Working at an Animal Shelter

If you decide to work an animal shelter, you will have chosen the one place where the rewards for work are going to be limitless. All that you do at a shelter is going to be for the animals that no one wants anymore. You are going see some things you probably will never see anywhere else. If you want the best animal experience in the world, go to work at an animal shelter.

When you work at a shelter, your job as a vet tech will entail assisting the staff veterinarian in a multitude of tasks. The animals at a shelter need a lot care and a lot of love. You will be responsible for giving vaccines and keeping up with everyone’s scheduled due date for the next round of vaccines. You will be responsible for reporting any coughing from the dogs or any sneezing from the cats to the veterinarian. Dogs coughing could mean Bordatella, otherwise known as kennel cough, and is highly contagious. Your job will be to stay on top of all the animals for sign of any kind of infectious disease. A cat sneezing may mean nothing, but it could also mean the start of URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) that could spread in a day’s time through every cat in the room.

Duties at an animal shelter
The animals at the shelter are brought in very sick sometimes and it will also be your job to nurse them back to health after the doctor has examined them and prescribes medications. The one part about working at an animal shelter is that at a lot of shelters, euthanasia is performed on a daily basis. Sometimes this euthanasia may seem senseless when the animals are put down due to the fact that there is no room for them anywhere in the shelter and all the volunteer families have as many animals as they can handle. This is a fact of life at an animal shelter. Shelters receive thousands and thousands of animals every year. It is virtually impossible to find them all homes. But all the animals that do get homes and loving families will help in taking away the pain for those who don’t.

Spaying and neutering
Most shelters today have clinics on the shelter grounds. A lot of these clinics offer low cost spaying and neutering to the public. Your job as a vet tech at this clinic will be to assist the veterinarian in these spays and neuters. You will be the one administering anesthesia, preparing the animal for surgery (shaving tummies), and you will also be the one who monitors the oxygen and nitrous oxide. Depending on the doctor’s preference, you may only have to administer anesthesia through the vein and then add a tracheotomy tube. The tracheotomy tube will only be necessary if the animal starts to show signs of waking up during the surgery. Then you would hook up oxygen and nitrous oxide to the tracheotomy tube that you already have in place. Then some doctors would prefer to add the nitrous and oxygen right from the start.

Penn Foster College
A.A.S. in Veterinary Technology
Penn Foster College - Distance Learning Program
Become a vet tech in as little as 1 year. The Penn Foster Veterinary Technician associate degree program is fully accredited by the AVMA.
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