Vets need techs. It’s Vet Tech Week, a time to honor every veterinarian’s invaluable assistant and they deserve more recognition.
When we take our pets to the vet, it’s the vet techs who assist in countless ways. The vets need techs. They do much of the thankless, unseen, dirty work To learn more about vet techs, visit the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America NAVTA.net
Veterinarian Dr. Goldstein shares his thoughts on vet techs.
Veterinary technicians are some of the most important people on the team caring for your pet. I learned that at a very early stage in my career.
My first night on emergency call as a young intern, I was presented simultaneously with three animals in life-threatening situations: a blocked male cat, a dog that was hit by a car and couldn’t breathe, and a Great Dane with a twisted stomach. Even though emergency and critical care are my primary interests, for a new graduate, it was overwhelming! The technician on duty that night was King. He had been a tech for over 30 years, and had literally seen it all. It was with King’s help and guidance that I was able to unblock the obstructed kitty, put a chest tube into the dog that couldn’t breathe, and untwist the Great Dane’s stomach – and they all survived thanks to King’s knowledge, expertise, and patience with a young doctor.
To this day, I thank King for helping me become a better doctor. The next morning when the Chief of Staff asked me how my first night on emergency call went, I nonchalantly said, “King and I unblocked a cat, put in a chest tube, and untwisted a Great Dane’s stomach. They’re all doing well in ICU. I’m going to take a nap.” The COS replied, “Yeah, sure you did.” He glanced over at King, who nodded and smiled. When the COS realized I was telling the truth, he said, “Nice work…King”.
The following year, I took a job at a large referral hospital outside Los Angeles. My first night on the job was also the first night of the Los Angeles riots. The hospital was located very close to the “flash point”, and we were under lockdown. For two days, my staff of technicians and I hunkered down to treat the multitude of emergencies that flew through the door in the midst of all the chaos outside. It was through their talent, skill, and dedication that we were able to make it through that ordeal, and we all became close friends. Two of those technicians later married, and I had the honor of being a groomsman.
A good doctor knows the value of a well-trained, compassionate, and skilled veterinary technician. While the doctor makes the diagnosis and devises the treatment plan, it’s the technician who takes over from there: drawing the blood, taking the xrays, setting up the IV, administering the treatments, and making sure the patient is comfortable and (most importantly) loved.
I have the honor and privilege of teaching Clinical Anatomy and Physiology in the new Licensed Veterinary Technician program at Westchester Community College. It’s their first class in the program. It’s a difficult class, and a difficult program. But I keep telling my students that they will appreciate the hard work they are putting in. The first animal’s life that they save because of what they learned in school will make all of those sleepless nights with the biology textbook worth it. Nothing replaces the sound of a purring cat as they happily leave the hospital because of what the veterinary technician did for them.
Now go give your vet tech a big hug … and some cookies!