Wildlife Vet Tech: Facilities & Responsibilities

Published on September 20, 2018 by

Man caring for hawk in animal rehabilitation.

Did you know that employment for veterinary technicians is projected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We’ve seen a growing demand for veterinary technicians and the specialized care of all types of animals. One of these specialties is wildlife veterinary technician, or wildlife vet tech.

It is important to note that wildlife rehabilitators need special training and federal or state licensing to care for protected or endangered species. Special training and licenses can be obtained after graduation from a vet tech college.

You may already know about vet techs that work in veterinarian’s offices and their jobs taking care of cats, dogs, and other pets. Some veterinary technicians work in wildlife facilities including wildlife rehabilitation centers, zoos and animal sanctuaries.

What is a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center?

A wildlife rehabilitation center is a facility that treats and cares for sick, injured or orphaned wild animals with the ultimate goal of returning the healed animals back into the wild, according to the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association. Veterinary technicians help to rehabilitate and assist these animals. Wildlife animals are held in captivity with minimal human interaction to prevent them from becoming tamed.  If some animals are unable to return to the wild, they may be relocated for educational purposes.

What Does a Zoo Veterinary Technician Do?

The zoo vet tech may be responsible for all animals at a smaller zoo or specific species in larger facilities. The zoo vet tech may be responsible for the health and well-being of tigers, bears, birds, monkeys or other animals. They assist the veterinarian during exams, procedures and minor surgery. The zoo vet tech collects samples for diagnostic testing and administers any medication or vaccines. The zoo vet tech is also responsible for maintaining patient records and preparing food plans for the zoo animals.

What is an Animal Sanctuary?

Animal sanctuaries are facilities where abused, injured or abandoned captive wildlife is housed and protected for the remainder of their life. There are over 1,200 exotic animal sanctuaries according to the Performing Animal Welfare Society.

Special Wildlife Training

Under some circumstances, specialized training may be required to work as a wildlife veterinary technician. Some veterinary technician jobs may need a state or federal permit to treat protected or endangered animals. Many wildlife veterinary technicians undergo internships and take basic courses at the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association or the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For those hoping to work in a wildlife rehabilitation center, the veterinary technician should work alongside an experienced wildlife rehabilitator while taking courses in veterinary technology.

What Do Vet Techs Do at Wildlife Facilities?

The primary functions of a wildlife vet tech include assisting with the captive wildlife’s medical care by performing examinations and laboratory testing. They also help with diagnosing and treatments, assist with performing surgeries, and assist with the treatment of baby animals.

Wildlife Education

Wildlife vet techs are also responsible for educating the public. Some animals that are not able to return to the wild can be placed into educational settings. These animals may be brought to classrooms or at wildlife terrarium. Some wildlife terrariums allow patrons to walk and view the animals.

Wildlife Medical Care

When veterinary technicians work in other wildlife facilities, they may provide medical care for deer, raccoons, birds, and other animals. It is their responsibility to restrain the animal so the veterinarian can perform the initial examination and any further procedures. Some veterinary technicians perform pre-exams and report the results to the veterinarian. Wildlife vet techs will help during X-rays, assist with administering anesthesia and fluids, as well as monitoring the animal’s status throughout recovery.

Routine Equipment Maintenance

The wildlife vet tech is responsible for performing routine maintenance on medical and surgical equipment, maintaining inventory, and completing supply orders. They must also ensure that medications or vaccines have not expired before they are administered.

Other Wildlife Care

If an animal becomes injured, a wildlife veterinary technician is responsible for capturing and transporting them. They will also perform routine duties including animal care, feeding and cleaning cages.

Are you an animal lover that is interested in learning more about becoming a wildlife veterinary technician? Ready to start working as a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.


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