Every National Veterinary Technician Week, we honor the dedication, passion, and hard work of vet techs everywhere, and especially those at the York County SPCA. Hear from our Clinic Medical Director and Shelter Medical Director about how vital vet techs are to saving animal lives and to animal care teams.
Each year, the third week of October is set aside to recognize and celebrate the valuable contributions that vet techs make to both the veterinary profession and our society. Veterinary technicians play countless roles within a veterinary hospital. So much of what we do relies on their knowledge, skills, compassion, and dedication to helping animals.
In human medicine, there are nurses, anesthesiologists, laboratory technicians, X-ray technicians, surgical assistants, phlebotomists, dental hygienists, nutritionists, and more. In veterinary medicine, the veterinary technician covers ALL those roles. At the York County SPCA, veterinary technicians are responsible for client education, preparing patients for surgery, inducing and monitoring anesthesia, administering vaccines and medications, providing various treatments, performing diagnostic tests, providing emergency first aid and general nursing care, restraining animals safely for the veterinarians, and so much more.
The passion and dedication of vet techs is what keeps our Spay/Neuter Clinic and shelter’s veterinary wing running and able to help thousands of animals in our community each year. As the Clinic Medical Director and primary surgeon of the York County SPCA’s Spay/Neuter Clinic, I can’t overstate how valuable our vet techs are, and how much they deserve our respect and appreciation.
We would simply be unable to achieve our mission without them!"
- Dr. Kimberly Mann, Clinic Medical Director
"The passion and dedication of vet techs is what keeps our Spay/Neuter Clinic and shelter’s veterinary wing running and able to help thousands of animals in our community each year."
This Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week, I would like to take the opportunity to give you a behind-the-scenes look into a vet tech’s day. The public awareness surrounding their job is often poor, so hopefully this can give you a small insight into just how invaluable veterinary technicians are to our field.
After an already long day of assisting in surgeries, doing paperwork, restraining injured and ill animals for the doctor, preparing and giving medications, and helping care for the roughly 300 animals we have in the shelter on any given day (all while probably not having a proper lunch break), imagine a badly injured stray dog is brought in. The technician runs out to the parking lot, gathers some information from the finder, and assesses the dog. When they notice he is not stable, they sprint with the 50-pound dog in their arms to the medical wing while yelling for the doctor. After the doctor examines the dog, the vet tech places an IV catheter and starts fluids. At the same time, they collect blood, start running that, and then wrestle the dog to get x-rays with the help of an assistant.
When we see that the dog needs emergency surgery, the vet tech immediately prepares the surgical suite, instruments, drug logs, anesthesia sheets, and patient to assure no precious time is lost. During the procedure, they monitor all vital signs to make sure he remains stable under anesthesia, and then stay with him during recovery, alerting the doctor right away with any problems. They will provide him with comfort, love, and the expertise of their watchful eye noticing if his pain level is increasing at all.
Since he is on so many IV fluids, the technician, along with the veterinary wing's animal care technicians, make sure his bedding is always dry and he is never laying in urine even if that means they get some on themselves in the process – though, if that was the worst thing they got on themselves that day, it would be considered a win. They will patiently walk him outside to get his strength up and administer all his medications on time.
By this time, the vet tech is emotionally and physically drained from the day. Remember, this is just one patient among hundreds they are responsible for that day. Nevertheless, they will wake up and do it all again tomorrow.
Veterinary technicians are the true heroes in veterinary medicine. I would frankly not be able to do my job without them. The next time you see a veterinary technician, please thank them for their dedication, compassion, and service they provide to your pets and the animals at the shelter who have no one to speak for them.
- Dr. Natalie Weekes, Shelter Medical Director
"Veterinary technicians are the true heroes in veterinary medicine. I would frankly not be able to do my job without them."