|Me and my all time favorite doggy patient.|
Vet techs are like nurses, but only for pets and animals. We do all kinds of things! We are nurses, anesthesiologists, x-ray technicians, phlebotomists, laboratory technicians, dental hygienists, janitors, dog walkers, mentors, teachers, surgical technicians, pharmacy technicians, receptionists, animal handlers and more all rolled into one job description! I'm sure I left something out, but you should get the idea.
I thought it would be neat to share some of the cool things I've done during my time as a vet tech. I realize that not everyone is going to think some of these things on the list are "neat", but people who work in the field of veterinary medicine have a certain type of appreciation for them that only we can understand...
1. Spay a Hamster
I worked at a practice that saw many types of animals, including hamsters. One dwarf hamster we were seeing was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and our exotic specialist told her people that we could try to spay her. It's not often that hamster people would say yes to something like this, but they did. And so we spayed her! And she lived through surgery. Amazing considering how tiny dwarf hamster are.
Photo via cdrussorusso
2. Meet ZZ Top's Vulture
A vulture came in one day to be seen. Apparently, it was a vulture that had gone on tour or been in the band ZZ Top's music videos. I can't remember all the details because I wasn't the assistant on the case. That's fine by me though, raptors sound a little intimidating. The vulture was 30+ years old, which I though was pretty cool. Not everyday that you meet a famous vulture.
3. Handle Hyacinth Macaws
If you've ever seen a Hyacinth Macaw in person, you know just how majestic these birds are. They are the largest flying parrot species. These birds beaks are massive and very intimidating! Luckily, when I handled them I had already become very good with my bird restraint skills. They are still super strong though!
Photo via Tambako the Jaguar
4. Open Heart Chest Compressions on a Great Dane
This is one of those things that I don't think some people will "get". Fortunately, I've only had to do this to one pet. It was a Great Dane that had some troubles during a surgical procedure. A team of doctors began some very intense CPR on the dog and when the dog's parents were reached, they gave us permission to do open heart chest compressions.
If you don't know what that means, it's when open the thoracic cavity up and begin manually pumping the heart of the dog. The whole event was fascinating, and we were able to see some results from all of our efforts to save the dog. Unfortunately, the dog did not make it. That part, of course, is not so cool...
5. Bring a Dog Back to Life 3 Times
Emergency medicine is exciting to vet techs - can't you tell? We had a little dog that was suffering from congestive heart failure. She began to decline and needed CPR. The clinic was extremely busy that day, but fortunately I was able to help revive her a total of 3 times during our CPR session. CPR is not something that is usually very effective, so it's always exciting when things like this happen. In the end, the dog did not make it. Another reminder of how ineffective CPR can be sometimes...
6. Neuter a Snake
Snakes are not something that we typically neuter. In this case, however, the snake had been attacked by a family pet and the doctor felt it was necessary to remove his testicles because of the damage that had been done. The family agreed to begin the surgery. Let me just say that a snake's testicles are very... long...
7. Handle a Swan
One of the last "coolest" things I got to do before I had my second daughter was go on a house call to see a mute swan. I was very pregnant... probably 8 months or so. I was kind of shocked to see just how large the swan was. I'm not sure what I expected, but I wasn't expecting a bird that was so big! It was almost as tall as me!
Photo via thekeithhall
We needed to get the swan's blood to see if it was a boy or a girl. Remember - How to Sex Your Bird? Thankfully, there were two very strong men there to help us catch and restrain the swan. Things went very smoothly. I was in charge of restraining it's head and neck.
8. Help Spay & Neuter Over 12 Rabbits in One Day
Our local animal shelter had recently acquired some rabbits and guinea pigs through a case of animal hoarding. They all needed to be spayed & neutered and the shelter elected to have the surgeries done at our clinic because of our exotic specialist veterinarians.
At a typical veterinary clinic, 3-4 spays/neuters a day may be all that is done. In fact, that could be quite a few for some clinics. At animal shelters, they dish out spays and neuters like it's nothing. So that's a pretty big difference in the way things are done. It was quite an accomplishment to do 12 exotic spays and neuters in one day.
We did a lot of extensive care before and after the surgeries that is extremely time consuming. I was in charge of all the prepping and post-operative care because I was pregnant and they wouldn't allow me to be in the surgery room due to anesthetic gases. It was quite a day to say the least! Very rewarding though.
9. Learn How to Place a Urinary Catheter in a Male Dog
I love doing "technical" stuff and so when the opportunity arose for me to do this to a patient, I jumped at it. Our head technician guided me as I placed a urinary catheter in on of our male dog patients. He was very used to having this done and had had one in place for several weeks due to a tumor that was obstructing his urethra.
10. Draw Blood from Lizards
Did you know that blood is drawn from a lizard's tail? Just check out the diagram below to see where the needle is inserted. I find it pretty interesting. I've got to draw blood from bearded dragons and iguanas before. Sometimes, I was unsuccessful but it's always fun to do the technical stuff and learn how to do new things.
|How to draw blood from a lizard's tail.|
There are plenty of other "cool" things I've done and interesting stories I have. These are just some of the things that stick out in my head. Which one do you think is the "coolest"?