If you would ask what a veterinary assistant job description is, you would most likely be told that a veterinary technician is one who provides assistance to veterinarians. However, the veterinary assistant’s job duties may vary from one employer to another. The work setting is also another factor that may affect it. Typical work settings include veterinarian facilities, private and public zoos, commercial units in which animals are treated, and animal research laboratories. Click here to see the difference between working as a vet tech and a vet assistant.
Nonetheless, veterinary assistants basically support the essential duties and equipment that the veterinarian needs to treat animals. The vet assistant needs to attend to the customers who bring their pets to the clinic. He does a rough check, conducts an inquiry, and performs a pre-screening examination to find out the problems of the animals. He also obtains the medical histories of the animals in treatment.
In addition, a veterinary assistant prepares the pets, surgical tools, and other equipment for surgery. He administers anesthesia to the animals prior the operation under the supervision of the veterinarian. Although he is not the one who does the surgical procedures, he is responsible for helping the veterinarian carry out his tasks. He also imparts training to the new recruits in the facility and teaches them about their duties.
These duties include handling inventory aspects such as buying medicines, apparatus, and basic essentials, ensuring that all necessary equipment are well maintained, handling reception tasks such as scheduling appointments and receiving calls, and keeping a record of treatments. As mentioned above, the tasks and duties which the assistant is required to perform may vary from one workplace to another. So, some veterinary assistants may need to act as secretaries or receptionists while others do not.
Veterinary technicians as well as assistants working in animal research laboratories are required to take care of pets, feed them regularly, and keep them well groomed. Some of them may even need to conduct therapies appropriate for animals. They should have the physical ability and strength to stand for an entire shift when the situation calls for it. They should also be able to lift heavy objects and pets weighing up to fifty pounds without any assistance. In case of emergency, they should be well prepared and knowledgeable on what to do.
Patient admittance and pet identification are also included in the job description of a veterinary assistant. The veterinary assistant should cordially greet incoming patients and clients, addressing each of them by name. He should check for client information and update any outdated data. He should be able to provide the client with thorough and accurate information regarding the procedures.
With regard to admittance and financial policies, he should be also be able to talk to the clients about it. He should advice the clients with special call-in times to speak with the veterinarian. Unrestrained and unruly pets are inevitable, so the veterinary assistant should also be able to handle cases in which the pets become uncontrollable and aggressive. Small pets should be caged while dogs should be leashed.
As for pet identification, the veterinary assistant should be able to scan the animals for tags, tattoos, and microchips. He should identify and record these findings to serve as data. Animals that need extensive care may need cage cards, so he should also be able to create these. Moreover, he should talk to the pet owners regarding the different pet identification systems available. He should assist them in registering necessary information.
So basically, working as a vet assistant is about basic pet care, cleaning, post-operative care, laboratory duties, and front office tasks. A veterinary assistant should know how to feed, clean, and care for animals. He should be able to keep their cages clean and well maintained. He should be able to follow orders such as taking x-rays, performing tests, and drawing blood.
He should be able to perform office tasks such as answering the questions of pet owners. Furthermore, he should be able to handle animal death. There are cases in which the pets are dead-on-arrival or euthanized. Some pets also die during hospitalization. In these cases, both veterinary technicians as well as the assistants should be able to provide the owners with memorials. He should also be able to calmly deal with grieving or angry pet owners.