The veterinary assistant primarily assists veterinarians in a practice with animal care. Often, it involves working side by side with the veterinarian to administer vaccinations, draw blood for testing, or otherwise generally assist in examinations and care. In certain situations, they are called upon to assist the veterinarian in surgical procedures as well.
The veterinary assistant may have office duties as well in some practices. They may help with scheduling appointments, work as a liaison with pet owners, and help maintain a clean, healthy waiting area and examination environment. Thus, depending on the situation, an assistant may need at least some familiarity with office functions such as word processing and file management.
Where allowed by licensing requirements, the assistant also typically has supervisory responsibilities for animals left in the care of the veterinary practice. They handle proper feeding and water schedules, and they must keep such areas clean and sanitary, working to assist housebroken animals in elimination and other hands-on needs.
One of the main requirements for the veterinary assistant position is a love for and comfort with animals and pets of all kinds. Additionally, being a veterinary assistant normally requires some form of technical or vocational training and certification. Normally, veterinary assistants work standard business hours, but, in certain practices, they may also be required to spend late nights or overnights at the clinic in the aforementioned supervisory role.