A veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker works with a veterinarian or other supervisor to carry out tasks related to animal care; this work may take place at a private practice, laboratory or an organization such as a shelter or animal control center. The assistant may help the veterinarian handle animals while treatments or testing are being carried out. Some small practices also require the assistant to perform receptionist duties such as greeting customers, answering the phone and scheduling appointments. Clerical work such as creating and updating medical records is often done by the assistant as well. Some jobs require the assistant to work on weekends and evenings depending on the hours of the clinic and whether or not boarding services are offered.
Requirements for veterinary assistant or laboratory animal caretaker positions vary depending on the employer's needs and the specific position. Some jobs are entry level, while others require previous relevant experience. Additionally, some positions require graduation from a veterinary assistant program approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) or equivalent. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers must be comfortable working with animals and able to meet their position's physical requirements, which may include bending, lifting and walking for extended periods.
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.