Career Opportunity: RVT or Veterinary Assistant

Position Title:  Veterinary Assistant or RVT
Department:     Shelter Medicine & Spay/Neuter Clinic (SMSNC)
Classification:   Regular Full-time (40 hrs/wk), Non-exempt
Date:                 April 2014


The RVT or Veterinary Assistant is the primary medical care provider for shelter animals and patients at the SF SPCA Shelter Medicine and Spay/Neuter Clinic. They provide nursing care as directed by staff veterinarians. The animals in their care include patients of the Spay Neuter Clinic, Shelter Program, Foster Care Program, and Community Cares Initiative Program. Working as a team to oversee the care and treatment of up to 500 animals at any given time is essential.

Essential Duties and Functions:

Veterinary Medical Care

  • Monitor the health of shelter animals
  • Triage cases according to medical need
  • Perform medical intake physical examinations
  • Administer vaccines and other preventative medical treatments as outlined by SF/SPCA shelter medical protocols
  • Perform and interpret basic diagnostic tests such as, but not limited to, fecal floatation, skin scrapes, heartworm test, FeLV/FIV tests, DTM’s, blood agar, cytologies etc.
  • Prepare patients for spay/neuter surgery, assist in surgery, and monitor anesthesia under the direction of the veterinarian
  • Perform venipuncture, x-rays, laboratory tests, proper sample handling, IV catheter placement, and drug and fluid calculations as ordered by the veterinary staff
  • Able to interpret treatment sheets and administer treatment to patients (PO, topically, otic, ocular) under the direction of a veterinarian
  • Perform intramuscular and subcutaneous injections
  • Clean and pack surgical instruments
  • Assist doctors and other technicians in performing medical procedures
  • Administer medications to animals as directed by staff veterinarians
  • Operate an autoclave
  • Operate x-ray
  • Follow veterinary care protocols for animals in the SMSNC - including medical, behavior, isolation, quarantine and general care protocols for the health and well-being of the animals; individually and as a herd
  • Comply with all laws pertaining to controlled substances
  • Participate in medical rounds as directed by the staff veterinarian and supervisor
  • Understand standard veterinary terminology, basic medical math, procedures and animal health issues
  • Facilitate good working relationships through teamwork and collaboration

Administrative Duties

  • Maintain and create patient records by accurately recording treatments, examinations, and test results on computerized patient charts and other medical records
  • Reads and responds to e-mails at least one time per shift
  • Participate in regular staff meetings

Client and Community Service

  • Admit and release animals from the SMSNC in a responsive, courteous, and tactful manner to both internal and external clients
  • Inform clients of any pertinent medical information regarding animal care – communicate release instructions
  • Practice and encourage the humane treatment of animals
  • Provide quality customer service to clients, volunteers, and staff while actively promoting our mission, services, programs and events
  • Promote donation and giving opportunities as appropriate


  • Ensure a safe work environment by following all safety guidelines and modeling safe work practices
  • Follow established safety procedures governing safe work environment including wearing protective clothing or equipment when necessary
  • Take immediate action to address any safety concerns that could put a staff member, volunteer, customer, animal, or the organization at risk
  • Maintain a clean, healthy, and sanitary work area; follow all pest rodent control/protocols. Participate in keeping the SF SPCA campus clean and well-maintained


  • Work cooperatively with all volunteers and recognize the talent and commitment they bring to the Society

Diversity and Inclusiveness

  • Work effectively with individuals and colleagues from diverse communities and cultures

Reporting Relationships and Contacts:

Reports to the Nursing Care Manager

Physical Requirements and Work Environment:

  • Work is performed in a shelter/animal hospital setting
  • Regularly moves about the campus to coordinate work
  • Frequent bending, reaching, kneeling, and climbing stairs while seeing patients
  • Regular sitting at a computer workstation 1-2 hrs per day to input patient data
  • Exposure to disinfectant solutions when in kennel & treatment areas
  • Practice proper conduct in treatment room and surgery
  • Subject to animal bites and scratches while handling animals
  • Repeated lifting and carrying of animals weighing up to 50 pounds
  • Consistent exposure to animals and animal allergens under conditions with limited alternatives available
  • Tetanus and rabies (pre-exposure) inoculations are required or must be waived

Education and Experience:

  • Minimum of 2 years experience as a veterinary assistant
  • Registered Veterinary Technician in the state of California with at least one year of clinical experience
  • High school diploma or equivalent certification
  • Experience in animal welfare, shelter operations, or high volume spay/neuter clinic a plus
  • Exposure to common veterinary hospital equipment and tools, experience a plus

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Commitment to the mission, values, goals, and success of the San Francisco SPCA
  • Knowledge of the rules and regulations of what a Veterinary Assistant and RVT can perform as provided by the California Veterinary Medical Board
  • Experience with humane animal handling and restraint techniques of healthy, ill, and feral animals
  • Experience in caring for and handling animals in a safe, effective and humane manner, especially larger and possibly untrained pets
  • Comfortable working in the shelter environment and willing to accommodate animals in the work place
  • Computer literate and able to master veterinary software as applicable to clinic operations
  • Knowledge of basic dog and cat physiology, anatomy, and behavior as it relates to understanding the general health of animals.
  • Ability to understand and communicate pertinent medical information with colleagues and clients
  • Self motivated and able to initiate and complete tasks

Salary and Benefits:

The starting salary for this position depends on the depth and breadth of experience. Regular, full-time positions are eligible for benefits package including: paid time off, medical, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, tax-deferred retirement plan, pre-tax commute expense deductions, discounted veterinary care, employee discount on retail, pet supplies, and dog training classes.

The SF SPCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes applications from individuals who contribute to our diversity. We are an at-will employer and conduct pre-employment background checks and drug screening. This job description reflects the assignment of essential functions; it does not prescribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.

To apply for this position, please email your cover letter and resume to and list "RVT/VA - SN/SM" in the subject line. Thank you!