Highly trained and absolutely critical, the tireless team of registered veterinary technicians (RVTs) and support staff who assist our hospitals are in a league of their own. Every single day, these skilled professionals tend to details ranging from lab tests and radiographs to client education and treatment administration. Much like the lifesaving work of nurses in human medicine, RVTs and vet assistants are the eyes, ears, and extra set of hands for veterinary doctors. They are so important, in fact, that one veterinarian with a support team can do the same amount of work as three veterinarians working alone!
“I love being an RVT because every day is different,” said SF SPCA Veterinary Tech Supervisor Diana Cruz. “And I know we’re going to be helping many lives.”
As part of our week-long celebration of veterinary support staff, we want to put a spotlight on the incredible work these team members do and all that they make possible. Most of all, we want to shout our appreciation for these heroes who save lives every day at the San Francisco SPCA and in animal healthcare all over the country. Right now, the U.S. is facing a shortage of people in this critical field, a reality that is impacting access to emergency services nationwide. That is how important, how valuable, tech support staff are to veterinary medicine.
Despite the challenges, SF SPCA Hospital Assistant Vanessa Gaglione remains inspired by the impact of being in veterinary health. “When I tell people where I work and what I do, I get a lot of respect. I frequently get the comments, ‘You must really be strong to do that work’ and ‘How great that you are able to help sick animals.’”
In school, RVTs and hospital assistants follow similar tracks, though assistants may have more administrative duties and they are not required to take a credential exam. Vet tech students learn how to assist in surgery, how to administer injections and oral medicine, run a multitude of tests, and how to support both veterinarians and clients. It is often the medical assistant or the RVT who first arrives in the exam room to see your pet and take all of their vital signs. These are frequently the people who explain how to give medicines or shares information about your pet’s care. Becoming an RVT or part of a veterinary support team is an opportunity to work directly with animals, either in a hospital or zoo, with a wildlife organization, or even in research studies. There are a variety of career paths that only expand with increased knowledge and experience.
“From the severe cases to the simple ear infections, every case counts,” said Diana. “Because these families love their pets and want to see them healthy. And if I’m lucky, I get to see the families pick up their pets with smiles and happy tears.”
In short, vet techs are heroes. They make veterinary medicine possible. Without these expert professionals, our pets would not be receiving the highest standard of care they receive every day. If you would like to learn more about becoming a hero in the veterinary field, click the links below.
Can You Help Us Save Animals Impacted by the Tulare Fire?
Right now, we are taking in dogs and cats from our partner shelter in Tulare County to make room for injured or at-risk animals. Please consider adopting from us today or making a donation to help us continue to save homeless animals.