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That's Not What We're About: 6 Myths About Veterinary Technicians

Samantha Toy, RVT May 9, 2019 5:02:00 PM

Often, there are misconceptions and preconceived notions about what veterinary technicians are, what they do, and how vital they are to the veterinary practice. Here are our top ten misconceptions about vet techs: 

1. They're in it for the money

Being a veterinary professional is not something anyone does for the salary. Vet techs don’t earn much, despite the tirade of complaints clients make about high prices. Vet techs are in it because of their love of animals, plain and simple. It's about helping those that need it most, and giving a voice to those that have none. Veterinary teams shed blood, sweat and tears to make sure that every animal is happy, healthy, and treated fairly. 



2. Veterinary technicians are the same as veterinary assistants

This is a bit of a sensitive issue, and by no means do we mean that veterinary assistants aren’t every bit as important as vet techs. There is, however, a difference between the two. Vet assistants are typically super talented when it comes to restraint, grooming, helping clients at reception, filling orders, and ensuring  that everyone has the help they need. Vet techs keep busy with blood draws, taking radiographs, surgical monitoring, patient nursing, medication administrations, much more. They are two very different jobs, and neither is more important than the other! 


3. Veterinary technicians need specializations

False! Nurses and human technicians (for example a radiology technician), need to go to school for that particular line of work. Vet techs learn everything in their schooling. While there is the opportunity to specialize, it's not required. Vet techs learn how to be dental hygienists, radiology technicians, phlebotomists and ICU nurses all in one. They also have to learn how to be lab technicians, nutritionists and groomers for at least 3 different species. Aren’t vet techs cool?



4. All vet techs want to become veterinarians

Also false! Most vet techs are very happy being veterinary technicians. The only things technicians cannot do are diagnose and perform surgery, and most are very happy within those constraints! Despite popular belief, vet techs often actually have more contact with the animals and the humans that come with the animals than the vets do.


5. They don’t want to work with humans 

People think of vet techs as animal lovers- which is, of course, true- however, any vet tech who goes into this field to avoid people won't last long.  A huge part of the job is dealing with pet owners who are often distressed, worried, and emotional. Vet techs are there to reassure, educate, explain, and support. It's not only about connecting with the pets; in fact, the argument could be made that the relationship you have with the clients on the other end of the leash is even more important.




6. They play with puppies and kittens all day

Vet techs wish that's all they did! Everyone know that puppies and kittens are fun; all they want to do is eat, cuddle, sleep, and go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, playing with puppies and kittens is not something vet techs get to do a lot, especially in emergency medicine. In reality, it's about handling a whole lot of bodily fluids (like various forms and consistencies of poop, urine, blood, vomit, or the occasional placenta) and dealing with teeth and claws. They collect and run blood, restrain for xrays, and monitor anesthesia. 


What do you think is a misconception that people have about veterinary technicians? 


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