Did You Know?
Amur Tigers are the biggest cats in the wild, topping out around 600 pounds!
This week is National Veterinary Technician Week. Veterinary Technicians are a very integral part of the veterinary medical team, as well as part of the zoo. In fact, without a veterinary technician (or zookeepers) I pretty much could not do my job, or at least do it well.
What are veterinary technicians? They are the equivalent of a nurse in human medicine. Technicians are the organizers, the laboratory testers, the prescription fillers, the surgical assistants, and in general they help with every aspect of veterinary medicine. Veterinary technicians are well trained individuals who have gone through a 2-4 year degree program to learn various aspects of veterinary medicine including placing IV catheters, cleaning and polishing teeth, identifying parasites, performing blood counts, identifying cells from masses or other organs, monitoring anesthesia and how to assist in surgeries. In fact, veterinary technicians are so involved in all aspects of veterinary medicine they are and should be the right hand of any good veterinarian. In private practices veterinary technicians are typically the ones who you see when you bring your pet in and they perform the initial evaluation of your pet, they may be the practice manager, or they may be in charge of organizing and keeping all surgeries going smoothly.
Here at the zoo we have a veterinary technician, Debbie, who also helps keep everything going. Specifically she assists in every medical procedure we perform here at the zoo, which is well over 800 procedures per year! She identifies any parasites the animals may have, reads blood smears from our birds and reptiles, and sets up and cleans up for any surgeries that we perform here at the zoo. That is quite a bit for one person! In addition to all of that she also helps to take care of any new animals who arrive to the zoo including feeding them and keeping their enclosures clean. Now I am not discounting any of our other staff here at the zoo, I am pretty dependant on many of our other staff as well, but our technician helps keep me organized and focused on following through with all of the routine animal care required (vaccines, and physical exams) as well as all of the unexpected sick animal treatments and care. So to veterinary technicians everywhere, thank you for what you do for veterinary medicine and keep up the good work! We couldn't exist without you!