Having a ‘Great Day’ as an Emergency Vet Tech

Many people do not realize that there is a great need for emergency animal care. Like humans, animals operate on no time clock when it comes to getting sick or hurt. Therefore, throughout the country many after-hours as well as 24-hour-per day emergency animal hospitals and clinics have been established to meet this need. The rising occurrence of more facilities dedicated to the care of animals at whatever time the need arises has also spiked a need for trained emergency veterinarian technicians like Tania who works at an always open animal care facility in south Texas.

Whenever the Need Arises

“We once had a truck pull up in the parking lot at two in the morning with a sick Giraffe onboard,” Tania said retelling the story to a group of high school students on Career Day. “We’ve had horse trailers pull up in the middle of the night with a sick animal in need of immediate care. We have also had to perform emergency surgeries before dawn ever came near our work day,” she tells the students.

Shift Availability to Suit Lifestyle

“I chose the overnight shift once I graduated from school,” Tania said. She said she was real happy to find an accredited two-year program for RVTs (Registered Veterinary Technician) at a local community college. And, since there was an always open care facility in a nearby community, Tania applied for the “graveyard” shift since she was a single mother of one.  This allowed her more time at home with her two-year-old Kara, she said. Tania says she works three 12-hour shifts per week that helps her develop a stronger relationship with her child. “The pay sure beats working in fast food,” she said. She said that her shifts go by quickly just as if she were working an 8-hour day shift since there are fewer employees on overnight. “There’s always some kind of paperwork or something to clean that keeps me constantly on the go.”

What’s a Day like Anyway?

“My ‘day’ starts around 7:45 p.m. when I prepare to take my shift checking to see if there is anything left over from the previous shift,” she answers a student’s question. “There’s a pre-shift checklist that needs to be examined – mostly to make sure all supplies are at the ready – plus to acknowledge any notes or directions written down by the vets with specific orders needed to be followed on my shift. There’s a lot to do – but it is rewarding work and always interesting.”

Tania tells students that a typical “day” may include periodic checks on patients confined to the hospital who need treatment frequently enough to warrant their stay. She said although most of the animals tend to be typical cat and dog pets, it is not uncommon to have exotic “guests” as well. “We once had a very sick sheep here for several days,” she said. She said there is medicine to administer, IV catheters to change or place, drawing blood for lab tests, changing bandages, cleaning wounds and assisting in emergency medical procedures including surgery.

‘I think my day is always great since I get to do what I love – working with animals,” Tania told students with a big grin on her face.