What are the different types of veterinary assistant jobs?

A veterinary assistant helps veterinarians treat pets.

People who want to work in the field of animal health but do not want to become a full-fledged veterinarian can choose to become a veterinary assistant. In some cases, people may use veterinary assistant jobs as a stepping stone to a career as a veterinarian. There are many types of veterinary assistant jobs, from being a receptionist at a veterinary clinic to helping a zoo veterinarian treat exotic animals. Here are some types of veterinary assistant jobs and the tasks associated with them.

Veterinary assistants may be tasked with administering vaccines.

Veterinary assistant jobs can be divided into two categories: those that require formal medical education and those that do not. Most veterinarians prefer to hire certified veterinary technicians to perform the more technical tasks associated with veterinary practice. These tasks may include helping the veterinarian in the exam room, assisting with surgery, taking and developing x-rays, and performing laboratory procedures.

A veterinary assistant may be responsible for assisting with animal health procedures.

Workers without formal training can often find jobs as an animal clinic receptionist or clinic assistant. The receptionist is usually responsible for scheduling appointments, disseminating information, answering phones, accounting tasks, and other office-related tasks. Other tasks that a clinic helper can help with include cleaning kennels and cages, feeding and exercising the animals, and general maintenance tasks. Often, these uncertified assistants can get enough hands-on training that they can eventually perform the duties of a veterinary technician.

Veterinary assistants may offer services to help at a local animal shelter.

A veterinary assistant may also be hired to assist a large animal veterinarian. In such a position, the assistant would likely travel to clients’ homes and farms with the veterinarian and help with animal health procedures. The animal assistant may be called upon to help contain the animals, administer medication, assist with farm and ranch-related activities such as calving and vaccinations.

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Veterinary assistants have generally not received formal training or certification.

Another option for animal health assistants is to work at an animal shelter or humanitarian society. Large shelters often have a veterinarian on staff. A veterinary technician will help the veterinarian perform health and temperament assessments, vaccinations, medical treatments and, in some shelters, euthanasia. If no veterinarian is on the team, a veterinary technician may perform some of these tasks without veterinary supervision.

A large veterinary assistant may travel to farms and ranches to care for horses and other animals.

Zoos, public aquariums and wildlife reserves offer another opportunity for veterinary assistants. In this position, the technician would typically assist with animal examinations, prophylactic care such as vaccinations and dentistry, assisting with surgical or radiological procedures, and animal record keeping tasks. Other miscellaneous veterinary assistant jobs include lab animal caretaker, research assistant, emergency health technician, or assistant at a spay and sterilization clinic.

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