What Does a Day as a Veterinary Assistant Look Like?
If you love animals, a job as a veterinary assistant is likely right up your alley.
Whether you want part-time or full-time work, you can find both in the busy veterinary world. Animals always need care, and there are plenty of practices around to take care of animals. In fact, the veterinary assistant field is growing much faster than most other jobs.
As a veterinary assistant, you'll start your day by setting up exam rooms, feeding, and watering animals, and greeting new animal patients. By the end of the day, you'll have helped a variety of pet owners keep their animals healthy and happy.
What better job could an animal-lover ask for?
Read on if you want to learn more about a job that keeps fur babies (and other non-furry types) healthy.
Veterinary Assistant Duties Day-to-Day
No matter where a vet assistant works, every day is guaranteed to be different. Most days you'll see cats and dogs for specialized care or routine check-ups. But sometimes the odd duck, iguana, rodent, and other non-farm animals may come through the door. A veterinary assistant’s duties include helping the veterinarian and other veterinary staff check-up and look after pets that owners bring in.
During a typical day, veterinary assistant tasks may include:
Clean cages and kennels
Clean exam and operating rooms
Restrain animals while a veterinarian does a procedure
Maintain and sterilize surgical instruments and equipment
Take care of animals after surgery
Feed, bathe and exercise animals
Assist with providing emergency first aid to sick and injured animals
Help with collecting blood, urine, and tissue samples
If you work in an emergency veterinary office, you’re guaranteed to have new challenges that arise each day. You’ll always have other coworkers and an experienced veterinarian to lean on throughout the day when you have questions about animal care. Your role as a vet assistant is an important one, and you’ll find veterinarians ask for your support often throughout the day.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Veterinary Assistant?
As a vet assistant, you'll be handling people's pets. Many people consider their pets part of the family, so offering premium care is a huge part of your job. Pet owners want to know that you love their animal almost as much as they do — especially if they have to be left in your care overnight — and want to know you will take care of their pet accordingly.
Other than training and certification, successful veterinary assistant skills include:
When dealing with sick or injured animals, you must have empathy and patience. Not all of your animal patients will be sick, and even the healthy ones may be scared at the vet. The ability to remain calm and soothe animals is a must.
You need to carefully listen to pet parents when they describe what's going on with their animal. Animals can't talk to us, so it's your job to ask the right questions and listen carefully to both pet owner concerns and the veterinarian’s instructions. Proper treatment weighs heavily on the ability to communicate.
Throughout your day as a vet assistant, you'll need to do a variety of tasks that require special instruments or machinery to care for animals. Since you’ll use tools like computer systems, syringes, x-ray machines, etc. daily, you’ll want to be comfortable using them. You can pick up these skills through program training or on-the-job training.
Is There Anything a Veterinary Assistant Cannot do by Law?
There's plenty of vet assistants can do, but as with most job roles, there are some things a vet assistant must let other staff members handle. Each state has its laws and regulations that govern what vet assistants can do.
Animal Lovers Should Apply
Veterinarians want to hire compassionate and patient animal lovers to work in their practices. And while 85% of vet assistants find work with veterinary offices, there are also plenty of other work settings to choose from in this line of work. Universities, junior colleges, and research labs also hire vet assistants to work on staff.
People love their pets, and they want to know you do, too, while they are under your care. If you love learning about new animal breeds, as well as the responsibility of taking part in an animal’s well-being, consider training and employment as a vet assistant.
What questions do you have about veterinary assistant duties? Talk to an education consultant today!