National Veterinary Technician Appreciation week takes place in the 3rd week of October each year.  It first started in 1993 and continues to be an annual tradition.  This year, in honor of the individuals committed to the highest quality of care for all animals, Vet Tech Appreciation week is recognized on October 13th 2019 through October 19th 2019.  Although demonstrations of how much they are appreciated and valued should be shown everyday of every year, an excellent opportunity to express your appreciation is during the National Vet Tech Week.   

Veterinary technicians are more than just the person in the scrubs who takes the temperature of your furry baby or asks you a few questions over the telephone. They are more than the person who holds your puppy for vaccinations so that you don’t have to be the bad guy.  They are talented individuals who inserts IV’s, bandage wounds, monitor anesthesia and even cleans our pet’s teeth.  Vet techs are the first to respond when there is a tragedy, helping to improve the quality of care given to pets on a day to day basis.  They are competent surgical nurses and sharp troubleshooters with expert hands to handle of all kinds and sizes of animals.  

Veterinary technicians fill a different role than a veterinarian and some could debate that the average loving pet parent may not always recognize the variety of hats that our vet techs wear on one given day.  Nursing care provided by veterinary technicians are the glue holding veterinarian practices together and make each day run smoothly.  They are behind the scene nurses that veterinarians rely on. They are the ones with the soothing whispers telling your anxious cat or dog that everything is going to be alright. The relationship between veterinarian and technician is built on mutual respect and passion they share for the health of your pet.  They ask questions and listen to each other, contributing to the individualized care of each and every patient needs. No good veterinarian takes for granted the contributions of a great vet tech and in the end, veterinarians need their technicians, and you and your animals need them too.

These invaluable professionals are known as animal lovers which is of course true, but they have a very crucial role and responsibility within the hospital setting.  Highly trained, skilled and committed techs handle the care of animals, the education of pet owners, and ensure the doctors orders are carried out or altered when things go awry.  Ultimately, helping pet owners become better pet parents  is their main goal.  A huge part of the job is dealing with pet parents 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 relationships created with pet parents is just as important.  

Many people in the general public think that vet techs “play with puppies and kittens all day.” The reality is they do multiple jobs under one title including: Custodian; Phlebotomist; Lab Tech; X-ray Tech; Nurse; Pharmacy Tech; Dog Groomer; Dental Assistant; Euthanasia Assistant;  Dietician; Physiotherapist; Anesthesiologist and Customer Service, just to name a few.  

Vet techs take on a hidden set of challenges and stresses.  Compassion of vet techs stem from sympathy and empathy that’s put into action.  This compassion motivates them to sacrifice themselves to relieve the suffering of pet patients and pet parents, resulting in compassion fatigue and burnout.  Compassion Fatigue is related to the trauma experienced in the care they provide. A veterinary technician may not be able to endure another day with a sick and dying puppy or suffer through the anxiety of a pet parent having to cope with the fact that their furry baby has cancer.  The thought of having to discuss an economic euthanasia with a client crushes their heart. Struggle is constant to the vet tech that is unable to cope with the constant stream of trauma. Learning how to cope and maintain perspective for the day to day trauma is the only way they get through the day.  Burnout is related to the work environment of the vet tech and act in alliance with little play; long hours; lack of respect for the profession and job title; exposure to animals’ pain, suffering and dying; interpersonal issues and problems with doctors, vet tech co-workers, and clients.   Stress management skills and strategies are key to job satisfaction, joyful work days and the working demands.  Knowing their efforts are appreciated also helps, so don’t hesitate to give your favorite veterinary technician a smile, hug, and thank you, next time you see them.  

Veterinary technicians are the communication lifeline connecting you, your veterinarian, and your pet. They are highly educated and trained in providing the best possible nursing care for your beloved pet.  Being part of a veterinary team is a true commitment.  For those with the passion, heart, and empathy it takes to survive in this field, we honor you this October.  Thank you for all you do!

Special thank you to Canna Companion’s LVT Lisa …

We couldn’t run this place without you!