthesia and assess patient vitals, assist the doctor and even scrub in occasionally. After all, surgeries are finished up I will make sure owners are called and bills are made.
In the afternoon, I help with patients in rooms. From radiographs to laboratory procedures and administrating vaccinations/medications, inputting records into the computer and so much in between. I do it all! When all appointments are finished, I start with the end of the day cleaning. During this time, I will also be discharging patients. Before I leave, I’ll make sure all overnight patients are taken care of and everything is in order.
A veterinary technician is a lot more than meets the eye! We are an essential part of any hospital. From running surgeries to maintaining patient care, to even running my own technician appointments, I am involved in every aspect of the hospital. Working in veterinary medicine has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life and I hope to continue enjoying all the wonderful animals that come along with it!
Every day that I wake up and put my scrubs on, is going to be a good day. I have the opportunity to push myself to learn something new and challenge my mind too. But the true drive that pushes me to wake up and come to work every day are the animals. We can’t save them all, but the ones we can nurse back to health make it worth it. The appreciation that you see on the eyes of the owners and the love that the pets show makes everything worth it. We all take the job home with us when we clock out. We can’t sleep as we keep thinking about the animals that we all consider family.
This job can be very rewarding one minute and then knock you back the next, but I would not trade one minute of what I have learned over the last 16 years. The personal pets I have had to say goodbye to and then ones that I have watched grow up from puppies have become a second family to me. This career path has proven very rewarding for me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Hello friends and family of Northwest Animal Hospital!
Welcome to our new website and our new blog! We have decided to include this space on our webpage to have the opportunity to better communicate our thoughts and concerns with our community. There will be many entries posted from a number of different members of our staff on here. We like to work as a family unit and it is only right that each member gets to share their voice.
In the future, you may expect to read more about specific aspects of veterinary medicine we feel you may be interested in, issues or concerns that we may have about your pets that you may not be aware of, or just get an inside look of “a day in the life of” a certain position in our hospital.
Please stay tuned! Join us on the many adventures ahead as we share our thoughts with those whom we care for the most.
Welcome to our new blog! Please look around the rest of our site while we work on our first post!