The purpose of a veterinary technician program is to prepare a student to provide direct care to animals and assist a veterinarian in a clinic or hospital setting. Every program is different, but the ultimate goal is to produce an employee who is effective and efficient in a veterinary setting. Veterinary technician curriculum assists in developing a student to become comfortable around all types of animals and knowledgeable to provide quality care.
Veterinary Technician Curriculum at a Glance
The curriculum of veterinary technician programs varies from school to school. However, there are many areas that are common to most veterinary tech programs. These areas include:
- Veterinary Hospital Operations
- Communicating with Veterinary Clients
- Laboratory Skills
- Safety and Emergency
- Animal Behavior
- Complete Physical Examination Procedures
- Care for Exotic Pets
Veterinary Hospital Operations
In order to be efficient on the job, veterinary technicians must understand the basic operations of a veterinary hospital. In other words, “How does a vet work?” Veterinary technician curriculum provides students with an overview of how veterinary clinics and hospitals function, as a business entity. This assists with creating a productive and manageable work environment, even when case loads get chaotic.
Communicating with Veterinary Clients
No matter what industry you work in, if it involves meeting and collaborating with the general public, good communication skills are required. That is why veterinary technician curriculum has a special focus on communicating with veterinary clients. Veterinary clients differ from other types of customers. They are not purchasing a product or requesting a service, per se. Instead, they are coming to request help from the veterinarian to care for their pet, which in many cases is considered as a part of the family. Therefore, there is much more emotional attachment to problems, diagnoses, suggestions, and conclusions with veterinary clients. Students who complete a curriculum that includes communication with veterinary clients are usually better prepared to deal with customer service situations in a veterinary setting.
Complete Physical Examination Procedures
One of the most common duties of a veterinary technician is to conduct a basic physical examination on a wide variety of animals. A complete physical examination usually includes taking the weight of the animal, checking for fur quality & skin elasticity, checking basic dental health, and identifying any known behavioral issues, such as lethargy. A good curriculum should give a veterinary technician the tools they need to conduct a complete physical examination.
Laboratory tests are crucial tools that veterinarians use to diagnose patients. Veterinarians rely on the veterinary technician to process laboratory tests, such as blood tests and urinalysis. By relying on the support of vet techs, veterinarians can spend more time providing direct care to patients, while their technicians manage important laboratory procedures. Every veterinary technician curriculum should include sufficient instruction that will allow students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to operate efficiently in a laboratory setting.
Safety and Emergency
Because of the nature of the work, veterinary technicians are exposed to more dangerous situations on a daily basis. Vet techs report more instances of injury at work than many other occupations. The most common injuries are bits and scratches from aggressive or irritated animals. That is why veterinary technician curriculum should include instruction on safety and emergency procedures. Not only does this knowledge help veterinary technicians deal with unsafe and emergency situations, but it gives them the foresight to prevent them.
Performing laboratory tests and checking an animal for physical evidence of illness or injury is only part of animal wellness. Veterinary technician curriculum teaches students how to interpret and understand animal behavior. Basic examples of understanding animal behavior as a method to diagnose health issues include the unwillingness to eat food or drink water. Animals will often cry when in pain or experiencing discomfort, another behavior investigated by veterinary technicians.
Care for Exotic Pets
By far, mammals make up the majority of patients treated by veterinary clinics and hospitals. However, many veterinary technician programs include curriculum that instructs students how to care for exotic pets, such as reptiles, exotic birds, etc.