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Animal Dentistry: A Vet Tech’s Guide

Veterinarian and vet tech practice animal dentistry

Animal dentistry is one part of the veterinary profession. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA), periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats. Because of this, veterinary technicians also care for the dental health of pets. Whether working with domesticated pets or livestock, a veterinary technician plays a significant role in the health of animals.

Why People Choose to Be a Veterinary Technician

A veterinary technician understands that their job calls for them to love all animals. Even more, this field offers those with the right skills a chance to build a career. It’s also personally rewarding in many other ways.

Vet Techs are Valued

First, veterinary technicians are skilled and generally held in high esteem. Not only do clients appreciate their skills, but they are also respected by other veterinary staff. This is because a veterinary technician understands disease processes, interventions and patient outcomes.

Additionally, vet techs educate clients, fill prescriptions and take down vital information. Behind the scenes, veterinary technicians helps to keep a veterinary practice functioning. For example, vet techs ensure there’s an adequate stock of supplies and that equipment is maintained in good working order.

Being a Vet Tech is an Exciting Career

The technical aspect of the job is intellectually stimulating. On any given day, the veterinary technician implements the care plan a veterinarian orders. For example, this could mean placing an IV, administering and monitoring anesthesia or prepping pets for surgery. Additionally, a vet tech performs diagnostics and monitors patients. In some cases, a veterinary technicians performs part, if not all, procedures.

A Day in the Life of Animal Dentistry

Animal dentistry is almost exclusively the job of the veterinary technician. Most dental care begins with a thorough exam, followed by radiographs and bloodwork if necessary.

Anesthesia in Animal Dentistry

An intravenous catheter is inserted, and anesthesia will be induced with an injection. The veterinary technician then places a tube to allow the anesthesia to be maintained. After the animal is asleep, it connects to devices that monitor vitals.

What Does a Animal Dentistry Appointment Entail?

After anesthesia is complete, the veterinary technician carries out the dental procedure. For example, routine cleanings mean each individual tooth, above and below the gum line. Additionally, a veterinary technician keeps a detailed patient chart. For example, this documents the exact condition of the teeth, treatments and how the patient is doing.

Differences in Equine Dentistry

In equine dentistry, the patient will not be anesthetized as heavily unless it has oral surgery. Instead, the horse is given a sedative. Additionally, sometimes localized numbing agents are also used. Large files sand down any uneven surfaces on the teeth, which ensures the horse has a smooth, even surface bite. Large animal dentistry is practiced both in a hospital setting and out in the field. As a result, this means a vet tech travels to wherever the horse lives.

Learning Small Animal and Equine Dental Anatomy

Animal dentistry requires a good understanding of anatomy. Because of this, it is more difficult than human dentistry because it requires knowledge of more than one species. Oral care goals will vary greatly depending on the type of animal and associated life-stage.

Dogs and Cats

Adult dogs have approximately 42 permanent teeth, but they aren’t born with them. In contrast, puppies start out with no teeth at all. By the time they are four weeks old, they’ve grown as many 28 temporary “milk” teeth. Milk teeth consist of two upper canines, two lower canines, six premolars per side. They are also very sharp to help puppies learn to chew food.

Somewhere around 4-6 months of age, deciduous teeth begin to fall out. Afterwards they are replaced with a permanent set of canines, incisors and premolars. Lastly, the molars develop. By seven months old, most puppies have a fully developed set of permanent teeth.

In contrast, cats follow a similar pattern, however they only have 30 permanent teeth. The number of canines and incisors is the same as for dogs, but they develop fewer premolars and molars. This is because cats are what scientists call “true carnivores,” meaning that they can’t digest plant or grain food items. Without eating meat, a cat will die. Therefore, feline teeth evolved for tearing off chunks of meat and swallowing it whole.

Horses

In contrast, horses are herbivores and as such, their teeth are designed for eating grass. As a result, the jaw moves sideways which allows grasses to be ground against their molars. An adult horse has six permanent incisors across the front of their mouth. Additionally, the cheek teeth make up the rest of the dental anatomy, with six premolars and six molars on each side.

As foals, the deciduous teeth start growing shortly after birth. By the time they are eight months old, all of the baby teeth have fully developed. After two years, these will fall out and be replaced by a full adult set.

Veterinary Periodontics and Exodontics

Periodontics is the prevention and treatment of diseases that affect the gums and structures that support teeth. It is also the most common type of dentistry practiced in small animal veterinary practices. Peridontics includes educating pet owners on oral care to treating peridontal disease.

Peridontal Disease

Periodontal disease is very common among domesticated animals. It’s also almost entirely preventable through good oral health care. However, as it advances it poses a significant health risk to pets. This is because bacteria enters the bloodstream and damages the heart, liver and kidneys of pets. There is also a correlation between tooth loss and strokes in dogs.

Exodontics

Exodontics is the science of extracting teeth, which is considered oral surgery. Although this job is usually reserved for veterinarians, some states allow veterinary technicians to perform minor procedures. Regardless, the veterinary technician still needs a good working knowledge base. In addition to regular patient duties, they also set up surgical instruments and assist the veterinarian with the removal process.

Endodontics, Orthodontics and Prosthodontics

Orthodontics, endodontics and prosthodontics treats diseases of the inside of the tooth and alignment of the animal’s bite. This also includes repairing broken damaged teeth and false teeth.For this reason, it is considered an advanced specialty field, which also requires additional training.

Endodontics, orthodontics and prosthodontics covers root canal therapy, bite leveling, crowns, caps and implants. Because of the specialty of this field, equipment is highly specialized and materials are costly. Veterinary technicians support the veterinarian in this role. For example, the vet tech makes sure the veterinarian has a good set of x-rays, creates bite impressions, mixes dental compounds, and educates clients.

Regulations and Specialty Credentialing

At the highest level, veterinary technicians are regulated by NAVTA. Additionally, licensing requires passing a national exam. The professions guiding principles are set by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Model Practice Act. It provides a broad overview of conduct, rules and scope of practice for veterinary technicians.

How Does a Vet Tech Earn Credentials?

During two-year degree programs, students spend many hours in lectures, participating in wet labs, working alongside a mentor and preparing extensive case logs. They also complete extra hours of annual continuing education to maintain any specialty credential, above and beyond what is required for standard licensing.

Specialty credentials also have more competitive jobs. Animal dentistry clinics are becoming more popular, so this field continues to grow.

Other Skills of Animal Dentistry

Not everything can be taught in school. Veterinary technicians bring many beneficial traits with them into the professions. These traits include:

A nurturing disposition: At the heart of every veterinary technician is a drive to care for animals.

A sense of responsibility: Pet owners place an enormous amount of trust in veterinary technicians.

Natural curiosity and a love of learning: a veterinary technician is never done learning. In addition to annual continuing education requirements, they also face new challenges every day.

Intuition: Veterinary technicians must also be good at reading animal body language. In contrast to human medicine, veterinary technicians must piece together clues to understand the problem.

People skills: Although this field is animal-centered, a large part of the job involves interacting and communicating with people.

The ability to be humble: Many people outside of the profession aren’t aware of how extensively veterinary technicians are trained. A good veterinary technician sometimes has to swallow their pride when, yet another client asks, “Do you want to become a veterinarian?”

Attention to detail: Because of the intensive treatments, record keeping is and attention to detail are key.

Final Thoughts

No matter the setting, the field of animal dentistry has a bright future in veterinary medicine. Veterinary technicians will find work in many places outside of private practice including zoos, racetracks, farms, local governments, military installations, and universities.

Regardless of the location, there are many opportunities for veterinary technicians to thrive. From saving pet’s lives to helping people become better pet owners, veterinary technicians work hard to better animal welfare.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about animal dentistry interest you? Ready to start a program to become 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.

4 Cold Weather Workout Tips to Stay Active This Winter

Skiier on mountain for cold weather exercise routine

Interested in Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®) certification? Part of the job of a MAT® certified professional is educating clients on proper exercise. With winter quickly approaching, the following are some cold weather exercise tips to remember.

Keeping your body in shape is incredibly important to your health in general, but specifically in the areas of mobility and muscle development. Staying consistent with your physical activity levels is crucial to achieving your personal fitness goals and should be prioritized for your long-term quality of life. However, there are certain times of year that may be easier to exercise in than others.

How Does Temperature Affect Your Workout?

Temperature and moisture levels can have a significant effect on the way you work out, particularly if you are someone who enjoys doing physical activity outdoors. Cold weather can be a difficult challenge when motivating yourself, but it also presents some unique challenges to physical effects. Let’s take a look at some exercise tips you will want to keep in mind so that you can keep up the good work even if temperatures are cold.

Tip #1: Know the Benefits of Cold Weather Workouts

It can certainly be tempting to snuggle up, stay in, and skip your workout when the weather outside gets cold. Motivating yourself to brave the cold might not be easy, but there are some pretty good reasons to do it. It might help to know that there are some proven benefits to prioritizing your physical activity when it starts to get colder. It can be a tremendous help if you are hoping to combat the holiday weight gain that is often associated with this time of year. The added element of physical stress the cold weather gives can help you burn more calories during your workout.

Get Your Vitamin D Fix

Being outdoors and in the sun, even if it is cold outside, can help improve your mood and outlook. Just because the sun isn’t as warm doesn’t mean it has lost its ability to deliver vitamin D. Extreme weather workouts can also help increase your physical endurance and has been proven to increase mental acuity. Exercise and keeping your body strong are also an important part of maintaining a strong immune system to help fight off viruses and disease. Winter months can mean flu, cold and other illness outbreaks that you should try to avoid, so keeping your body active and strong is of importance during this time of year.

Tip #2: Check the Weather

Before you start on your cold weather workout outdoors, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into. Knowing the local weather can help you make informed decisions about your outdoor routine. It also informs you so that you can make better wardrobe decisions and protect yourself from the elements.

Cold weather varies and depends on where you live. Because of this, it is important that you take a moment to check out the weather before you head out.

Special Considerations for Cold Weather Workouts:

  • Is there a danger of slipping on ice?
  • Do you need any protective workout gear?
  • What time of day would be best for my workout?
  • Is the temperature safe for me to be outside?

These are the kinds of things you should take into account whether you are an outdoor person or not. With many websites and apps, it’s easy to access your forecast from wherever you are.

Tip #3: Never Skip Your Warm-Up

When cold weather workouts are necessary, warming up is even more critical to your exercise routine. Even more, it may also make more sense to dedicate more time to your warm up.

Don’t Forget to Stretch!

Stretching is an important part of all exercise, especially if you plan on exercising in the cold. Be mindful of your warm-up exercises, but also pay attention to your form and your symmetry. Even, uniform movements are important at the very beginning.

Warming up before you exercise in cold weather will help your muscles support and fully facilitate your movements rather than having to focus on acclimating to activity while also adjusting to the temperature shift.

Tip #4: Dressing for Your Cold Weather Workout

The way you dress when you exercise can have a more serious effect on your workout than you might initially think. Your mobility and comfort are important when you are trying to concentrate on muscle development and strength training. In addition to considering the level of mobility and comfort your fitness wardrobe provides, cold weather workouts give you the added element of the outdoor temperature to consider. There are a few key things you will want to keep in mind to make sure that you are staying safe while also maximizing your cold weather workouts.

Dress in Layers

When you first brave the cold, you will want to make sure that your muscles are warm and well insulated from the cold weather. This means making sure there is a substantially thick layer helping to keep your body heat in while keeping the cold air and moisture out. But as you begin to engage your body and exert energy your body will quickly begin to heat up from the muscle contractions. It usually doesn’t take very long before you start to work up a sweat, even if it’s snowing outside. Being overly bundled when you are working out can end up being as dangerous as under-insulating, so you have to be careful.

…But Not Too Many Layers

Dressing too warmly in thick clothing can backfire and make you sweat too much as you move. This can leave you dehydrated, overly fatigued, and at a potential risk for hypothermia in wet clothes. A tip for avoiding these dangers and finding a workable balance is to wear several different layers that you will be able to remove and replace throughout various stages of your workout. This will allow you to keep your muscles at a more constant temperature and more uniformly engaged.

Choose Shoes With Good Traction

This is an important tip for all exercise, whether it is indoor, outdoor, cold weather, or warm weather. However, it is exceptionally important during colder months. This is particularly true if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice throughout the winter. The risk of a slip-and-fall increases with slick and uneven surfaces. Slipping and falling has the potential to do serious damage to your body that may be difficult to recover from. It can also deal a serious setback to your physical fitness and mobility goals, even if the damage is fairly minor.

Supportive Footwear for the Climate

Choosing shoes that give you the proper foot support along with the proper traction can provide a positive outdoor workout. If you aren’t sure what you need or have questions about certain movements, a tip from a professional never hurts. Don’t be afraid to ask your MAT® certified trainer or other fitness professional for recommendations or advice on safe, supportive footwear.

Protect Your Extremities

Pain can create tension, even if it is indirect. For example, if you feel your fingers aching because they are getting cold you may have the urge to tense your arms in a way that provides support or relief to your hands. Likewise, if your ears become cold it can cause the muscles in your shoulders to unevenly tense in an effort to keep your head and ears warmer. The details of your winter workout attire can have an impact on your muscle health during exercises of all kinds, so you should go out of your way to consider all your body parts. Even the ones you won’t necessarily be directly engaging during your workout. A tip that may help you in the beginning is to think about dressing yourself from head to toes until your workout wardrobe choices become more familiar and intuitive to the weather.

There will always be a reason not to work out if you are looking for one. Cold temperatures and less-than-perfect weather can deter you from prioritizing your development and fitness the way you deserve. These suggestions, reminders, and tips can help you rise to the occasion during cold weather months

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about cold weather exercise tips interest you? Interested in learning more about Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®)? This 36 college credit program to becoming an MAT® Specialist can be completed in as few as 4 quarters*. This program is offered online with a lab component at the end of each quarter. This program is 4 continuous quarters over the course of 12 months: Lower Body, Upper Body, Trunk and Spine, and Cervical, Hand/Foot. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming Muscle Activation Techniques® certified.

Pet Preparedness: How Veterinary Technicians Help Their Communities

Severe weather, pet preparedness plans

Veterinary technicians have an important role in the communities to help administer services and help in weather emergencies. Veterinary technicians help in pet preparedness by helping inform pet owners about safety, but also administering services.

Severe Weather Workshops for Displaced Animals

One action a veterinary technician can take is to offer a workshop on sheltering displaced animals during weather emergencies. Emergency clinics or veterinary practices could offer pet preparedness workshops to educate staff at animal hospitals, people who foster animals, and rescue groups about caring for pets during a weather crisis. Pet preparedness is critical in our communities to ensure that our pets and animals are cared for.

Displaced animal programs should focus on:
  1. Local resources that can be used for evacuating pets and livestock
  2. Pet safety precautions during a weather emergency
  3. Pet preparedness plans for pets
  4. Evaluating the effectiveness of fairgrounds or other facilities for sheltering displaced pets
  5. Evaluating all the procedures for opening a temporary emergency shelter
Community Education

By participating in the workshop, local youth became more knowledgeable about community pet preparedness plans during a weather emergency. Participants learn an important life skill by developing family pet preparedness plans and learn to remain positive under stress during local animal emergency preparations.

Medicine That Animals May Need During A Weather Crisis

Don’t wait until a weather emergency is imminent. You should prepare an emergency kit for each of your pets and include all the current medications they’re taking. During a weather emergency, you may not be able to get to your veterinarian to get prescriptions refilled when you need them.

You should always keep a current record of all your pet’s vaccinations with you in case you need them. You never know when disaster will strike, so it is important to have a pet preparedness plan at all times.

Emergency First Aid Kits for Pets

Assemble an emergency first aid kit to use for your pets in the event they get sick or injured, and you can’t get to your veterinarian immediately. Besides bandages, gauze, and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect wounds, you should keep sterile eyewash and ear wash on hand. You can ask a veterinary technician at your clinic, which are the best ones for dogs and cats.

Antibiotics for Emergencies

A veterinarian can prescribe an antibiotic ointment that’s suitable for use on dogs or cats, and it should always be in your first aid kit. It’s a good idea to have your veterinarian prescribe a pain reliever for pets. Don’t use over-the-counter pain relievers for humans since some of them are toxic and could be fatal to pets.

The Challenges of Animal Care During A Weather Emergency

An emergency veterinary practice is always fully staffed, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. If a pet has a life-threatening emergency, has become ill or gotten injured, there’s always a place to get help.

Intake Levels

During a weather emergency, the number of animals that need care rises dramatically, and it requires a staff that’s always calm under pressure and can assess each patient quickly. A veterinary technician that specializes in emergency and critical care must triage each patient to determine how severe their condition is and treat them according to how severe the illness or injury is, not in the order in which they arrive at the hospital.

Long Hours

During a weather emergency, the veterinary practice must be prepared for anything. Staff who are able to get to the hospital may have double shifts to make sure all the animals in their care get the treatment they need. A veterinary technician who assists with surgery may have extended hours and an unusually high number of patients to care for.

Power Failures

The hospital should be equipped with generators in the event of a power loss, especially during a surgical procedure. A veterinary technician who assists during an emergency surgery will also have to monitor their patients while they’re in recovery.

Animal First Aid During Weather Emergencies

Animals can be injured as quickly as humans during a weather emergency. A veterinary technician is a person on staff that provides the initial treatment for an animal during a weather crisis. The veterinary technician must be able to assess the problem and act quickly. Many times, during a flood or hurricane, animals are left behind or get lost and must be rescued immediately.

It’s essential for the veterinary technician to treat the animal to prevent secondary problems or to keep it from going into shock, especially if hypothermia has set in.

Who Veterinary Technicians Can Partner with In the Local Community

ASPCA

The ASPCA is a nationally recognized, non-profit organization that deploys around the country when there’s a weather emergency to save animals. The ASPCA and local volunteers rescue animals in dire situations and transport them to temporary shelters where they receive food and medical care.

One way in which veterinary technicians can partner with the ASPCA is to volunteer for the program called Field Investigations & Response. Volunteers who are committed to saving animals can work with ASPCA staff to locate, rescue, and shelter animals that are displaced during weather emergencies.

Red Cross

A veterinary technician who wants to help keep pets safe during a weather emergency can educate pet parents about the Red Cross Pet Disaster Preparedness Program. The Red Cross has developed a guide primarily for dog and cat owners, so they know how to keep their pets safe in a weather emergency.

The tips recommended for pet parents by the Red Cross are:
  • When it isn’t safe for humans to stay in their home during a weather emergency, it isn’t safe for pets either.
  • When assembling emergency kits for the humans in your family, assemble one for each of your cats and dogs according to their needs.
  • Remember that a lot of hotels don’t accept pets unless they’re service animals.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place before you need it and include several places where pets are accepted. You may even enlist a few friends or family members who live out of the area to care for your pets until you can return home.
FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is part of Homeland Security and assist people and their pets following a weather crisis. FEMA works with local authorities and volunteers to search for and rescue displaced pets following weather emergencies.

Veterinary technicians can provide pet parents that are clients at their practice with the FEMA Emergency Pet Preparedness handout. They can also volunteer to help locate pets that have been left behind in weather emergencies, get them transported to temporary shelters, and provide them with medical care.

Veterinary Technicians Without Borders

Highly skilled veterinary technicians are needed more than ever to assist rescue groups during weather disasters. Veterinary Technicians Without Borders (VTWB) is a team of volunteer veterinary technicians who aid animals in animal sanctuaries and the wild during disaster relief efforts following a weather emergency.

Hurricane Harvey and VTWB

During Hurricane Harvey in the summer of 2017, VTWB volunteers worked with residents to save hundreds of animals from flood waters. Animals that were sick, injured, and scared received needed medical treatment, love, and compassion from volunteers. The veterinary technicians who volunteered to save these animals were thrilled to see them reunited with their families or find homes with new families.

Not only does VTWB save thousands of animals in emergency situations, but it also allows veterinary technicians to observe how veterinary medicine is practiced in other places around the world.

Skills and Qualities Needed for a Veterinary Technician During A Weather Crisis

Veterinary technicians are trained to provide assistance to veterinarians in emergency situations each day. However, in a weather emergency, they may have to care for hundreds of animals. Even veterinary technician who are trained in emergency and critical care can be overwhelmed during weather emergencies.

Critical Thinking Skills in Emergencies

It takes a special person to solve problems to save animals lives during emergencies; critical thinking skills are a must. The veterinary technician must delegate tasks to other team members to aid as many animals as possible.

Assessing Priorities as a Veterinary Technician

In a weather emergency, more animals will be brought to a temporary clinic or medical practice than usual. The veterinary technician must assess the condition of each animal and decide which ones need the most immediate care. One of the most critical points to remember is that during a weather crisis, effective communication among the veterinary staff is essential, so everyone knows what must be done to save animals lives.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how a veterinary technician can help during a weather crisis interest you? Ready to start a program to become 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.

Dog Beds: Where Should Your Dog Sleep?

Dog bed and human sleeping next to pet

First-time owners have a lot of questions about the best way to take care of their dogs and dog bed choices. One problem a lot of owners have is where their dog should sleep at night. A veterinary technician explains the sleep options available. Technicians also explain the pros and cons of each option, and how a decision can affect their pet.

When buying a dog bed, owners should choose one that is comfortable. If they’re shopping for a pad for the interior of a crate, they should choose one that’s thick enough to provide support. When they decide where their dog will sleep, putting the dog bed in a set spot provides a consistent, night-time routine.

Choosing the Best Place for Your Dog to Sleep

One of the essentials that a veterinary technician should discuss with a dog owner is that the dog is part of their family and deserves the same consideration as humans. Their dog should sleep inside, so he’s not exposed to severe weather conditions, people that steal pets, and attacks from other animals.

When choosing a dog bed, where they’ll be sleeping should be a consideration. If a dog is sleeping on a floor, the dog owner should select a pad or dog bed that provides adequate warmth and cushioning. The pillow or bed chosen should be green-friendly, so the dog isn’t subjected to hazards in the environment. Environmental risks can cause health problems for pets as they do for humans.

Choosing a Dog Bed

Here are the benefits of having a dog sleep in their own bed. A dog bed insulates a dog from a cold floor and provides cushioning for restful sleep. A personal space for a dog to sleep helps to control the amount of shedding and may discourage the dog from sleeping on furniture that’s off-limits to pets.

What Size of Dog Bed Do You Need?

The pad, crate, or bed a dog sleeps on should be large enough to accommodate their size. The bed should support the dog comfortably in any position. A dog’s crate or bed should be at a minimum, five inches wider and longer than the dog.

How Easy Is It to Clean Your Dog’s Bed?

One of the considerations when choosing the best bed, pad, or crate for a dog, is how easy it is to keep clean. Sometimes puppies and older dogs have accidents, so you should choose a bed with a cover that’s resistant to water and stains for easy cleaning. During cold weather, a dog owner can provide extra warmth for their pet by putting a blanket in their dog bed. A pad or bed that’s machine washable is an excellent option.

Choosing the Best Bed for a Dog

Top-quality dog beds are made from better materials than cheaper beds. Although it may cost more for the dog’s bed, it’s an excellent investment since it won’t have to be replaced as often as a cheaper bed would. Pets deserve as much support and comfort as we all do.

The Dog’s Sleeping Space Should Be Warm

One of the disadvantages of having a dog sleep in a bed is that they can get cold during the night and can’t pile on extra blankets. If a dog’s bed is near a window, it could get drafty during the night.

A dog’s crate, bed, or pad should be in a warm place and away from drafts. When the dog is warm and comfortable, they won’t be as likely to get into trouble while the family is sleeping.

Placing a Dog’s Bed in the Owner’s Bedroom

Some owners want their dog to be close to them at night but don’t want their dog to sleep on their bed. Consider putting the dog’s bed in the bedroom, close to the bed. The benefit to this arrangement is that a dog will feel secure being close to its owner and both the dog and owner get a good night’s rest. However, unless a dog is trained to sleep in its bed, they may end up in the owner’s space by the morning.

A Quiet Spot for Dogs

If a dog isn’t going to sleep in the owner’s bedroom, choose another quiet spot where they won’t get agitated by outside noises. Puppies and older dogs tend to bark more frequently when they hear a sound at night. Placing the dog’s crate or bed in a quiet spot will allow the dog to have a peaceful night’s sleep and will enable the owner to wake up refreshed.

Dogs Sleeping in Their Owner’s Bed

A lot of dog owners allow their pets to sleep in their beds. Others argue that it’s unhealthy because of the risk of transmitting parasites or fleas. However, a veterinarian can treat fleas, ticks, and parasites and minimize the risk.

There’s some concern that puppies that have aggressive issues may be more aggressive as adults. However, obedience training can curb these tendencies. If a dog owner is allergic to pet dander, a doctor can prescribe allergy shots to minimize the effects of pet dander.

If pet owner doesn’t have allergies and feels comfortable allowing their dog to sleep in their bed, there’s no problem with sharing the sleep space. A lot of pet owners feel more comfortable and safer at night when they allow their dog to sleep with them.

Dogs That Sleep on The Couch

Some people think that allowing their dog to sleep on the couch will cause dominant or aggressive behavior, but this isn’t true. However, it’s essential not to encourage negative behavior inadvertently. If the dog growls or gets snappy when attempting to remove it from the couch, the dog must get down or the behavior will continue.

Some dog owners don’t want their dog on any of their furniture while others choose furniture for them and their dogs. Dogs love to curl up and nap somewhere that’s soft and comfortable, and love to be close to their owners. There’s not anything wrong with allowing a dog on the bed or couch if the dog is well-behaved.

Some owners only allow their dogs on the furniture if they invite them to jump up. Consistent training is an integral part of the process.

Pillows for Dogs to Sleep On

Dog pillows are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials. The pillows are for indoor use and designed for dogs to have a warm, cushioned sleep space. Dogs that are older and may have stiff joints and mobility issues can benefit from sleeping on beds that use memory foam technology to relieve pressure points and provide more restful sleep.

Some pet parents may be concerned about keeping a pillow for their dog clean. However, most new styles are reversible or feature removable covers that can go into the washing machine for quick clean-ups.

Dog Kennels, Crates, And Carriers

Kennels and crates have a different purpose than a carrier. A carrier is made of plastic and is for transporting a dog short distances and not meant for a dog to sleep in. A veterinary technician can advise pet parents on the proper use of dog kennels, carriers, and crates.

The problem with confinement in a carrier for long periods is that a dog may become agitated and try to claw or chew their way out. Another problem is that the dog may develop aggressive tendencies toward other pets or even family members. Some dogs develop separation anxiety as a result of prolonged confinement in a carrier.

Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training takes patience and time, but it’s worth it. Here are some things you need to know about dog crates.

  • Training should be done in small steps. It takes time for a dog to get accustomed to its crate.
  • A dog crate should never be used to modify behavior or as punishment.
  • Crates should only be used for short periods.
  • Crates aren’t a substitution for training a dog.
  • Spending time in a crate should be a pleasant experience for a dog.

While dogs are learning what’s acceptable behavior, the dog’s crate limits access to certain areas of the home. One of the most important reasons for providing a dog with a crate is that the dog sees it as its den. The crate chosen for a dog will be its home inside the owner’s house.

Hard Crates

Fashion crates are constructed of rattan or wood and look more like an end table than a dog crate. The only disadvantage is that these crates have wood floors which could be damaged if the dog has accidents.

Heavy-duty crates are excellent for high-energy or large dogs. The crates are created of steel with heavy-duty latches to keep an escape artist inside. Most heavy-duty crates are on wheels, making them convenient when traveling.

Plastic crates are perfect for dogs that like to nap in their den. The crates are excellent for transporting a dog in the car and are easy to store since the top half can be taken off and stacked.

Soft-Sided Crates

For the pet parent with a small breed like a Chihuahua or a Yorkie, a soft-sided crate is a good option. However, these crates may only be used for small breeds.

Wire Crates

Wire crates are perfect for dogs that like to feel secure while watching all the activity around them. The crates offer a lot of ventilation, are available with panels that are removable so a puppy can start in a small space which can be made larger as it grows.

Wire crates are simple to keep clean. During cold weather, the owner can place a bed or pillow inside to keep the dog more comfortable. Some dog owners put a blanket over the crate at night, so it becomes a snug den.

The only disadvantage to using a crate is that some dog owners buy crates that aren’t constructed well or are the wrong size for their dog. The dog will be using the crate for its lifetime, so it’s advisable to buy a crate that’s going to last.

Want to learn more?

Did learning about dog’s sleeping areas and how a veterinary technician educates dog owners interest you? Ready to start a program to become 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.

How to Handle A Multi-Cat Household

Pet owner of multi-cat household

Cats didn’t traditionally live in socially structured groups. However, since they’ve become domesticated, they’ve been able to adapt to social structures. Multi-cat households will either avoid each other or learn to get along harmoniously. Cats want to have a spot in the home they claim as theirs.

Although it’s not necessary to live in a large house when you have a multi-cat household, it’s essential for each cat to have a place of its own. This can avoid conflicts among your feline friends, especially in close quarters.

Feline Compatibility

Cats that usually get along the best are siblings that were brought up together. However, there could be occasional conflicts if one cat is shy and another more confident. As kittens mature into adult cats, they’ll separate into sub-groups that can live together harmoniously.

An owner of a multi-cat household can establish which of their cats belong to various social groups by observing their behavior. Which cats usually play together or sleep in the same spot? Which cats typically groom each other?

Once you’ve established which cats get along well in your multi-cat household and where there could be problems, a helpful tip is to place food, water, and litter boxes for each group in separate areas of your home. This allows the ability to minimize interaction between cats that may not get along well.

A Tip About Food and Water Bowls

Feeding time in a multi-cat household can lead to competition and jealousy. Measure amounts of dry cat food left out so your cats can choose when they want to eat. Measure out food more frequently if you feed your cats wet food. Cat’s food bowls should be placed in an area where they can watch the activity around them while they eat, especially if a cat from another social group is approaching.

Large, stainless steel or ceramic bowls are best for drinking water. Cats typically prefer to drink water away from their food bowl. One reason to place the water bowl in a separate spot away from cat food is that if another of your cats approaches, the one drinking may feel as if it’s being challenged.

Multiple Litter Boxes

A lot of cats prefer to eliminate outdoors in places away from hunting and feeding areas. However, some cats feel comfortable using litter boxes indoors. For cats to feel comfortable using their litter box, they need them placed, so they feel secure. If a cat doesn’t feel comfortable using its litter box, your cat could experience problems from stress which may include:

  • Using inappropriate areas in your household
  • Bladder of bowel disease
  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention

An important tip in a multi-cat household is to use open litter boxes because covered boxes may make a cat feel trapped or vulnerable to attack from other cats.

Litter Box Considerations

  1. Most cats prefer fine litter with a consistency similar to sand. Litter that clumps together is easier to clean up.
  2. Cats prefer open litter boxes so they can view their surroundings.
  3. An important tip to make sure your cats use their litter boxes is to place them away from high-traffic areas of your home. Cats may get distracted when their litter boxes are placed near external doorways, appliances that make a lot of noise, cat doors, and full-length windows.

Private Cat Areas to Rest and Relax

All cats need a place that belongs to only them. To feel safe, cats like places that are dark and warm. Allow your cats to have spaces that require a minimum of cleaning, so they aren’t disrupted. When they go to their private area, respect their privacy as you would with any family member.

Among the places in a multi-cat household, cats love to claim as their private spaces. Cardboard cartons that are deep enough to hide in, under a bed or sofa, or inside a wardrobe where they can nap peacefully.

Cats and Sleeping Areas

All cats need a warm place to rest where they won’t be disturbed by other cats or people in your multi-cat household. Beds that are raised off the floor, in a warm room away from drafty spots and heated pads should be a necessity for all your family cats.

Some owners don’t object to their cats sleeping on their bed. The cat parent’s bed represents a place of security for cats since it has their scent on it. If there may be conflicts among your cats sleeping in your room, you may consider heated beds or pads in other locations in your home to discourage middle-of-the-night conflicts.

Toys and Areas for Play

Playtime is an essential activity for a cat. A tip to consider is that most cats that are timid won’t play in front of another more assertive cat. Play fighting could escalate into something in which one or more of your cats could be injured.

Encourage that shy kitty to be more confident by playing alone with that cat and providing, fun, interactive toys. A good rule to follow is to provide high cat perches for times when things get too intense.

Providing Each Cat with Equal Attention

All the cats in a multi-cat household should receive equal love and attention from their owners. Cats have various ways of getting their owner’s attention including meowing, especially late at night and pawing at their owner. Some cats will knock things over because they’re curious. However, knocking objects down could be to get attention.

Introducing New Cats

When you bring a new cat into your multi-cat household, encourage your cats to play together by bringing out a few toys and getting them to interact. If they aren’t interested in playing together, give each of them some special playtime alone.

Cats usually acclimate to a stranger in their midst before too long. It’s essential for your cats not to feel they’re being replaced when you create a multi-cat household.

Common Issues and Disagreements Between Cats

Common problems among multi-cat households can arise because one cat feels threatened by another more assertive cat. There may be problems if one cat is food aggressive and another approaches while they are eating.

In re-directed conflicts, a timid cat may back away from the most assertive cat in your home but try to be threatening to another cat with even less confidence. In defensive situations, a cat that feels threatened may put as much distance between itself and other family cats as possible.

Separating Cats

In an offensive situation, the cat that’s the most assertive and confident will move in on the other cats in the family and attempt to control the situation. Ways to reduce the conflicts among your cats is to keep their nails trimmed short, so they can’t injure one another.

Separate living areas in your home may be necessary for cats that habitually have conflicts. Some veterinarians prescribe medications that can modify the behavior of the offending cat. Spaying or neutering your cats can help to prevent disputes from occurring, and in worst case scenarios, you may get the advice of an animal behaviorist who can assist you with behavior modification.

Jealousy Among Family Cats

Animal behaviorists have conflicting views about whether cats feel jealousy the way humans do. What many believe is that when a new cat is brought into your household, your cat may feel like it must compete with the newcomer. Jealousy may manifest by your cat having accidents instead of using the litter box, growling or hissing at the new cat, or getting pushy about extra attention from their owner.

How to Stop Cat Jealousy

Ways to stop jealousy in a multi-cat household include petting and rewarding your cats for good behavior. When you first come home, don’t pay attention to them; they won’t feel like they must compete for your attention.

Feed your cats in separate areas to prevent food aggression. Don’t give one cat more attention than the other. Keep a few toys out for them to play with but put the food-based toys away until they get used to each other.

Parent and Kitten Relationships

The bond between male and female cats that are having a litter isn’t strong, and the female raises the kittens. The mother stays with her newborn kittens for between 24 and 48 hours to encourage them to nurse. At about five weeks of age, the mother cat discourages kittens from nursing since they’re ready for solid food.

Socializing kittens at an early age is essential, so they don’t fear humans. At about two weeks, kittens should start interacting with humans and should be ready for weaning at about eight weeks of age.

Managing A Litter of Kittens

For the first two weeks of their lives, kittens will sleep most of the time. They get their nourishment from their mother. If the mother isn’t able to nurse the kittens, bottle feeding may be necessary. The kitten’s eyes open at between seven and ten days old.

Kitten Nutrition

It’s essential for your kittens to have proper nutrition during their first weeks. They should start to be weaned and begin to eat solid food between three and four weeks and should have set feeding times.

Kittens and Litter Boxes

Kittens can be trained to use a litter box at about three weeks. Stand them in the litter box and use a front paw to scratch at the litter. Massage the genital area with a wipe or cotton ball, and they’ll usually get the idea. It may take a few times for some kittens.

By following these tips for multi-cat households, you and your cats will live a happy and peaceful life together.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how to handle multiple cats in the same household interest you? Ready to start a program to become 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.

Surgical Assistance: A Veterinary Technician’s Guide

Veterinary technicians are the heroes of the animal care world, and their role in veterinary science is unique. Some liken them to nurses, but they’re much more than that. In veterinary medicine, a veterinary technician works as a nurse, anesthetist, dental hygienist, nutritionist, lab tech, and x-ray technologist.

Among their most important tasks is to assist with minor surgery. Veterinary technicians may prepare instruments, take vital signs, monitor pets, and educate their owners. A veterinary technician to ensures the well-being of their patients throughout the entire surgical process.

Preparing for Surgery

A veterinary technician prepares animals for surgery long before the procedure begins. Surgical procedures carry risk, and owners must be informed of their risks and benefits. Pre-surgical visits allow veterinary technicians to explain pre-procedure instructions face to face. Technicians prepare pet owners for what to expect after surgery, including how to deal with mobility restrictions, healing and pain.

Like humans, animals should be in good health before surgery. Veterinarians perform exams to ensure that pets can tolerate anesthesia and surgical blood loss. Veterinary technicians may check the pet’s vital signs to ensure they are ready.

Assisting with Surgery

On the day of the operation, veterinary technicians prepare the surgical suite and the instruments needed for the procedure.  Other equipment such as vaporizers, oxygen tanks, warming pads and emergency equipment is checked for proper function before the pet is put under.

Administering Medication

Veterinary technicians may then, under the supervision of a veterinarian, administer anesthesia and other medications. The skin over the incision area is prepared and washed with disinfecting solution to prevent infection. When necessary, the veterinary technician then intubates patients, which allows anesthesia and oxygen to be administered.

Once an animal is positioned on the operating table, the veterinary technician assists with surgery by monitoring vital signs, controlling the flow of oxygen and anesthesia and when needed, providing hands-on assistance.

Anesthesia and Precision

Of all of their roles before and during surgical procedures, giving anesthesia is one of the most exacting. It requires a broad knowledge base about the effects of anesthetics and associated medications as well as potential side effects and how to intervene in the event of a reaction. Dosages based on weight must be carefully calculated and adjusted for medical conditions that could affect how the animal’s body processes it. Understanding the care, safety and use of anesthetic equipment is also critical.

After Surgery

After surgery, veterinarians depend on veterinary technicians to monitor the recovery process. Vet techs observe for signs of pain, track vital signs and keep owners informed of any changes. They may administer IV fluids, place catheters and give injections.

The surgical process wraps up when veterinary technicians educate pet owners about how the procedure went.

A Special Role for Veterinary Technicians

Beyond the love of animals and the technical expertise it takes for veterinary technicians to assist with operations, it also takes an appreciation of people and the willingness to teach pet owners what they need know to care for an animal before and after surgery.

Because pets can’t always make their needs known, a veterinary technician educates them about the surgical process from start to finish. Technicians also make sure they are ready for the aftercare involved. It’s not quite as exciting as operations, but no procedure is complete without it. Owner education is a special role, and a successful outcome depends on it.

Common Veterinary Surgical Procedures

Veterinary technicians assist in some way with nearly every minor surgical procedure. They also perform technical procedures like dental cleanings under anesthesia.

Spay or Neuter Surgery

Spaying or neutering an animal makes it unable to reproduce. Surgery is  done under general anesthesia on young, healthy pets. Full recovery occurs within a few days.

Animal welfare experts estimate that millions of companion animals are euthanized in shelters annually.  As a result, veterinarians advocate the surgery despite the risks.

Veterinary technicians play a significant role in helping pet owners understand the benefits of surgery. Spaying and neutering decreases bad behavior and types of cancer in pets.

Laceration Repair

Lacerations are deep cuts that need surgical repair. Fixes can require  stitches, staples or glue. It could also require deep tissue, nerves and blood vessel repairs.

Pets often don’t get first aid before being seen by a veterinarian, so cuts can be complicated. Veterinary technician provides assistance and cleans wounds, administers anesthesia, and applies bandages.

Pet owners depend on veterinary technicians for aftercare including pain management, suture care and how to prevent future injuries. At the follow-up appointment, a veterinary technician removes stitches.

Tumor Removals

Companion animals may get the same types of tumor that affect humans. Some tumors may be removed through surgery. The procedure is always riskier than surgeries done on healthy pets, because tumors may be a sign of cancer.

For veterinary technicians, that means assisting with more pre-surgical diagnostics. A veterinary technical makes sure the animal is well enough for surgery, and monitors during the surgery for changes in condition. Once the tumor is removed, the veterinary technician prepares a sample for biopsy.

Fracture Repair

Fracture repairs are among the most challenging surgeries veterinarians do and require more veterinary technician assistance. It takes more than two hands to manipulate bones into place and work with the orthopedic tools needed to fix the break. During complicated repairs, veterinary technicians may be asked to scrub in and handle instruments. After the surgery, the veterinary technician takes x-rays and confirms bone position. They may also apply casts and splints as needed.

Ear Surgery

Dogs with long ears are susceptible to ear infections. When an ear flap obstructs air flow to the ear canal, it traps bacteria. Treatment includes oral and topical antibiotics, but it doesn’t address the physical conditions. In cases like this, an ear canal ablation may be recommended.

This procedure removes the entire ear canal, and while it cures the problem, it does carry risks. Some hearing loss is common, and aftercare requires wearing a plastic head cone. This prevents scratching at the ear and pain management, which veterinary technicians can assist owners with.

Removal of Foreign Bodies

Pets are mischief-makers and veterinarians must often remove foreign items from places where they do not belong.

Some foreign items that are common in pets are:
  • Toys in the GI tract
  • Porcupine quills in the skin
  • Sticks wedged in the upper palate
  • Rawhide chews stuck in the esophagus

Veterinary technicians are trained to help in these cases. It is their knowledge of animal behavior that helps owners understand the risks pets encounter.

Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery is more than cosmetic for dog breeds with ectropion and entropion eyelid disorders.

Ectropion, an abnormal rolling outward of the lower eyelid, results in exposure of the conjunctiva to air, dust and bacteria, causing dry eye and repeated infections.

Entropion, an inward rolling of the eyelid margin, can cause contact between the eyeball and eyelashes or hair, especially in breeds with short noses like Pugs, and cause irritation, ulceration and eye loss.

These conditions are managed when possible, but surgery may be required. Corrective procedures for these issues are relatively simple, but aftercare is required. Veterinary technicians take a primary teaching role to help pet owners.

Dental Cleanings and Extractions

Veterinary technicians can independently perform dental cleanings on animals. The equipment used is similar and includes manual and ultrasonic scalers.

As part of a cleaning, veterinary technicians assess the condition of an animal’s mouth, look for abnormalities, scrape tartar off and polish teeth with a special paste. In most states, they can perform simple extractions that don’t require sectioning of a damaged tooth.Veterinarians do complicated removals with the veterinary technician’s assistance.

Dental Education

Because pet parents aren’t always familiar with how important dental health is for animals, it falls on the shoulders of the veterinary technician to provide high-quality owner education. Toothaches, for example, are not only painful for animals but they can affect how they eat and cause nutritional deficiencies. When bacteria are trapped under the gums for extended periods, it can also affect their heart and kidneys. Since handling animals is a veterinary technician’s specialty, they are well-equipped to teach about oral hygiene and demonstrate brushing techniques, something most pet owners aren’t comfortable doing without instruction.

Valuable Resources for Pet Owners

Veterinary technicians assist with surgeries of all kinds. They serve as liaisons between pet owners and veterinarians and are valuable resources for anxious pet parents before, during and after surgical procedures. As part nurse, part surgical technician and part owner-support system, it’s a big responsibility, and it takes commitment. However, it’s a lot of fun, always exciting and forever rewarding.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how veterinary technicians assist in minor surgery interest you? Ready to start a program to become 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.

Hematology & Parasitology: A Veterinary Lab Guide

Veterinary technicians work closely with veterinarians to ensure pets get the best care possible. Two of the most important branches of medicine, hematology and parasitology, are common studies with veterinary technicians who must be knowledgeable about both. These branches of medicine are taught during a medical assistant program offered at many vocational schools.

Hematology

Hematology is the study of blood, blood disorders, treatment, and prevention of diseases such as: leukemia, anemia, myeloma, and lymphoma. Blood disorders include platelet disorders, vascular disorders, and clotting platelet disorders.

Leukemia

Leukemia refers to several different kinds of cancers in bone marrow. Both dogs and cats can develop blood cell cancers. White blood cells are highly concentrated in bone marrow and they can progress into lymphoid or myeloid cells. Leukemia can be either acute or chronic.

Leukocytes that reproduce too quickly causes acute leukemia. A dog’s red and white blood cell count is too low and cannot fight the disease. It is more commonly found in dogs that are 5-6 years old. Symptoms of this disease can include lethargy, loss of appetite, red or purple spots on the skin, and swollen lymph nodes.

Feline Leukemia

Only cats can contract feline leukemia. It is a virus that impairs their immune system and can cause cancer. It is completely preventable and is caused from cats interacting with other contagious cats. Symptoms are similar to that found in dogs, such as lethargic and loss of appetite. Other symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, ear infections, fever, weak, and wobbly on their feet.

Diagnosing Leukemia

The most common way to diagnose leukemia is from a blood test. Veterinary technicians perform these blood tests in Wellness exams and if a pet owner suspects they have an ill animal. Veterinary technicians also analyze these blood tests by red blood count and hemoglobin concentration. If the red blood cell count is high, the animal may be diagnosed with polycythemia. A low blood cell count may indicate anemia or bleeding.

In testing white blood cells, veterinary technicians are aware of these five types: neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes. The most common white blood cell is the neutrophil. These blood cells consume bacteria and will increase if there is an infection, inflammation, or stress. Another white blood cell is the eosinophil, which counts go up if there is an allergy, certain kinds of tumors, and parasites. If the basophils count is high, it’s a sign of inflammation. Monocytes increase in number if there is a sign of a chronic disease, and a high count of lymphocytes may indicate leukemia.

Anemia

Low red blood count can cause anemia if pets. In taking an animal’s blood, veterinary technicians are able to diagnose this condition. Lab work is needed to identify anemia by performing a packed cell volume (PCV) test. Veterinary technicians then help to determine the cause. Some of the causes of anemia are from a severe injury, an immune-mediated disease, infectious disease, flea infestations poison, certain medications, and chronic diseases (such as kidney disease or certain cancers).

Signs or symptoms of anemia are:

  • A change of color in your dog’s gums
  • Fatigue
  • Bruises on your dog’s skin
  • Dark blood in your dog’s feces or vomit

Myeloma

Myeloma is bone marrow cancer derived from a clonal population of plasma cells that are cancerous. It’s an uncommon type of cancer but occurs more in purebred dogs, such as the German shepherd.

Signs or symptoms of myeloma are:
  • Sluggishness
  • Lameness
  • Fever
  • Bleeding from the nose or eye
  • Increased thirst and urination

Lymphoma

Lymphoma cancer stems from lymphocytes. Most lymphoma cancers are found in spleens, lymph nodes, and bone marrow. While there are over 30 kinds, the four most common are: multicentric, alimentary, mediastinal, and extranodal.

Multicentric is the most common and usually affects the lymph nodes. Symptoms of multicentric are swollen lymph nodes, fever, lethargy, and weakness. They may also be prone to dehydration.

Alimentary is the next most common and affects the intestines. Symptoms of alimentary are diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting.

Mediastinal is rare and affects the thymus and/or the mediastinal lymph nodes become enlarged in the animal’s chest. Symptoms of mediastinal are difficulty with breathing, swelling in front legs or face, and increased thirst and urination.

Extranodal is a type of cancer that targets a certain organ, with the most common being the skin. Symptoms of extranodal include raised nodules or scaly lesions on the skin. However, if it affects the lungs, then the animal’s respiratory system becomes distressed. If it’s in the nervous system, then the animal may have seizures.

In diagnosing Lymphoma, veterinary technicians take samples of the affected organ by using a fine-needle aspirator. After taking samples, they evaluate the tissue or by a cytology exam. Their studies on hematology are very important in understanding these diseases.

Parasitology

Parasitology is the science dealing with animal parasites or the interactions of a host and the parasites found on or in the host. Veterinary parasitology takes into consideration all aspects of parasites, including the biochemistry, physiology, and morphology. It also includes treating and controlling any diseases or infections caused by parasites and their effect on domestic animals and humans. There are three major groups of parasites: protozoa, helminths, and arthropods.

Protozoa

A protozoa is a single-celled organisms with a nucleus and a nuclear membrane. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians make calculated assumptions that an animal has a protozoal parasite and will prescribe a medication to treat it. This is actually called diagnostic therapeutics because the diagnosis isn’t easy. They tend to be more prevalent in puppies and kittens. Coccidia and Giardia are the most common intestinal parasites.

Coccidia

These parasites infect the cells of the small intestines. Although there are numerous types that infect both dogs and cats, Isospora is the most common. Coccidia will spread from an animal eating an infected fecal material, such as a rodent or an infected host. These infections are usually harmless and are eliminated through natural body defense. If treatment is necessary, the veterinary technician may treat the animal with sulfa drugs and make sure its surroundings are clean and well kept.

Giardia

These are also one cell-organisms that are pear-shaped and infect the small intestines of cats and dogs. Common symptoms of Giardia include watery diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss. Adult animals may have the parasite but show no outward sign. It’s most often found in beavers and is thought they are the primary reservoir for the infection. Domestic animals usually come down with giardia by drinking contaminated stream or pond water. Veterinary technicians may treat giardia with a drug called metronidazole. Prevention of giardia occurs by keeping the home sanitized and insuring your pet has clean water.

Helminths

Helminths, or worms are often prescribed with broad-spectrum parasite control. Dog’s gastrointestinal systems are still affected. Veterinary technicians often perform annual fecal exams for signs of worms like hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and roundworms.

Hookworms

Hookworms are usually found in puppies and causes severe anemia. They actually hook onto their intestine’s lining and feed off the small blood vessels. Dogs get hookworms from their mother’s milk, oral ingestion, skin contact, and in utero. Catching hookworms early can prevent pets from having discomfort and becoming very sick. Symptoms to watch for include anemia, pale gums, bloody diarrhea, itchy paws, and weight loss. To check to see if your dog has hookworms, veterinary technicians may perform a test called a fecal float to search for eggs. There are drugs or de-wormers available to kill hookworms. On occasion, a veterinary technician may need to perform a transfusion.

Whipworms

Whipworms live in the colon and cecum, where the large and small intestines meet and attach themselves to the mucosal lining. Since it’s not easy to detect them, watch out for the following symptoms: bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia. Veterinary technicians take stool samples and then examine them under microscopes.

Veterinarians may have their veterinary technicians give the dog an anti-worm medication to treat the whipworms. Prevention occurs from the use of heartworm medication. It is important to properly clean a pet’s home or kennel and that the area is moisture free.

Tapeworms

An adult flea transmits tapeworms to dogs. The flea settles in their small intestines and can also be transmitted to humans. Therefore, it’s critical to destroy the tapeworm before it gets to that point. If you notice dried, cream or white colored pieces broken off in feces or in the fur under the tail, this could be a sign of tapeworms. Also, if a dog drags their hind quarters over the ground, it’s likely due to itching, which is another possible sign. Veterinary technicians analyze stool samples for signs of tapeworms. Oral medication or an injection may be given for treatment.

Roundworms

Roundworms are also found in a dog’s intestines. Sometimes you may notice them in the pet’s poop or vomit. Puppies may get roundworms from their mother’s milk, eating a roundworm’s eggs, or from eating mice. Some symptoms you may notice are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, or a pot-belly. A veterinary technician may treat roundworms with deworming drugs after giving them a fecal exam.

Arthropods

Arthropods are invertebrate animals comprising of three major types: Insects (beetles and ants), Crustacea (crabs), and Arachnids (spiders, ticks, and fleas). Pets get fleas from other infested animals, such as dogs, cats, raccoons, and opossums are some of the main carriers. The pet can get ticks from tall grass or walking through the woods. Fleas can cause allergies, but are killed with sprays or spot on treatments.

By studying hematology and parasitology, veterinary technicians, along with Veterinarians, can advise pet owners the best ways to treat diseases and infections. They can also provide excellent advice on prevention and care.

Did learning about Hematology and Parasitology interest you? Ready to start a program to become 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.

Petting a Dog or Cat the Right Way

Women petting small dogEnjoy meeting new dogs and cats but wonder what is the right way to pet a dog or cat? Dogs and cats are both domesticated species but there are a lot of differences between canines and felines. Further, each dog and cat are different. The primary differences are character, nature and physical appearance.

The Nature and Characteristics of Cats

Cats are independent animals and usually content to be on their own. A cat is more possessive of its territory than its owner or other animals. Felines love small spaces to curl up in but may also enjoy sitting on their owner’s lap. Some cats like to be petted or scratched behind the ears. They may walk over to greet you when you come home or may seem indifferent and observe you from a comfortable distance.

A cat can be house trained quickly if there’s a litter box nearby. However, using a litter box is more intuitive to a cat rather than actual training. The climbing and jumping abilities that a cat possesses make it easier to get away from a predator or to hide in a safe place if it feels there’s a nearby threat.

A cat is a natural carnivore and must eat some meat to survive. The metabolism of a cat differs from a dog since a cat doesn’t burn off fat reserves as a dog does. If a cat goes without food for too long, it begins to break down non-fatty tissue that’s necessary for energy.

When a feline’s non-fatty tissue breaks down, it may cause a condition that’s known as hepatic lipidosis. Cats catch their prey by creeping up on it, not running long distances. The ability of a cat to climb allows it to evade predators or observe what’s going on from a safe place.

How Dogs Are Different from Cats

By contrast, dogs are social and love being around people. Dogs are delighted to see their owners when they awaken in the morning or even after a brief nap. When you’ve been at work or away for the entire day, a dog will wag its whole body and may try to jump on you because they’re so happy to see you. A lot of dogs are lap dogs and love to be close to you. Dogs love spending time with their owners whether it’s playing in the yard, going for a walk, or taking a journey to the dog park.

A dog is more natural to train than a cat, and most can learn to respond to basic commands within a few minutes. Many dogs can learn “come,” “sit,” or “stay” with a brief training session. However, housebreaking a dog can be a work in progress. Some dogs catch on faster than others when it comes to house training.

To be a capable hunter, a dog needs its pack. However, a dog is a natural scavenger and can survive longer on whatever food is available than a cat. A dog that’s in the wild will catch its prey by running long distances to find it, if necessary. A dog is capable of surviving on fat reserves longer than a cat.

How A Cat or Dog Responds to New People

Although a lot of people find a cat or kitten irresistible and want to pet it as soon as it strolls into the room, there’s a right way and a wrong way to greet a cat for the first time. Each cat has a distinct personality and may be an introvert or extrovert.

Some cats will walk up to a new person to greet them while others will dive under the bed and stay there until your guests leave. Two of the essential factors in the behavior of a cat are genetics and socialization. If the parents of your cat were strays or feral, your cat might have a nervous disposition.

If your cat came from a shelter and had minimal exposure to other people and cats, the environment in your home may be a little overwhelming until the cat becomes accustomed to its surroundings.

Some dogs are relaxed around people they don’t know and will come up to greet them when they come into your home. However, if your dog came from a shelter or was previously in an abusive environment, they may feel fearful or shy around new people. Some dogs will bark non-stop when they’re being introduced to visitors.

You don’t want your dog to be so fearful that it doesn’t enjoy visiting new places and making friends with new people and other dogs. Your dog should always be introduced to people it doesn’t know in a way that’s relaxed and doesn’t make him feel threatened.

Initiating Contact with A Cat

A cat needs to feel that it’s in control of its environment and should be the one to set the tone of the first encounter with a new person. The cat needs to feel that it’s the one in control of the situation and people involved, which will give it the confidence to feel comfortable in different situations. Children can seem intimidating to a cat when they move quickly or speak in a loud voice.

Initiating Contact with A Dog

When you have people coming to your home that aren’t familiar to your dog, your dog should be confined to another room until your guests are all seated. The person you are trying to acquaint your dog with should never speak to or approach the dog or attempt to start petting it.

The unfamiliar person should crouch down or stand sideways and not make eye contact with the dog. The idea is to overcome your dog’s shyness or fear of new people, so you shouldn’t reward it with treats until it responds favorably. The person you’re introducing your dog to should drop treats on the floor nearby or hold them out for your pup to investigate. When the dog feels comfortable and accepts the treats, it has made a new friend.

Letting the Dog or Cat Approach You

A cat feels comfortable around people that it doesn’t consider threatening. It’s important when meeting a timid cat for the first time to avoid eye contact and make yourself seem smaller by sitting or kneeling. Some cats feel more confident approaching strangers if they’re off the floor and sitting on a cat perch. One way to get a cat that’s fearful of having interaction with you is to slowly blink at the cat to show her you don’t intend to harm her. If a cat closes its eyes when it’s with you, that’s a sign that you’ve been accepted, and the cat feels comfortable in your presence.

When meeting a dog for the first time, let the dog initiate the contact and crouch down facing sideways. If a dog is timid, let it make the first move without extending your hand or speaking. Act as if you’re ignoring it until the dog feels that you’re a safe person.

If the dog is relaxed and confident, you can gently tap your leg while speaking to it and encouraging the dog to approach you. A friendly dog will approach a new person wagging their tail and exhibiting a relaxed body posture. If the dog makes eye contact with you, that’s an indication that more interaction is wanted.

How To Hold Your Hand Before Petting A Dog Or Cat

You should never reach for a cat or hold your hand over it. Extend a hand slowly and let the cat sniff it. If the cat feels comfortable around you and rubs against you, gently extend your hand and rub behind the cat’s ears with your fingers. When the cat rubs itself against you, that’s an indication that you may begin gently petting the cat.

When reaching over to pat a dog for the first time, never pass your hand over the dog’s head. Another point to remember is that many dogs don’t like being touched on these areas:

  • Ears
  • Legs
  • Tail
  • Paws
  • Muzzle
  • Head

Where Most Dogs Are Comfortable Being Petted

Approach the dog from the side and gently pat it using a gentle scratching or massaging motion. Move your hand or fingers in the direction in which the coat lies. Dogs have different areas where they love to be petted including the chest, the base of their tail, the back of the neck, the shoulders, or under their chin.

Petting a dog the proper way can be relaxing and therapeutic for them and the person they’re interacting with. When a dog is completely relaxed with the person they’re interacting with; they may roll over on their back and offer their belly to be rubbed. This posture is a dog’s way of showing submission.

Offering A Treat

When meeting a timid cat or dog for the first time, they can feel more comfortable around you if you offer a toy to play with or a tasty treat. Some dogs get very excited when they’re meeting new friends. You can calm your pup down by showing the person you’re introducing them to some of your dog’s favorite tricks. Getting them to perform a few tricks to get one of their favorite treats is a distraction and will have a calming effect.

When meeting a cat for the first time, get down to the cat’s level. It can be difficult how to judge how a cat will react when meeting someone for the first time because their behavior can be unpredictable. The atmosphere in the room where the cat is siting should be relaxing. There shouldn’t be any loud noises, and if young children are present, they should be in another place while you and the cat are getting acquainted.

Paying attention to the cat’s body language is essential. Some cats are more interested in meeting new people if the person ignores them at first. The cat will be curious and approach you. You can extend your open hand to see if the cat will sniff it. You may have a treat in your hand to entice the cat. When the cat feels comfortable being around you, gently caress the back down to the base of the tail. Lightly scratch the face behind the cat’s whiskers, or at the bottom of the ears.

Reasons Why A Dog or Cat May Not Want to be Petted

Some dogs don’t care to be petted, and it may come from birth. Very independent dogs sometimes aren’t as affectionate as other dogs. They still love their owners but don’t require a lot of affection from their owners. Dogs with dominant personalities often prefer to be on their own. They enjoy the companionship of their owners but don’t need a lot of affection.

Some dogs that didn’t get a lot of affection when they were puppies, don’t respond well to petting as adults. Dogs that don’t respond well to love from their owners often like interactive play. Training, a lot of play, and delicious treats can help your relationship with dogs that don’t respond to a lot of affection.

Signs That Cats Don’t Want to be Petted

If a cat has its ears back against its head, or its tail is twitching, it’s an indication that the cat is telling you to back off. Fidgeting, growling or hissing are signs that cats don’t want to be petted. Cats like to keep to themselves and meet people on their terms, so you should respect their space.

Some cats get spooked easily and prefer sitting quietly with their owners and having an occasional scratch behind the ears rather than being picked up. Cats with a timid personality feel more secure merely spending time with their owners.

Did learning about how to pet a dog or cat the right way interest you? Ready to start a program to become 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.

Pet Travel: A Vet Tech Guide

Pet travel under airplane seat.A lot of pet parents don’t like to travel unless their pets can come along. It is estimated that almost half of all pet owners take their pets with them when they travel. There are more details to handle when your pet is going with you. With careful planning your dog or cat will be safe and comfortable on the journey.

Prepare For Your Trip

If your pet has never been on a long trip, there are preparations you should make to ensure the trip goes smoothly. You can start taking your pet on short trips in the car and gradually increase the duration of the trips. Always keep your pet crated on these short trips.

Take your cat or dog for short walks around the airline terminal or train station, so they get accustomed to different sounds and smells. Speak encouraging words to your pet and offer a reward for good behavior. When you get to the airport or train station, take your pet for a walk around the terminal or station before you board. A walk will help your pet to expend all that excess energy that could result in a stressful trip. Your cat or dog will be more relaxed and likely sleep better during your journey.

Safe Travel for Pets by Air or Transportation Vehicle

One of the essential considerations, when your dog or cat is traveling by air or on a train with you, is a crate that’s designed to be safe and is the proper size for your cat or dog. The crate should be approved by the IATA, the International Air Transport Association. Things to consider when booking airline travel for your pet:

  • When You’ll Be Traveling
  • Where You’re Traveling To
  • Weight and Size of Your Pet
  • A Suitable Crate for Confinement
  • Guidelines for Crate Dimensions
  • Number of Pets Traveling

Check With Your Airline

Check with the airline to make sure that the freight facility at the airport is open. Airlines prefer people traveling with pets to fly on weekdays since more staff is available to accommodate them. Some airlines restrict the number of pets that can fly on one flight so make sure they can accept your pet on the date and time you wish to fly.

If you’re traveling in your own country, a non-stop flight might be preferable. However, if you’re flying internationally, you may want to schedule one or more stopovers. Each country has regulations about flying with pets, so make sure you read and understand the guidelines before booking your flight.

Flying in the Cabin

Cats and small dogs are the only pets that are allowed to travel in the cabin with their owners. Larger dogs must travel in a hold that has ventilation and is heated. Dogs that travel in the hold are in an environment that’s dark and quieter than the cabin of the plane so they can rest more comfortably.

Fly Safe: Crates and Kennels

You should choose a container that’s the right size for your dog or cat to sit and stand comfortably, to stand up and turn around, and to have enough room to lie down naturally without being cramped.

The following data is used to calculate the correct dimensions for a crate for your pet when you’re traveling by air or train.

  1. Length of the pet from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail
  2. Height from the ground to elbow joint
  3. Width of the pet’s shoulders at the widest point
  4. Height of the pet when standing
  5. Height of the crate

The Animal Welfare Act under the United States Department of Agriculture has specific guidelines regarding the number of pets that may be shipped in the same crate. No more than two puppies or kittens that are aged six months to two years may be sent in the same crate. The cats or dogs must weigh 20 pounds or less.

Proper Steps for Safe Air Travel with A Pet

When you’re traveling with a pet, whether they’ll be in the plane’s cabin or the cargo hold, you want to ensure that your pet is safe and comfortable during the journey. Here’s what you need to know about air travel when you’re taking your pet along.

Air Travel Pet Dos:

Before Your Trip
  1. Make advance reservations for pets when you book your flight. Airlines have the right to refuse to allow pets if there are too many booked for a flight.
  2. Crate your pet. Stores that sell pet supplies have hard-sided crates for pets that will travel in the cargo area and soft-sided crates for pets that will travel in the cabin.
  3. Line your pet’s crate with an absorbent material.
  4. Fill a water bowl with ice that won’t spill during boarding and can melt so your pet will have fresh water during the trip.
For the Flight
  1. Have easy access to your pet’s collar and leash for a walk before departure, but don’t take your pet out of the crate in the terminal.
  2. Check that your pet is wearing an ID tag. Verify that your name, address, phone number, and the pet’s name is up to date. Attach an identification tag to the travel kennel.
  3. Spend time in the travel kneel before your trip, so it won’t be stressed with the new environment.
  4. Latch the crate door securely, but do not lock. A bag of food should be attached to the exterior of the crate for feeding during layovers.

Air Travel Pet Don’ts

  1. High altitudes and tranquilizers can be a dangerous, so don’t sedate your pet before flying.
  2. Never muzzle your pet during air travel. If your cat or dog should get a digestive upset, this could be extremely dangerous.

Driving with Pets in the Car So They’re Safe

A lot of cat owners agree that riding with your cat in the car isn’t a good idea. However, if you must drive with your cat in the car, make sure to use a cat carrier. Most cats hate the carrier and will howl, but it’s safer for your cat and you. If you’re making a more extended trip and your cat will be traveling with you, make sure your cat has access to food, water, and a litter box in the car.

Proper Safety Restraint in the Back Seat of Your Car

The responsibility of a dog owner is to make sure their dog is safe when traveling by car. The definition of restraint usually means that the dog doesn’t have the ability to interfere with the driver while you’re on the road. The type of restraint you use depends on the size of your dog and its temperament. Here are the best backseat restraints for dogs:

  • Barriers
  • Booster Seats
  • Harnesses and Seatbelts
  • Transport Carriers

Barriers

For larger dogs, a barrier is an excellent option. For SUV’s, trucks, and large model cars, a pet-resistant, barrier made of heavy-duty mesh is the ideal way to let your large dog enjoy the ride while keeping it safe.

Booster Seats

Booster seats can allow small dogs to see out the window without sticking their head out and potentially getting injured. You may want to use an additional harness to keep your dog safe, and in place, in the event, you must brake quickly.

Harnesses

If you have a large-breed dog who enjoys sitting on the back seat and watching the scenery as you drive, a harness with an attachment for the seat belt is an excellent option. One style that can keep your dog safely in place features a loop that goes over the shoulders that the seat belt can be looped through.

Transport Carriers

Transport carriers are like a den for a dog. To get them accustomed to the carrier before you’re on the road, put a bed in the carrier with a few treats and leave the door open so your dog can enter and leave the crate at will. For smaller dogs, the safest place to put a transport carrier is on the floor in the back of the front seat. If you should have to brake suddenly, the crate will get jostled around less than if you place it at the end of the car.

Problems with Having A Dog Loose in the Car

One of the primary reasons for not letting your dog be loose in the car is that if you’re involved in an accident or have to stop suddenly, the dog can become a projectile, which could potentially be fatal. Using a restraint or crate is the safest way to protect your dog while you’re on the road.

Why A Dog Shouldn’t Put Their Face Out the Window

A lot of people think their dog looks cute and so excited when they put their head out the car window. However, letting your dog put his face out the window of the car is a terrible idea.

When you’re traveling on the highway at speeds more than 65 mph, debris from the road can get hurled upward. A rock could shatter your windshield, and you and your dog could be seriously injured. A dog can’t withstand the impact of debris in the road hitting them.

Another problem is that breathing in rapidly rushing air could be harmful to a dog’s lungs. Keep the windows down enough so your dog can get fresh air but not so much that they can put their head out.

Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car

Each year thousands of pets die because they’re left in a hot car. Even with the windows cracked open on a warm day, temperatures inside the vehicle can reach 120 degrees, and your dog can die from the heat. Some states have passed Good Samaritan laws that allow someone to break the windows of a car to let a dog out of a hot car. The best thing to do is to leave your dog at home where it’s comfortable and cool.

Why A Dog Shouldn’t Sit in A Truck Bed

Although some dog owners see nothing wrong with letting their dog ride in the bed of their truck, an estimated 100,000 dogs die each year in accidents when they’re allowed to ride in the bed of their owner’s truck.

A dog that gets distracted and has a tendency to chase small animals could jump out of the truck if you hit the brakes suddenly or get involved in an accident. In a crash, your dog could be ejected from the truck and have serious injuries or worse.

Use of Kennels and Carriers

Your dog should always ride in the backseat as your children do. Airbags can go off and seriously injure children and pets. Always make sure to use restraint to keep your dog safe.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about travel safety with pets interest you in becoming a vet tech? Ready to start a program to become 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.

The Veterinary Technician’s Administration Role

For animal lovers, work as a veterinary technician can be a dream come true. You receive the certification and training you need to perform a variety of veterinary duties. Depending on the position, there are also a number of duties in clinic administration you may be responsible for.

There is a difference between veterinary technicians and assistants. A veterinary assistant requires less education. Because of this, they tend to handle clinic administration issues. Veterinary technicians have more interaction with pet owners and animals. They have a greater amount of responsibility to run tests and administer medications.

In smaller offices, a veterinary technician may take on many of the duties. Veterinary technicians should also be familiar with basic administration regardless of where they work.

Veterinary Technician Versus Veterinary Assistant Roles

First of all, veterinary technician and veterinary assistants have slightly different roles. Depending on the size of the office, there may be a significant amount of overlap between the two roles. Veterinary technicians can expect to perform some administration roles.

Veterinary Technicians

A veterinary technician helps animals live happy, healthy lives. Technicians have a variety of clinical skills and knowledge to provide animals with care. Veterinary technicians perform a number of tasks around the office.

Veterinary Assistants

In contrast, veterinary assistants perform more administrative roles in the office. A veterinary technician prepares animals to undergo surgery and administer prescribed medication. In contrast, a veterinary assistant tends to the daily operations in the office.

Administrative Roles

There are many day-to-day tasks that help the clinic run smoothly. For most people, working in administration means office management. Some duties are universal, while others are unique to veterinary offices.

Answering Phones

A veterinary technician schedules emergency appointments if an animal has an unexpected health issue. Depending on the size of the clinic, the way these situations are handled may vary. The veterinary technician may recommend emergency care or calm pet owners over the phone.

Checking in Pets

A veterinary technician or assistant checks in animals in when they arrive. The attendant makes sure that the pet is on time and notifies the veterinarian. If there are scheduling issues, the veterinary technician adjusts the schedule so the pet can be seen as soon as possible.

Adding Information to Charts

The veterinary technician needs to add information to the pet’s chart. The veterinary technician looks through their records to find information about medical conditions, visits, and medications.

When the veterinary technician talks to the pet owners, they ask questions about the pet’s health and behavior. If the pet is injured, they’ll need to find out how the injury occurred and may perform an assessment of the injured area.

Helping with Billing

A veterinary technician might be asked to help with various aspects of the billing process. This includes talking to health insurance companies, talking to pet owners, and updating patient accounts when payments have been received.

Supporting the Veterinarian

In a veterinary technician position, the most important part of the job is supporting the veterinarian. Different workplaces will have different needs depending on their standard daily operations, size, and the type of care they most commonly provide.

A good way to think about a veterinary technician’s role is by comparing it to a human nurse. Similarly, the veterinary technician records and organizes a great deal of information around the veterinary office.

Educating Animal Owners

One of the most common duties veterinary technicians perform is educating pet owners. The veterinarian diagnoses conditions and provides medication prescriptions. However, the veterinary technician is expected to have a working understanding of the diagnoses and medications.

The veterinary technician explains to the pet owner how to administer medication. They’ll also educate the pet owner about health conditions and guide them through care. In some cases, the veterinary technician educates owners about pet safety.

The veterinary technician will want to have information about their pet’s health and needs. If owners call with follow-up questions, the veterinary technician may be the one to answer them.

Office Organization

Administrative freedom varies widely depending on the job. In a small practice, part of the veterinary technician duties may be to keep the office organized.

The veterinary technician needs to be familiar with the computer systems and organization. Since a lot of information is still on paper, they’ll also need to make sure there’s a filing system. Keeping information organized saves veterinary technicians time and energy and makes everyone’s jobs easier.

Streamlining Office Processes

A veterinary technician may streamline processes around the veterinary office. For examples, this might mean organizing projects to get on-paper data transferred to a digital system. It might also include suggesting policies that allow information to be transferred.

Supporting the Veterinarian

Veterinary technicians have a fulfilling career helping animals. They have the knowledge and skills to provide nursing care to pets. Likewise, they become certified much faster than a fully licensed veterinarian. Veterinary assistants handle the veterinary administration jobs.

How much administrative responsibility veterinary technicians have is a great interview question. It helps to be familiar with the workflow of an office. Every veterinary technician job is unique.

Want to Learn More?

Ready to start a program to become 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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