vet tech Archives | Broadview University

What Animals are Considered Exotic Animals?

Person working with an exotic animal

A career as a vet tech offers exciting and unusual opportunities for anyone who loves animals. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work in a zoo or animal sanctuary, working with exotic animals as a vet tech may be the right career for you.

What Are Exotic Animals?

An animal that originates in a foreign country or an animal that’s introduced into a new country from abroad is considered to be an exotic species. Another definition is an animal that’s an unusual species that someone keeps as a pet. Some animal experts believe any animal that’s not domesticated, like a dog or a cat, to be exotic.

A species is considered to be animals if they’re domestic pets, or used for teaching, research, testing, experimentation, or in exhibits. The exceptions to the rule depend on the legal designation of an animal. Domesticated exotic animals include:

  • Birds
  • Horses not used for research purposes
  • Mice and Rats in research

Animals raised on farms aren’t considered to be animals if they’re raised for their fiber, as food, or various types of research in agricultural settings.

Where Will Vet Techs Work with Exotic Animals?

A vet tech that’s interested in working with exotic animals must first earn a vet tech degree. After qualifying as a certified vet tech, they may take specialty courses that focus on exotic animal care. Between two and four years of additional studies and fieldwork is necessary to become an exotic animal vet tech.

Zoo

Zoo vet techs provide support to veterinarians that care for exotic zoo animals. Vet techs assist veterinarians with procedures and exams. They have the expertise to care for hundreds of different species. Zoo vet techs are qualified to work in environments, including research labs and aquariums. They may also take positions in various other fields of exotic animal care.

Among the many duties a zoo vet tech may be required to handle include administering first aid, running diagnostic tests, and preparing animals for surgery. They must understand how to keep themselves and the exotic animals they care for safe. Extensive fieldwork is a requirement for any vet tech who wishes to work in a zoo.

Sanctuary

The demand for specialty vet techs is on the rise and is expected to continue for the next several years. One of the options open to a vet tech is to work in a sanctuary or wildlife rehabilitation center. Working in an animal sanctuary allows a vet tech to care for exotic animals that have been rescued. These animals require special care to rehabilitate them so they can be released into the wild.

In some cases, the animals will live out their lives in a sanctuary. A vet tech is responsible for assisting with routine examinations as well as caring for animals that have health problems. A veterinary technician must know about the nutritional needs of the animals in their care and how to prepare their food. A sanctuary vet tech may assist with spay or neuter surgery, perform first aid on injured animals, and assist the veterinarian during rounds.

Avian Vet Tech

Although some vet techs may work with avian veterinarians in wildlife sanctuaries or zoos, many pet owners love exotic birds and keep them as pets. Nearly three percent of all pet owners in the country own an exotic bird like a parrot or cockatiel, which equates to about 3.5 million pet owners that have at least two birds, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Domesticated and wild birds require veterinary care for routine checkups and the occasional injury. The most common reason a pet owner takes their exotic bird to the veterinarian is due to an injury to a wing. An exotic vet tech may be the person that evaluates the bird’s injury to determine the most effective treatment.

Animal Hospital

Although most vet techs provide care for domestic pets, in the last few years, there’s more interest in exotic animals. These pets require wellness checkups, special nutritional needs, and compassionate care like domestic pets do. Pets that are considered to be exotic have traditionally been reptiles, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

A vet tech that specializes in the care of exotic animals will assist with and restrain animals for examinations, administer medications or vaccines, provide first aid, and assist with a surgery. Vet techs that care for these animals must have extensive knowledge of different exotic species.

It’s vital that an exotic animal vet tech understands how different species react when treated for injuries or given medication. Even domestic animals can be unpredictable, and the same applies to exotic animals. Administering anesthesia to exotic animals requires knowledge of the species and possible reactions.

How to Take Care of Exotic Animals from a Vet Tech’s Perspective

Caring for cats and dogs is something that every vet tech understands and can share with a pet parent. However, there are many species of exotic animals, vet techs must have education beyond the two-year program required to work in the field. The following are the needs of exotic pets and what vet techs should educate owners about:

Exotic Pets Require Different Habitats

Domesticated pets like cats and dogs can adjust to their living conditions in an owner’s home. As long as they have a warm, comfortable place to sleep, plenty of nutritious food, and time with their owners, they’re usually happy. However, exotic pets have unique needs. For example, reptiles can’t adjust their body temperature and may need a lamp that provides heat to keep them comfortable. A vet tech should explain the type of habitat an exotic pet needs to thrive and stay healthy.

Dietary Needs

Exotic animals didn’t live in captivity before people decided to make them pets. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, and so do all exotic species. For example, rabbits love Timothy Hay, vegetables, and pellets, while Sugar Gliders are fond of fresh vegetables and fruits, especially those that are sweet.

Activity and Interaction with Owners

Dogs and cats naturally interact with their owners and love to play. If a pet owner has an exotic pet like a parrot or cockatiel, they love to interact with their owners and are very affectionate. A vet tech should explain to an owner what type of activities different exotic species like so they’re happy and content.

Love and Affection

A vet tech can’t stress too strongly how much any pet needs a lot of affection and love from their owners. Exotic pets may not express themselves as a dog or cat does, but they still need a lot of attention. Small mammals love playing with toys. Exotic birds like to be let out of their cages and fly around the house. Owners should be cautioned only to allow a bird out when it’s safe, since they can escape outside.

How Does a Vet Tech Interact with Exotic Animals?

A lot of vet tech students are intrigued by the possibility of caring for exotic animals in a veterinary hospital, sanctuary, or a zoo. Vet techs must understand that priority is always given to the welfare of each animal they care for. An exotic animal vet tech must be agile and have a lot of strength and stamina.

Animals can be unpredictable, especially when they’re scared or injured. Vet techs must know the proper way to handle large animals to keep themselves and the animals safe. Even the gentlest animal doesn’t always behave well when they’re sick or hurt. A vet tech should always be calm and approach an animal cautiously. They should speak in a soft, soothing voice that can help to allay an animal’s fears.

An exotic animal vet tech must be prepared for unusual circumstances. For example, the veterinary technician who works with zoo animals may have to stay with a pregnant animal that’s about to give birth or monitor an animal recovering from surgery. The main requirements for any vet tech are that they have love for all animals and are prepared to do whatever it takes to care for them.

Are you interested in learning more about exotic animals? Do you have the qualities needed to become a good vet tech? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities 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.

What is Included in Vet Tech Diagnostic Imaging?

Vet tech using diagnostic imaging

Are you interested in taking care of animals and learning about new technology? As a vet tech, you get to use the latest in diagnostic imaging technology. Also, working as a vet tech is challenging and rewarding, especially when you help an animal regain their health. Although the work is demanding, it’s an excellent learning experience.

What is Vet Tech Diagnostic Imaging?

Diagnostic imaging is a specialty of veterinary medicine that uses advanced technology including the CT scan, ultrasound and X-Ray.

CT Scan – is a diagnostic imaging technique used to detect bone and joint problems, like fractures and tumors. CT scans are painless to humans and animals.

Ultrasound – is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to make an image of an animal’s internal structure. It can help diagnose the cause of pain, swelling and infection in an animal’s body. Many of us know ultrasounds as they are used to view the fetus of a pregnant woman.

X-Rays – is the oldest and most frequently used diagnostic imaging technique. Veterinarians use X-rays to help diagnose or monitor treatment of internal conditions of an animal’s body.

Vet techs use diagnostic imaging to diagnose diseases and review treatments. Veterinary imaging utilizes equipment that can handle the imaging needs of:

  • Small, domestic pets
  • Large animals including horses, cattle, and other farm animals
  • Avian animals
  • Exotic animals
  • Zoo animals

Advances in the medical field have allowed the technology used for human patients to be made available to veterinarians in diagnosing sick or injured animals. The vet tech is the point person that operates the diagnostic imaging equipment in the veterinary office.

Why is Diagnostic Imaging Used on Animals?

One of the main reasons diagnostic imaging is used on animals is that it causes less discomfort to animals than some other diagnosis methods. Diagnostic imaging was initially developed for human use. However, veterinarians use imaging methods on animal patients because it is non-invasive and a lot more economical than many other diagnostic procedures.

Although X-Rays may not give enough information to determine the cause of a pet’s symptoms, they can help the veterinarian decide what other diagnostics are necessary. X-rays are an excellent method of detecting foreign objects or viewing images of bones. X-rays can also detect deformities in the body, tumors, fractures, and injuries.

It may be difficult for a veterinary technician to examine internal organs like the heart, liver, or kidneys by using imaging alone because X-rays aren’t absorbed into the body’s soft tissue very well. An additional procedure using contrast dye can help get a detailed image. If a picture of an animal’s internal organs is required for a diagnosis, a contrast dye is given orally or intravenously. Once the dye is in the animal’s system, a series of images is taken to determine if there are any abnormalities.

The X-ray machine must be positioned in close proximity to the area of the animal’s body needing imaging. Although there’s a risk of damage to the body’s cells from exposure to radiation, the actual exposure is a fraction of a second or less. To decrease the risk of exposure to radiation, shields made of lead are used to protect the areas of the body that aren’t being examined.

What are the Benefits of Learning Diagnostic Imaging?

Diagnostic imaging has been beneficial in the field of veterinary medicine. By using imaging techniques, veterinarians are able to diagnose illnesses, injuries, and potentially severe conditions in the earliest stages. The technology is beneficial for patients that are asymptomatic. Since imaging is so accurate, veterinarians are able to achieve more positive results for their patients. Here are some of the benefits of diagnostic imaging:

Benefit #1:  Painless Procedures

As a vet tech, you will ensure that an animal is as comfortable as possible during diagnostic imaging. Ultrasounds are painless and diagnostic imaging doesn’t cause any additional stress to the patient. Also, the veterinary technician is able to see any abnormalities without the need of surgery. After viewing the results, a veterinarian can determine the best course of treatment.

Benefit #2: Early Diagnosis

With a medical imaging procedure, a veterinarian is able to detect any abnormalities in an animal’s body before it becomes a serious condition. When the veterinarian has an accurate image of what’s happening inside the animal’s body, it’s easier to determine the best treatment plan.

Equipment Used in Vet Tech Diagnostic Imaging

The two systems that are used in veterinary diagnostic imaging include computed radiography (CR) and digital radiography (DR).

Computed Radiography uses cassettes that contain imaging plates instead of film. The cassette is inserted into a computerized reader, and the image displays on a computer screen.

Digital Radiography differs from the computerized type of diagnostic imaging because the sensors are precisely inserted into the X-Ray machine table. When a veterinary technician takes an image, it’s projected directly onto a screen.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of diagnostic imaging technique. When choosing imaging equipment for a veterinary practice, it’s important to research which of the systems will best suit the needs of your hospital or clinic. It’s essential to weigh the benefits of each of the systems.

Computerized Radiography Systems

A lot of medical professionals consider CR to be a bridge between traditional X-ray procedures and newer digital technology. Computed radiography usually requires fewer changes to be made for veterinary office staff. However, the cassettes used in computerized systems can be damaged if dropped but they aren’t as expensive to replace as a panel for a DR system.

The advantages of a computerized radiography system are a low initial investment. CR is compatible with a lot of different systems. The technology works well for small vet clinics and those with a low volume of patients. The systems are available in multiple sizes, making them practical for small and large animals.

Digital Radiography Systems

DR systems use digital equipment to capture images and transfer them to a computer screen to be viewed. One of the most significant advantages of digital radiography systems is that they can be fixed or mobile. Although these systems are more expensive, they produce high-quality images that many veterinarians feel justifies the cost of the system.

Very large or busy animal hospitals and emergency clinics may prefer DR systems due to their higher volume capabilities. The cost of these systems is initially more expensive than a CR system. However, a DR system offers better imaging capabilities than a computerized system.

Final Thoughts

People who enter this field love caring for animals and educating owners about caring for their pets. The need for compassionate and highly skilled vet techs is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for vet techs to grow by 16 percent over the next decade. There is a need for skilled vet techs, and you can graduate in less than a year from a vet tech program. If you are ready to earn and want to learn, becoming a vet tech may be the right career path for you.

Do you need the skills to manage diagnostic imaging equipment? Do you have the qualities needed to become a good vet tech? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities 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 Vet Techs Can Help During Fire Season

Service animal with a wildlife fire fighter.

Interested in lending a hand with animals during fire season? Anyone who loves animals can spend their days caring for them by earning a degree to work as a vet tech. You may pursue a career as a vet tech to help animals and educate pet owners on compassionate care for their pets. A time when pets are helpless and need assistance is during fire season.

What is Happening During Fire Season on the West Coast?

The most significant fires on record in California, Oregon, Washington State, and Colorado are causing evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people and lost animals who can’t escape the fires. The 2020 wildfire season has shattered previous records all over the West Coast.

More than four million acres of land in California have burned as of the end of summer, approximately 4 percent of the state’s landmass. Five of the six most massive fires in the state burned in 2020, according to the Washington Post. Oregon has experienced one of the most devastating wildfire seasons in the history of the state. The Pine Gulch fire in Colorado that started in June broke the previous record for wildfire size. The East Troublesome and Cameron Peak fires broke the Pine Gulch record in October.

One of the most devastating statistics of the wildfires has been the massive numbers of animals that are left behind or lost when homeowners flee their homes at a moment’s notice. Some rescue groups have mobilized in times of natural disasters to rescue pets and farm animals that are left behind. Non-profit organizations step in to save as many animals as they can. Rescue workers can provide pets with food, water, and medical attention. If an animal is too frightened, volunteers may leave food and water out so the animal will be found by the owners when they return.

Climate Change and Wildfires

According to Scientific American, climate change plays a significant role in the increase in wildfires in California, not poor management of the land, as some columnists have suggested. The number of windy, warm, dry days in the western states has increased drastically since the 1980s.

We must aggressively reduce greenhouse gases in the next few years to prevent disasters like the 2020 wildfire season from becoming an annual occurrence. Without a drastic reduction of greenhouse gases, a majority of the forests in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California could be destroyed by 2050, which would result in a massive loss of wildlife.

What Can a Vet Tech Do to Help Residents During a Fire?

Animals that confront wildfires become traumatized and need a lot of compassionate care from veterinarians and vet techs. Fortunately, non-profit organizations like the International Fund for Animal Welfare send teams out to areas where people and animals are suffering the effects of natural disasters. Since 2000, the IFAW has rescued more than 275,000 animals.

In some cases, teams of veterinarians and vet techs from universities travel to areas that are hardest hit by wildfires. Emergency veterinary teams set up operations and shelters for animals displaced by fires. The teams provide warm, safe shelter and care for sick or injured animals. Vet techs may assist by setting up triage, providing shelter for displaced animals and offering transportation.

Animal Triage

A triage for injured animals provides the same care as a hospital emergency room in a disaster. A vet tech must check the vital signs of each animal, including blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and respiratory rate. The vet tech must determine which animals must be treated first, depending on the degree of injury or trauma.

Emergency Shelters

Vet techs must be able to assist in setting up emergency shelters and holding areas for displaced animals. One way in which vet techs can help residents during a wildfire is to care for animals who are displaced with their owners in pet-friendly shelters. They may provide care for these pets in regular shelters or in temporary shelters set up for residents and pets during an emergency.

Transportation

Another way in which a vet tech can offer assistance for residents that are pet owners during a wildfire emergency is transporting pets to safety. When animals are in an area that’s been destroyed by fire, vet techs have the training to calm animals that are injured or stressed. Domestic pets and farm animals can be transported to safe areas and reclaimed by their owners.

Pet Owner Education in the Case of a Fire

Before a fire emergency occurs, everyone should have a plan for their family, including their pets. The first thing to remember is to not panic. Pets can sense stress in their owners. It’s essential to keep a pet calm. When a pet owner must evacuate, they should take the pets with them. Pets should not be left behind.

A pet owner should have leashes and crates in a place that’s easily accessible. Leash and harness larger dogs. Smaller dogs and cats should be safely secured in crates. The pet owner should make sure their pets are up to date on vaccines and are wearing collars and ID tags. Besides a cell phone number, it’s a good idea to have the number of a family member or close friend engraved on a pet’s ID tag in case they should be separated.

Have an Exit Plan

Everyone in the family should know where to exit and where to meet in the event of an emergency. If family members are responsible for getting pets out of the home, the pet owner should make sure they know exactly what to do before a fire breaks out. They should understand how to keep pets calm and get them safely crated or leashed and out of danger.

Family members should know the emergency plan, and everyone should take responsibility. It’s essential to move quickly when there’s a fire emergency. Decide who will be responsible for:

  • Leashing or crating pets and removing them from the home
  • Grabbing essentials like pet food, medications, medical records, and pet supplies
  • Contacting the friend or family member that will care for the pet, if necessary

A Place to House Pets

Fire season isn’t the time to think about where to house pets during a wildfire. A pet owner can have a pre-arranged plan to house their pets with a friend or family member out of the area. If a wildfire is in the vicinity, a pet owner shouldn’t wait until the last minute. They should get their pets to a safe place and take shelter away from the area until it’s safe to return home.

Never assume that a shelter will take in a pet. Before an emergency happens, pet owners should check with local emergency management offices to find out which shelters are pet friendly. It’s also a good idea to check local hotels and motels. A lot of them accept pets. Find out about breed or size restrictions. Check local boarding kennels and veterinarian’s offices and keep a list of them near the phone.

A pet owner can make arrangements with a pet sitter or trusted friend to get a pet out of the house and meet at a specified location if away when an evacuation order is issued.

Safety Measures to Have in Place

It is important to have smoke detectors installed in the home and check them periodically to make sure they’re working correctly. When a pet owner is going to be away from their home for a few hours, they should make sure young pets are secure in a crate or use baby gates to keep them from any fire hazards. They should also keep pets secure in a room close to the entrance of the house. They should keep leashes and pet crates close by. If firefighters have to break into the home, they can rescue the pets more efficiently if they’re close to the front entrance.

A pet owner should purchase clear plastic, pet alert window clings to let rescue workers know how many pets are in the home. Pet alerts provide firefighters with information that’s critical to getting pets out of the home and to a safe location.

According to American Humane, more than 500,000 domestic pets are affected by fires each year. Even more wild animals suffer during fire season. Statistics indicate that many house fires are started by pets who are curious and want to investigate items that are within reach.

Pet owners can take precautions by covering stove knobs that may accidentally get turned on by a pet. Flameless candles can also be used rather than traditional candles, and loose wires that pets may chew on should be secured and out of their reach.

Final Thoughts

As a vet tech, you can help animals by educating pet parents on fire safety and learning critical care skills that help animals that are injured or displaced by wildfires. Help save the lives of animals as a vet tech during fire season.

Did learning about how vet techs help during fire season interest you? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge, qualities 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.

Vet Techs and the Importance of Customer Service

Vet tech providing customer service to a family and their dog

Excellent customer service is at the heart of any successful veterinary practice. Providing an experience that reassures clients that their pets are in capable hands makes happy clients who are likely to recommend the practice to their family and friends. Providing excellent customer service for clients and their pets isn’t just ethical, it makes good business sense.

Caring for the needs of clients is essential in any business, and veterinary practices are no exception. It is important for vet techs to provide a positive experience for pets and their owners. Providing the best possible medical care for pets and ensuring client satisfaction should be a priority. Ensuring that clients are happy with the service they get from the staff at a vet practice or an animal hospital makes the difference between one-time visits and repeat clients.

Why is Customer Service Important?

Studies have shown that when a client has a positive customer service experience, they’re likely to continue patronizing the establishment. Customers are also more likely to make positive comments when asked for feedback. On the other hand, most clients that have one bad experience are likely to share it with other people. Remember that customer service is about making the customer happy so that they will become a return client. You want to provide the best care possible, so the pets in your care stay healthy.

At least half of the clients that have negative experiences will share it with at least five other people, and the cycle will continue. The worst part is that the other half of clients that had a negative experience won’t tell you, but they will just not come back for your services. Be proactive and follow up with customers after they visit your vet practice. When most people communicate via social media, the word can spread quickly about a practice that isn’t living up to the standards pet parents expect. Clients are looking for a practice, hospital or clinic in which the vets, vet techs, and office staff make an effort to treat their patients with compassion.

What are the Elements of Good Customer Service for Vet Techs?

Providing excellent customer service for clients should be something that you enjoy as a vet tech. It is not just “part of the job.”  Sincerely enthusiastic vet techs help a veterinary practice flourish. The key to a successful veterinary practice is that clients and their pets always come first. The customer service elements that make a practice stand out include active listening, respect, response, service and understanding.

Clients deserve your undivided attention as a vet tech. Whether you’re talking to a client in person or by phone, make sure to listen carefully. It’s essential to treat clients with respect, even if you get one that’s upset because their pet is sick or injured. Clients want to feel like they’re appreciated and that someone is listening.

Prompt responses are expected in a veterinary practice. When a client has a question about their pet, they want answers quickly. If you don’t know the answer, ask someone else in the practice.

Serving Clients

Serving clients means that you meet the client’s expectations for their pet’s care and fulfill your obligation to your clients. You should help clients understand the practice’s policies and how your system works. For example, if a client arrives with a sick pet that may need hospitalization, you should explain all of the options available.

You may offer to keep the pet at the clinic overnight to monitor them. However, you must explain that the owner could treat the pet at home with medication. If the owner chooses to take the pet home, you should describe what the medicine is used for and how it’s to be administered. If the cat or dog must be fed a special diet, you should explain the feeding instructions and answer the owner’s questions.

As a vet tech, you must understand what the client is conveying and try to anticipate their needs. Encouraging pet owners to talk about their concerns will help you come up with solutions that work. When you understand what an owner expects for their pet, you can provide them with better service.

Know Everything About the Services Offered

Services vary depending on whether the practice is a small animal hospital, emergency clinic, or a farm or exotic animal practice. The services a veterinary practice offers may include:

  • Wellness Care
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Surgery
  • Therapeutic and Holistic Services

As a vet tech, you must be knowledgeable about all the services your practice offers. For example, a wellness exam includes an overall evaluation of the pet’s health. You may discuss parasite control and microchipping. Also, you must know the schedule of vaccines for dogs and cats. You can discuss diagnostic services with your clients and why they may be necessary. Diagnostics may include x-rays, ultrasounds, and lab tests.

You must be able to discuss spay and neuter surgery, the recovery process, orthopedic, soft tissue, or cosmetic surgery. Operations may be gastrointestinal, cardiothoracic, or eye, ear, or nose procedures. Whatever the medical issue is, you must be able to answer questions and explain about medications and the at-home recovery process.

Holistic and therapeutic procedures are designed to reduce inflammation and pain and improve the healing process. Some veterinarians prescribe laser procedures for chronic problems and post-medical care. As a vet tech, you should stay up to date with new medications and procedures to answer any questions pet owners may have.

Projecting a Positive Image

When a new client arrives for their cat or dog’s first visit, their first impression of the practice can mean the difference between a one-time visit and a loyal client. When the atmosphere in a veterinary practice is uplifting and enthusiastic, clients take notice.

In any workplace, a staff that’s happy and comfortable with their surroundings are more diligent and work harder. In the veterinary sector, many vet techs and office staff remain at the same job for years because they’re happy in their career. A successful veterinary practice is one with a team that’s content. Clients are more likely to refer a practice in which the staff goes above and beyond to assist clients and their pets.

Communication with Pet Owners

As a vet tech, you must have excellent communication skills. Communicating with pet owners may mean in-person discussions, talking on the phone, or chatting online. A veterinary hospital or clinic can provide incentives for clients to visit even if it’s not for an appointment. The practice may offer pet supplies and pet medications.

Some pet parents aren’t sure which food is best for their dog or cat. You can explain which foods are best for their pet depending on its age, breed and lifestyle. Chatting with a client can help to uncover any potential health or behavior issues before they become serious. Talking with clients  provides an opportunity to know them and their pets. A practice with a staff that’s friendly and understanding is likely to get referrals from pet parents.

Patience with Pets and Owners

The expression “patience is a virtue” is valid for a veterinary practice. You will handle many different pets over the course of the day, and some don’t want to cooperate when they’re being examined. You will need to keep a cool head and stay relaxed when handling pets. Animals are very perceptive and pick up on human feelings. Speaking in a soothing voice and treating a pet gently can calm them.

When it comes to owners, you’ll meet a unique set of people with different temperaments. Some owners are easy to get along with. However, when an owner is stressed over a sick or injured pet, they sometimes take it out on the nearest person. In this case, it can be the vet tech. Pets and their parents must be handled with a lot of patience. If patience is lost, it could cost the practice a client or a bad review.

Active Listening Skills

Pet owners that rely on a veterinarian to care for their cat or dog trust their medical judgment. What you may not realize is that most pet parents place more emphasis on a veterinarian or vet tech who listens to them. Giving the pet owner time to speak about their concerns reassures them that you’re really listening to them.

Attention to the Pet

As a vet tech, you should always remember that compassion is the key to handling pets. When a pet owner puts their dog or cat in a carrier and transports them to an animal hospital, a lot of strange sights and smells can make a dog or cat experience stress. Pets are family members, and no one wants to see anyone in their family upset at a vet’s visit. Your priority is to make that pet feel relaxed and comfortable so that it can be examined.

A Positive Attitude

If you have a negative attitude, it reflects on everyone in the practice. Co-workers and pet owners appreciate being around a person that has a positive, upbeat attitude. The workplace should be free of negativity and drama. Having a sense of humor in stressful situations can help. You can make the environment a fun place to work and still be professional.

Creating Loyalty

Loyalty in the workplace involves hiring the right people for your team and providing them with the necessary tools to do their job effectively. Creating a positive environment for their staff and praise them for a job well done, the team is more trustworthy and dependable.

Address Complaints

One of the most common complaints pet owners have is how long they must wait to see the vet, especially if their pet isn’t feeling well. If the wait will be extended because of an emergency or a last-minute walk-in, reassure the pet parent and let them know how long they must wait.

One way to avoid conflicts is to inform the pet owner in advance of the payment policy and get permission in writing for any procedure or treatment. Always provide the pet owner with an estimate for the day’s charges. If charges are inadvertently applied to a pet owner’s account or treatment was done without permission, inform them immediately.

Quick Response to Questions and Calls

When a pet owner has a question, a quick response shows that you’re interested in their pet and want to provide the best care. If a pet owner calls with a question and you don’t know the answer, the most effective way to handle it is to ask permission to put them on hold while you confer with the veterinarian.

Vet Tech or Vet That’s Too Busy

A veterinarian or vet tech should never be too busy to address concerns that a pet owner has. The same principle applies to the receptionist who answers or returns phone calls. When a pet owner has an issue that must be addressed quickly, have a team member call them back if you’re busy with another pet owner. No one should be kept waiting longer than necessary.

Take the Extra Step

Providing excellent customer service is a team effort. The entire veterinary practice is responsible for providing pet owners and their pets with the services they need. A breakdown in communication by anyone on the team can ruin the experience, and the practice will risk losing a client.

Did learning about the importance of vet tech customer service 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.

Time Management & Vet Techs

Vet Techs helping a dog

Veterinarians depend on their vet techs to handle a lot of the responsibilities in a veterinary practice. Vet techs are essential members of a practice and must be detail-oriented, have empathy for pets and their owners, have excellent communication skills, and most importantly manage time effectively.

What Is Time Management?

Time management is an essential process of planning and using time most effectively. To manage time most effectively, as a vet tech, you must utilize a wide range of skills, techniques, and abilities to complete specific tasks within a set period. Productive use of time is essential in any medical practice, including veterinary hospitals, emergency clinics, and any environment which employs vet techs.

What Are the Elements of Time Management?

There are a few elements of time management that any vet tech must master, they include organization, showing up on time, keeping patients from waiting, and creating a good work/life balance.

Organization

Organization is essential for any work environment. The best way to make the most of your time at work is to organize tasks according to what must be done first through prioritization. An excellent way to organize daily duties is to batch them together. For example, going over invoices and patient statements could be done within the same time frame.

Responding to messages or phone calls should be done as soon as possible after they’re received. As a vet tech, you could also use that time to call or email clients to remind them of upcoming appointments. If similar duties are grouped together, more work can be accomplished in a smaller amount of time.

A routine makes life more comfortable at a veterinary practice. A regular weekly and monthly routine is an effective way to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Talking to pet suppliers to keep stock from getting low could be done at the beginning of the week. Ordering medications and medical supplies could be done the next day. Monthly tasks could include reconciling financial statements, organizing a marketing plan for the practice, and handling social media posts.

Showing Up on Time

A career as a vet tech is rewarding for anyone who loves animals and enjoys being around people, plus the work is challenging. A veterinary practice depends on everyone to work together as a team, and that means everyone should be on time for work. Unexpected things happen, and people are occasionally late for work. However, when you are consistently late, it has adverse effects on the practice.

When you are late for work, it keeps owners and their pets waiting to have an initial evaluation and emergency first aid, if necessary. A team member who consistently runs late gives pet owners the impression that the staff doesn’t care about their pets. Some pet owners might feel that the practice isn’t dependable or professional.

Consult with staff who may have a difficult time getting to work because they have children and might be able to work a more flexible schedule. Further suggestions include checking for road closures or leaving earlier for work when the weather is inclement. Vet techs and everyone on the staff should be told to call if they know they’re going to be late.

Keeping Patients from Waiting

When a pet owner arrives for an appointment with their pet, the first person they interact with is one of the vet techs. As a vet tech, you are essential to a thriving veterinary team and the pet owner. You are the liaison between pet owners and veterinarians.

Time management involves diplomacy on the part of the vet tech. When a pet owner calls and must be squeezed in between regular appointments, everyone on the team must work together to ensure that no pet owner has a long wait time. You can get pet owners into an examining room and take the relevant information while they’re waiting for the veterinarian and take over duties for a co-worker that may be assisting another pet owner.

You can reassure the pet owner that they’ll see the veterinarian as soon as possible. If the animal has an injury, you can assess the pet and administer emergency first aid. An asset that helps the pet owner is a veterinary technician that is calm during stressful situations.

Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance means establishing a healthy balance between your life at work and your personal life. A career as a vet tech is rewarding for an animal lover, but it can be stressful, and you never know what to expect from one day to the next. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers some helpful suggestions to establish a healthy balance between your career and family life.

  1. As difficult as it is, try not to take work home with you. When you’ve cared for a critical patient, it’s hard not to think or talk about it at home. Getting stressed over a situation you can’t control doesn’t help you or your patients.

  2. Although unexpected situations arise in any veterinary practice, try to keep work on schedule as often as possible. Some veterinarians establish a rotating schedule, so everyone doesn’t have to work late each day.

  3. Take lunch breaks. Everyone experiences the mid-afternoon slump on occasion, and that’s no exception for vet techs. You need time to wind down and relax before caring for the pets that are scheduled for afternoon appointments. If you’re fresh from your break, you’ll be more efficient. Try to have lunch outside or in a nearby park, if possible.

  4. Manage your free time away from work efficiently. Spend time with family and friends as much as possible when you’re not working. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media and plan fun activities. Set aside a block of time for errands and do them on one day. When you aren’t at work, practice self-care. Take time for your favorite activities and get outside to enjoy your day off.

How Can A Vet Tech Manage Time?

A vet tech can manage their time while assisting patients, working with colleagues, working with veterinarians, and assisting incoming calls.

Assisting Patients

When a pet owner has a question about their cat or dog, whether it’s related to nutrition or a health issue, you are there to assist. A pet owner never has to save all their questions for the veterinarian. You have the expertise to handle a lot of the same issues that the vet can.

You are usually the person that handles a discharge after the vet has seen the pet. This is another example of time management. You can handle discharges so the veterinarian can attend other clients. After a surgical procedure, dental cleaning, treatment for an injury, or a wellness exam, you will explain how to care for the pet at home.

When a cat or dog has undergone surgery, you will explain how the pet owner will care for their pet once they go home. You will discuss what unusual signs to watch for, when to call the clinic, and how to administer prescribed medications. If there are special feeding instructions, you will explain to the pet owner how and when to feed their pet.

When a dog or cat must be left at the animal hospital for a procedure, you usually have the responsibility of feeding the pet and taking them outside to relieve themselves. As a vet tech, you take x-rays, administer lab tests, and change catheters. In some practices, you may administer vaccines and handle other medical procedures. You are the person who can discuss how a pet acted during its stay at the hospital.

Working with Colleagues

Veterinary technicians are a valuable asset to the veterinary community. The occupation has evolved since its inception. You have more responsibility for caring for your patients. As a vet tech, you have nursing skills and can interpret vital signs when evaluating a pet’s condition. Collaboration with co-workers is essential in a successful veterinary practice.

As a vet tech, you must make decisions that affect the lives of pets. Co-workers should offer suggestions when they’re warranted to provide the best care. Education for you is the key. It’s not enough to do something because a vet tells you to. You should always understand why a specific procedure or medication is prescribed. Information should be shared with co-workers when it’s called for, so everyone is on the same page with treatment options.

Working with Veterinarians

As a vet tech, your role is to provide professional nursing care for pets while working under the supervision of a veterinarian. Your duties are regulated by local, state, and federal laws. While some vet techs are forbidden by law to perform surgery or diagnose medical issues, these vet techs will only handle nursing and other therapeutic functions.

One of the critical qualities you can have is excellent communication skills. When working side by side with a veterinarian, you must comprehend the instructions of the attending veterinarian and carry out instructions quickly and efficiently.

When you don’t understand instructions, you’re responsible for asking questions, so everything is clear, and no mistakes are made in caring for a pet. Veterinary technology is a constant learning process. You can be more effective in your work by asking questions. Learning about new medical techniques and treatment options helps you to be more productive and better qualified to work as a vet tech.

Assisting Callers

Part of the job of being a vet tech is answering questions from pet owners who expect accurate answers. Understanding how to talk to callers makes all the difference between a stressful situation and one that goes smoothly. Here are some tips for talking to pet owners over the phone.

  1. Most new pet owners choose a veterinary practice based on how the staff treats them. If they feel that you are concerned about their pet, they’ll think that everyone else in the practice shares their concern.

  2. The first step is to take a deep breath and smile. It may sound strange, but your attitude comes across over the phone. Answer with the name of the practice, your name, and ask how you can help the pet owner.

  3. Get the owner’s name, the pet’s name, age, and breed. Make sure you understand the information that the pet owner is conveying about their pet.

  4. Use the owner’s name at least a couple of times during the conversation. Use the pet’s name and appropriate gender. The age and breed of the owner’s pet help you to connect with them and understand the owner’s state of mind.

  5. Schedule the appointment. When the owner arrives, you should know who they are and why the appointment is scheduled. Greeting the owner and their pet makes a great first impression and reassures them. Commenting on the reason for their appointment is further reassurance to the pet owner that their pet is in good hands.

Final Thoughts

Time on the job is limited, and that applies to everyone in a veterinary practice. When you learn to manage your time efficiently, you can make better decisions. You’ll be more relaxed and in control of any situation. When you take control of the situation at work, co-workers will look to you as a leader.

Did learning about time management as a vet tech 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.

What are the Pros of Being a Vet Tech?

Vet Tech holding a cat

Being a vet tech offers advantages that aren’t found in many other professions. They include an interesting workplace, a variety of different job specialties and the security of being in high demand with employers. Most importantly, vet techs get to spend every day working with animals. While veterinary technicians play a vital role in delivering a large portion of the care provided by a veterinarian practice, they also have a tremendous emotional impact on both animal and human welfare.

Working with All Creatures Great and Small

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of being a vet tech is the daily interaction with animals. This profession, more than any other, attracts those with a passion for creatures of all kinds. Consequently, it draws together people that are naturally and uniquely motivated to provide a high standard of care. They love animals and genuinely want to help them in the best way possible.

While working with animals may be what initially attracts people to this career, the science behind it is what differentiates it from other animal-related jobs. Vet techs have extensive knowledge about animal anatomy, biology, disease processes, pharmaceutical compounds, and laboratory technology. Usually, this in-depth knowledge will span multiple species. On any given day, a veterinary technician may be handling dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, birds, horses, cows and more.

There’s Never a Dull Day

The most predicable thing in the life of a vet tech is their work wardrobe. Beyond that, every day is different. Vet techs do many things including wellness exams, toenail trims, blood work, dental prophylaxis, x-rays, anesthesia, surgical assisting, examining specimens under a microscope, and calling patients for follow up. The needs of the pet owners, patients and veterinarians will dictate the workflow for the day.

Variety is core factor in employee happiness. The constant change prevents boredom and promotes innovative problem solving, mental stimulation and motivation. This is one reason why vet techs report high job satisfaction.

Vet Techs are Animal Welfare Ambassadors

Animal welfare standards have come a long way over the past century. There was once a time when animals were regarded as flea ridden, inferior species of low intelligence. They had little value outside of what they could provide for humans. Today, mainstream society views most animals as an integral part of the family dynamic.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, roughly 38 percent of households have dogs. Many others have multiple species and livestock. Animal welfare practices impact people’s emotional and physical health. People want their pets to live as long as possible. They also want to know that the meat and dairy they consume is both healthy and ethically sourced.

Vet techs may not be the people found in picket lines and protests, but they are still activists. The effect they have on animal welfare comes in many forms, such as increased pet owner education and improved public safety. From guidance on animal nutrition and disease prevention to safe handling and behavior modification, veterinary technicians are at the forefront of teaching everyday people how to properly care for animals. The work they do ultimately influences how pet owners perceive standards of care.

There’s Room to Grow

The field of veterinary technology is rapidly changing. As a result, there is an opportunity for graduates to narrow the scope of practice to areas they are most interested in. Many employers focus solely on small or large animals, exotic pets, ophthalmology, cardiology, orthopedics and oncology. In addition, the last decade has seen the introduction of specialty fields, such as dentistry, anesthesiology and emergency medicine. A vet tech can earn these certifications beyond their degree.

To date, the use of titles is very fragmented within the industry. Many states have differing designations for vet techs. The laws regulating what a vet tech can do also vary considerably. There is a strong movement towards consolidating both industry practices and title designation. Veterinary technicians have their own professional organizations taking part in shaping this evolution, making this an exciting time to be a part of this career field.

The adage “with experience comes wisdom” has never been truer of any other profession. The longer a vet tech works in the industry, the more valuable they become to the practice. Not only does their skill set increase, but the amount of responsibility delegated to them also increases. Many vet techs work as practice managers, overseeing all aspects of management. This includes hiring staff, human resource management and making large purchasing decisions on their own.

Coworkers and Pet Owners Are a Tribe

Culture is defined as a shared set of values and goals within an organization. In veterinary medicine, these values include a strong belief that animal life is valuable, a desire to alleviate suffering and an interest in promoting animal welfare. Many people enter the profession with these personal values already in place. Pet owners also share these values, with Americans spending approximately $28 billion annually on veterinary care, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

This shared value system brings coworkers and pet owners together because they relate to each other. Most vet techs not only make a living by working on animals, they are also pet owners. The traits that inherently make someone a good vet tech, also makes him or her a good person.
They are empathetic, compassionate, and intelligent. This allows for strong friendships that make for a pleasant work environment.

Becoming Telepathic, Almost

Unlike humans, animals can’t verbalize a problem. They communicate by sending subtle signals. It may be a posture, sound, movement, or a change in color. These signals can be very hard for the average person to interpret. It requires paying close attention to body language and having a good working knowledge of animal behavior.

Vet techs become very adept at intuiting what is going on with an animal. Fear, pain, hunger, nausea, alertness and aggression are examples of things that can be determined by observation. Many of these features are documented in a patient chart as part of the examination. All of the data is highly relevant to the veterinarian in deciding on a course of treatment. While vet techs aren’t quite telepathic, they do learn to assess a problem without being told what’s wrong. Often, their observations can mean the difference between a problem that is missed versus a problem that is solved.

Improving Human Quality of Life

A vet tech does more than improve the quality of life for animals. They also have a great influence on the humans they interact within a practice. There has been a lot of research into the dynamics of the human- animal bond. Most of them agree that there is a definitive link between human wellbeing and pet ownership.

There is an entire organization built specifically to study how animals influence mental health in people. The Human Animal Bond Institute (HABI) found that the effect of pet ownership is so profound that it spills over into people’s physical health. A sick animal causes people significant stress and worry.

Vet techs have the opportunity to help people in several ways. They may validate a pet owner’s concerns and offer advice for coping with long-term patient health conditions or recovery. Veterinary technicians are most often the ones carrying out the veterinarian’s medical orders and people place a great deal of trust in them.

Job Security

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand for veterinary technicians will grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2028. It is also expected that the number of annual visits for animal care will continue to rise. Veterinarians rely heavily on vet techs to help deliver quality patient care. As visits increase, so does the number of specialized career opportunities, leaving a need for more registered veterinary technicians in the industry.

Beyond the numbers, a career as a vet tech has a strong benefit in that skills and credentials will transfer anywhere. For example, experience working in a mixed animal practice is equally applicable to a feline-only practice and many subspecialties. While job competitiveness does exist in some areas of medicine, qualified veterinary technicians are a welcome addition to most organizations.

Everyday Makes a Difference

Many career fields focus on company profitability, either directly through sales or indirectly through services. This is also a part of veterinary medicine. Vet techs are frequently called upon to be salespeople. However, there is a distinct difference in that this type of sale is part of an emotional value system.

Veterinary technicians usually sell procedures and products including dental cleanings, preventative bloodwork and medications, food, nutritional supplements, and vaccinations. All of these are vitally important to animal welfare. Recommendations by the vet tech have the potential to improve pet health and extend life.

Veterinary technicians have a sense of duty towards their patients and there are times when they literally save an animal’s life. Acute emergencies require the administration of medications, and advanced resuscitation procedures. Regardless of how they help, vet techs end their day knowing that the job they do makes a difference in a life.

No Fancy Attire Required

A perk of working as a vet tech is that they save a significant amount of money on clothes. Vet techs work in hospital scrubs, which can be very comfortable. For the most part, everyone will have the same color, although some facilities designate specific colors for different roles. Many practices offer a clothing allowance to cover uniforms.

Final Thoughts

Veterinary technology is a very personally rewarding career choice. Not only do vet techs experience the joy and personal satisfaction of helping animals, but it is also an interesting field. Qualified people will find a great job market with plenty of opportunity for success.

Did learning about the pros of being a vet tech 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.

Why Compassion & Empathy Are Key to Being a Vet Tech

Vet tech showing empathy towards dog

The most important qualification for a vet tech is to have empathy and genuine love for all animals. Any pet owner who takes their dog, cat, or other pet to the vet can appreciate the dedication and patience that the staff of the veterinary practice has. Although our pets may be affectionate at home, vet techs often get to see their other side and must be prepared.

Understanding What A Vet Tech Does

Although the initial attraction for a lot of animal lovers to become a vet tech is handling cute animals, there’s a lot more to this profession. Vet techs work with all the animals seen at their practice. Duties include everything from initial exams, handling lab tests, to assisting with surgical procedures.

A Vet Tech Provides Education and Empathy

A vet tech must be patient with animals, co-workers, and pet parents. Animals don’t understand what’s happening during an exam, and it’s up to the vet tech to be calm and reassuring. This can lessen the animal’s stress level. A vet tech that’s professional and calm can also lessen the anxiety of the owner.

A lot of pet owners forget that vet techs are animal lovers and have feelings like anyone else. When an owner doesn’t understand instructions or questions the vet tech’s ability, they may be rude and demanding. As a result, a vet tech must always have compassion and empathy for everyone they encounter in their work.

What is Compassion?

According to researchers, compassion is the feeling a person gets when they’re confronted with the suffering of another. Compassion also allows others to alleviate suffering. Compassion can be evoked by other people or animals. As a result, compassionate people go out of their way to ease the distress of another human or animal.

Although some people dismiss compassion as a weakness, there is also a biological basis for compassion. Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a significant role that helps us to bond with other people or animals. When oxytocin is secreted, the regions of the brain that associates with caregiving are affected in a positive way. As a result, our heart rate slows, making us more relaxed.

Compassion from a Pet’s Point of View

When a cat or dog is taken to the vet, they’re confused and aren’t aware of their surroundings. A lot of pets don’t like being in a car, so their stress level rises as a result. Even more, at the veterinary clinic, there are a lot of strange smells, sounds, and unfamiliar people. Because of all of these changes, the examination is often scary to pets.

When a pet owner brings an animal into a veterinary hospital, it’s important to show compassion towards their reactions–and also their owner’s. For this reason, it is vet techs must always practice empathy with clients.

The Qualities of a Compassionate Vet Tech

The vet tech that shows compassion for the animals they care for wants to alleviate the animal’s pain. The vet tech must have the skill and knowledge to calm the animal. Because of this, their education helps so that even the simplest routines are as stress-free as possible.

The qualities of a compassionate vet tech are:
  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Resolve
  • Warmth
  • Wisdom

Compassion is one of the most essential attributes of a vet tech who devotes their life to caring for animals.

Most pet owners think of their pets as members of the family. Because of this, when their pet isn’t feeling well, both the animal and owner needs to be comforted. Although the animal in a vet tech’s care is their first priority, the owner’s feelings should be taken into consideration.

What is Empathy?

Empathy allows you to understand what another person or animal is feeling by understanding the situation. Types of empathy may encompass a wide range of different emotional states. For example, the three types of empathy are cognitive, compassionate, and emotional.

Cognitive Empathy

Cognitive empathy evaluates a situation and grasps what’s happening based on your knowledge. For example, cognitive empathy comes into play based on the education and experience treating animals.

Compassionate Empathy

Compassionate empathy feels someone else’s pain or distress and takes actions to help them. In this case, a vet tech examines an animal and uses their education to help understand the situation. The vet tech also talks to the owner about what actions they will take to alleviate any pain, discomfort, or stress the animal experiences.

Emotional Empathy

Lastly, emotional empathy refers to the personal distress a vet tech experiences as a result of what the animal and/or pet owner are experiencing. Empathy is a vital skill for vet techs, because it helps to respond and act appropriately to the situation.

How Do Compassion and Empathy Benefit a Vet Tech?

Compassion and empathy pair with excellent communication skills in a veterinary practice. Veterinary staff interactions impact the reputation of the clinic. For that reason, being a successful vet tech means communicating effectively with co-workers and pet owners.

The vet tech responds quickly to instructions from the supervising veterinarian and also ensures that all pets get the best care possible. When a vet tech gets a lot of information, it’s essential to be detail oriented. It’s equally important that the vet tech communicates with clients and relays information in a way that they understand.

Because of this connection, it’s essential for veterinary teams to learn excellent communication skills that aid in building better relationships with clients. Focusing on the feelings of the client and actively listening to their concerns can build strong relationships with clients and their pets.

Caring for Animals and Talking with Pet Owners

Most importantly, a vet tech should always keep compassion and empathy in mind when caring for an animal or discussing a pet’s condition with an owner. Unfortunately, there’s no way to control the way a client reacts to the situation. On the other hand, the vet tech can do is control how their words and actions are interpreted.

An excellent way to handle relationships with clients is to identify the type of personality they are dealing with. First, a vet tech must determine the personality type they’re dealing with. As a result, this helps with interactions, appointment management, as well as the stress level of everyone concerned.

The five types of veterinary clients are:
  1. The client that’s consistently late
  2. The complaining client
  3. The demanding client
  4. The worrier
  5. The saintly client
Empathy with Late Clients

It is frustrating when clients do not keep their appointments, but there is also a clever way to navigate this problem. For example, you can schedule an appointment and tell them it’s 15 to 30 minutes earlier.

Empathy with Complainers

The complainer isn’t just frustrated with the clinic. This pet parent complains about everything from the type of dog food the practice sells to the prices for services. This client just wants to have their issues validated. In order to practice empathy with this client, make sure that you are assuring that they are being listened to and give them time to ask questions.

Empathy with Demanding Clients

This type of client requires a vet tech to set boundaries. It’s difficult not to lose patience with a pet parent who demands to be seen on short notice or has specific needs. Because of this, it’s important to listen to the client’s concerns but be firm and develop a plan on how to handle demanding pet parents.

Empathy with Worriers

This client worries about seemingly normal things that their pet does. For example, a physical examination can usually alleviate the client’s worries. As trivial as it may seem, a client’s concerns should never be ignored.

Empathy with Saintly Clients

The saintly client is the type every veterinary practice wants. This pet owner never complains about waiting or has anything negative to say about the staff.

Ways a Vet Tech Can Show Compassion and Empathy to a Pet or Owner

Sometimes compassion and empathy are as effective as providing care for an owner’s pet. The diagnosis can determine the necessary treatment, but it’s also more reassuring for a pet parent when the vet tech takes the time to address their concerns.

Encourage the Pet Owner to Ask Questions

For example, some pet parents don’t know how to ask questions about pet issues. While the parent and their pet are in the examining room, a vet tech should spend a lot of time interacting with the dog or cat and ask if the parent has questions. Sometimes that’s all it takes for a pet parent to open up and discuss their concerns.

Reassure the Pet Owner

Furthermore, some clients need reassurance from someone they know that genuinely has compassion and love for animals. They may have concerns about their pet’s diet, spay or neuter, the vaccines, or training methods. As a result, empathy builds trust between the pet parent and the practice.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about why compassion and empathy are key to being a vet tech 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.

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