Veterinary technicians have a wealth of knowledge and know-how to share.
But you know what? I think they’re often under-utilized by most clients.
Depending on their experience and skill set, veterinary techs can be as helpful as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant in human medicine. All you have to do is ask.
1. Phone Assistance
Techs are an invaluable asset when it comes to answering your questions on the phone. The veterinarian is always consulted and made aware of your concerns about your pet, but a vet technician can give you a lot of guidance and information on the phone.
Your immediate concerns will be addressed, recommendations will be made and the technician can assess the urgency of your pet’s condition.
2. Home Care
Many clients believe they understand their discharge instructions only to discover that when they arrive home, confusion abounds. A few minutes with a tech can ease your mind and ensue the home care plan is working. Ten minutes with a tech is better than 10 hours of worry at home.
3. Ear Care
Whether it is simple ear cleaning or administering ear flushes and medications after an ear infection diagnosis, a tech can help make sure you are getting the job done well at home.
4. Pill Administration
Before your frustration goes through the roof trying to medicate a stubborn pet, get a lesson from your friendly vet tech first.
5. Subcutaneous Fluids
“SQ” fluids can be given at home to treat a number of conditions, with chronic renal (kidney) failure topping the list. We always give an initial demonstration of this procedure before you try it at home, but you may need more help — enter the vet tech, who can always give you more information on best practices.
Treating your pet for diabetes with insulin injections is the most common reason to give injections at home. They’re simple, quick and painless, but some people are squeamish about needles.
A vet tech can help you administer the insulin correctly and give you confidence when it comes to needles and injections.
7. Dental Care
Buying the veterinary toothpaste is only the first step — you need to use it!
If dental care is not going smoothly at home, bring Smiley in for a little lesson with the tech.
8. Incision Care
Vet techs check a lot of post-op incisions, spay and neuter incisions, lacerations, ear hematomas, growth removal incisions — you name it.
If you have any concerns about how an incision is healing, have it checked by a vet tech. She can tell you if the incision is healing according to plan, help with incision care if needed or have it checked by a vet.
9. Wound Care and Bandage Changes
Various wounds all heal differently. Many, even after being treated by the vet, need more follow-up care. Your vet tech can give you advice and the wound care your pet requires.
Besides technical knowledge, vet techs can provide counsel for clients considering euthanasia for their pet:
10. Anal Glands
Expressing anal glands requires skill. Some people try to learn and perform this smelly task at home. Most people are not successful.
Likewise, most dogs do not need routine anal gland expression. Few pooches need a little extra help, but if they do, your vet tech can help.
11. Toenail Clipping
If you want to try at-home pedicures, your vet tech can give you some tips so that you only clip the nail tips and not your pet’s skin.
From teaching comforting restraint techniques to using the proper nail clippers and showing how to hold the foot and where to clip the nail — and how to stop any bleeding if you are a bit over-exuberant — a simple demonstration is worth a thousand trial-and-error attempts at home.
12. Coat Clipping
You know the warning: “Do not attempt this at home.” Trying to clip around a pet’s more sensitive areas or matted fur behind the ears — or really anywhere on the body — can end in an injury. Your vet tech can give your longhaired cat or Sheltie a “sanitary clip” in about a minute, making a clear channel for the poop to end up where it belongs and not stuck to your pet’s privates.
You may think you’re taxing your vet tech to the limit with these demonstration requests and inquiries, but believe me: No question is silly, no concern should go disregarded and your vet tech is the ounce of prevention that is worth a pound of cure.