Veterinary Technician Week is over, but I'm not done!


>>> Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Andy Rollo brought his dog to his practice, and his crack team of veterinary technicians couldn't resist. (TOP ROW L-R: Jene Dupuis, Crystal Scott, Jessie Legree, Shannon Barrells, Sarah Greenhill. BOTTOM ROW L-R: Malena Yako, Jenny Nassar, George, Dr. Rollo.)

I had a pathology professor in school who always said, “If I only had one thing to practice veterinary medicine it would be a microscope.” It was a valid point, but if you ask me, the one thing I would need is a capable veterinary technician. Bottom line, I can't do what I do without my vet techs.

As I see it, when I walk out the door of my veterinary practice, I'm practically worthless. Sure, outside the hospital, pet owners ask me all their "vet questions." I tell them everything I know, but always explain that if they want me to do anything practical, I need a technician by my side.

Can I take a thorough history? Maybe if my life depended on it, but you just know that I'd forget to ask what food the pet eats or whether the pet has traveled in the last two years. Can I draw blood? Occasionally, if I'm lucky. But if my physician-not the nurse-was pointing a needle at me, I'd try try to bite him too. On that thought, could I place a patent IV catheter? If I did it right the first time, I might as well go down to the casino and put $100 on "7" at the roulette table because that would be my lucky day. I'm sure I could take a radiograph all by myself; It might have no diagnostic value, but the preschoolers would still think it's cool when I show it off at career day.

It seems pretty clear that I'm worthless without you vet techs. Remember that when, at the end of some day, you've got anal gland juice on your shirt, cat scratches down your arms and a foul smell in your nose. Remember that when you just can't shake the memory of that client who read you the riot act and you need to be ready to greet the next one with a smile. I know you might not feel appreciated, but you are.

Without you, the pet doesn't receive all the care it needs, the client doesn't receive important  information and, in many cases, a child doesn't go home with her beloved companion to lie next to her in bed.

You are the most important cog in the veterinary team. A veterinary hospital without a technician is like a baseball team taking the field without a catcher. Please know you are appreciated and valued in everything you do.

Dr. Andy Rollo is an associate at Madison Veterinary Hospital in Madison Heights, Michigan.

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