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What are the Different Types of Veterinary Technician Careers?

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  • Written By: Vicki Hogue-Davies
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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When thinking about different types of veterinary technician careers, employment with a private veterinary practice might be what first comes to mind. The majority of veterinary technicians work in private practices, caring for both small and large animals. Veterinary technicians also work for zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, marine institutions and other facilities that house wild animals. They work in laboratories, performing biomedical research. Veterinary technician careers also can be pursued at humane societies, animal shelters, feed and drug companies, schools and more.

Veterinary technicians who work in private practices perform a variety of duties. They obtain patient histories, counsel animal owners and provide nursing care to animals. They prepare animals and equipment for surgery and act as surgical nurses to veterinarians. Veterinary technicians manage veterinary offices and train and supervise personnel. They collect specimens from patients and perform laboratory procedures.

Private practice veterinary technician careers can include working with a variety of animals. In small animal practices, the majority of animals are cats and dogs, but some veterinary offices also will see what are considered exotics in the veterinary world, such as rabbits, rodents, reptiles and birds. Some small animal veterinary offices specialize in a particular animal species, such as cats, birds or reptiles.

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Veterinary technicians working in large animal practices might visit ranches and farms to care for cows and sheep, or they might work for veterinarians who specialize in horses, known as equine veterinarians. In large animal practices, some veterinary technicians spend most of their time in the field, and others work behind the scenes developing X-rays and working in the lab at the office. Some veterinary technicians work for practices that specialize in equine dentistry, or they might work for practices that specialize in caring for the teeth of cats and dogs. Another specialty area within private veterinary practices is emergency services.

Technicians working at zoos and other places that house wildlife care for elephants, rhinos, big cats, porpoises and a wide variety of other wild animals. Depending on where they work, duties performed by people in these veterinary technician careers might include such things as collecting cardiac blood from a snake, testing water quality in a shark tank or administering a tuberculosis test to a chimpanzee or another primate. Understanding quarantine protocols and recognizing disease in quarantined animals sometimes are among the many responsibilities in this career.

Biomedical research veterinary technicians work with laboratory animals. They might work at universities, pharmaceutical companies or other research facilities. They perform many of the same care duties as veterinary technicians in private veterinary practices, and they help implement research projects while ensuring humane care and handling of the research animals.

Veterinary technician careers with humane organizations and animal shelters involve caring for animals, and it also can involve euthanizing unwanted animals. Veterinary technicians teach in vet tech and vet assistant educational programs. They work in sales and development for animal drug and products companies. Other types of veterinary technician careers are found in the military, food safety industry, animal behavior practices and elsewhere.

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Ocelot60
Post 3

@heavanet- Maybe your friend should find out if any veterinarians in her area would allow her to job shadow the technicians to see if this type of job is for her. Sometimes colleges that offer veterinarian technician programs can set up these opportunities to help students find the right career paths for them. These are two options that she could explore before committing to a career field that may not be for her.

Rundocuri
Post 2

@heavanet- Though I think work duties depend on each individual veterinarian practice, I believe that it is very likely that vet technicians have to deal with needles, blood, and more. I have a friend who works as a veterinary technician, and she has a lot of duties. These include holding sick animals, aiding the vet in surgery, and helping out with injured animals. She has seen it all!

If your friend is very sensitive to all of the things that are likely to take place in a veterinarian clinic and the tasks she may have to do to help animals, she should probably reconsider her career choice. There are many other things that she can do to work with

animals.

Positions in animal training, grooming, and boarding are readily available, and do not require staff to be around needles, surgery, or sick animals. There are jobs available doing everything from working hands-on with animals to cleaning up after them to answering the phones. Regardless of the position, these career paths still allow animal lovers to care for animals without having to deal with things that make them feel uncomfortable.

Heavanet
Post 1

Do veterinary technicians have to do a lot of work with animals that involves dealing with needles and blood? I have a friend who is thinking about going into this field, but she is very squeamish when it comes to these things. I'm concerned that she will go through veterinary technician training, and end up not being able to do the required work.

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