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D2010-39

Dear Daisy Dog

Whenever I visit the animal hospital, I am helped by many people with different titles. I understand the roles of the veterinarian and receptionist, but what about the nurses, techs and assistants?

Daisy Responds

This is National Veterinary Technician Week, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate -– and explain the roles of -– the people who help you each time you visit your veterinarian.

The word “nurse” is a general term that encompasses all those who assist the veterinarian with the medical care of your pet.

The veterinary technician/technologist graduated from a formal educational program (technicians from 2- or 3-year programs, technologists from 4-year programs) and passed national and state licensing exams. A vet tech is certified to work as a clinical nurse, lab tech, radiology tech, nurse anesthetist, surgical nurse and client educator.

A vet tech with additional training and certification is a veterinary technician/technologist specialist. Ten specialty fields are recognized: anesthesia, surgery, dentistry, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, nutrition, behavior, clinical practice, equine and zoo medicine.

Veterinary assistants may be trained formally or on the job. At present, they are not licensed. However, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America announced recently that graduates of approved training programs may soon become nationally certified.

The next time you visit the animal hospital, thank the techs and assistants whose work is so essential to your pet’s care.

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