A veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker works to process animals from initial reception, through exams and procedures, and to discharge. It is also his or her job to maintain medical inventory, stocks, and supplies, as well as clean animal rooms, cages, and kennels as needed. The veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker must be able to restrain animals and assist with exams, treatments, anesthetics, and sometimes surgery. A veterinary assistant will work closely with the lead veterinarian in order to provide the best possible care and service to animals and their owners. As such, he or she must be capable of interacting in a professional manner with the patients' owners as well as provide the necessary attention and care to the patient.
A veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker works indoors in a veterinary hospital or clinic. The job is both physically and mentally demanding. The veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker must be capable of operating heavy medical equipment as well as lifting animal patients. He or she must also be aware of the uses of all medical tools and procedures and be able to assist in emergency first aid when required. A veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker will work directly under a veterinarian, but may also work with other veterinary assistants, technicians, and nurses. High school and college are necessary, and veterinarian school is advised but not required. The typical workday of a veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker is variable due to the changing hours of veterinarians. The veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker may be called to work at any time during the day or night, particularly if he or she works in a hospital rather than a private clinic.
Veterinary Assistant or Laboratory Animal Caretaker Tasks
- Restrain animals and assist with exams, treatment, anesthetic, and surgeries.
- Maintain medical inventory, stocks, supplies and clean rooms, cages and kennels.
- Process animals from initial reception, through exams or procedures to discharge.
- Provide first aid and rapid diagnosis in emergency situations.