Although traditionally many veterinary assistants have received on-the-job training, many schools are beginning to offer vet assistant training programs. Many times, an individual can begin volunteering for or be hired by a veterinarian while still in high school to perform tasks such as cleaning cages, feeding animals, administering medicine or sterilizing equipment. The vet assistant training programs now offered by many schools go much more in-depth, including instruction in areas such as animal anatomy, nutrition, husbandry and proper handling.
The foundation of many vet assistant training programs offered by most schools will include basic education courses such as math, computers and language arts. This not only provides for a well-rounded training experience but also gives the student valuable skills necessary to complete functions within an office environment. These skills might help with food and water amounts for animals, administering medicine and communicating with coworkers and pet owners.
Terminology is another key area of vet assistant training. Generally, it is very helpful to know the terminology used within a vet office. Many things might be happening at once, and knowing any acronyms, abbreviations and special terms being used might make a vet assistant a more efficient and effective worker.
Anatomy of animals is another large component of vet assistant training. This encompasses a vast array of systems within the animal, such as muscular, nervous and skeletal systems. Knowledge of various animals’ anatomy might help a vet assistant with proper handling and care of the animals within the vet office.
Other aspects also are learned in a vet assistant training program. The knowledge of how to read an animal’s chart and review its history also is important. This might help prevent accidents from occurring by ensuring that the medicine being administered is not a known allergy, that proper immunizations are given or that the right materials are ready for the appointment. How to properly immunize an animal also is crucial knowledge.
Sometimes, animals might be brought into the vet’s office because they are in need of emergency care. Proper wound care and emergency management are two additional areas of study in some vet assistant training programs. This covers items such as proper bandaging, placing a cast on an animal, triage and crisis intervention. Several programs also incorporate training in areas such as basic accounting, office management, inventory and supplies and interpersonal communication. These items might prepare an individual for further study in becoming a veterinary assistant.