A veterinarian assistant helps handle dogs, cats and other animals in a veterinary practice or animal hospital. The assistant typically performs routine examinations and tests for the veterinarian and provides any assistance required when the doctor sees the animal. This can include helping calm, distract or subdue the animal to facilitate an examination and diagnosis. The assistant also typically is the person who monitors animals that are in recovery from surgical procedures in a kennel area, watching their reactions and appetites, assisting with feeding, and performing other important duties.
The veterinarian assistant is usually the first person at an animal hospital or veterinary practice to come into contact with the animal needing care. He or she may perform any on-the-spot assessments in emergency situations and is often the point of contact for routine checkups or procedures as well. He or she typically verifies shot records and animal health information and assesses the animal's health through routine examination. Many animals that require a surgical procedure or observation may be kept within the practice or animal hospital for overnight stays during recovery; tasks performed by the assistant in these cases may include keeping cages and housing areas clean, helping with feeding and monitoring behavior during recovery.
Veterinarian assistants typically seek out training in this field from community colleges or vocational schools, and many jurisdictions require some sort of professional certification to pursue employment in this career. Assistants also must have an aptitude and love for working with animals. Most veterinarian assistants work during daytime hours in an animal clinic, but animal hospitals and emergency service veterinary practices may require shift work or on-call status.
Veterinarian Assistant Tasks
Maintain animals, including feeding, cleaning, administering drugs and documenting care.
Support examinations by obtaining data and ensuring a safe environment.
Inventory equipment and medications to determine ordering needs and availability.
Interact with animals, staff and owners to determine care plans move animals to designated locations.
Train owners in drug administration, preventative maintenance and post-procedure care.