Careers in Animal Health… The animal health care field is similar to the human health care field in many respects of medical knowledge. Some people consider the animals they own to be ‘members of the family’. Animal health care workers work in zoos and zoological parks, laboratories, kennels, animal shelters, veterinary clinics and hospitals, stables, pet supply and grooming retail stores, or aquariums.
Careers in Animal Health: Veterinarian In human medicine, the doctor studies one species. Veterinarians are animal doctors, and study at least 5 species: dogs, cats, horses, cows, and sheep. Some veterinarian colleges focus on domesticated animals and include poultry, swine, and goats. Others focus on birds, reptiles, zoo animals, fish, native wildlife, or small animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs.
Careers in Animal Health: Veterinarian The majority of veterinarians work with companion animals: dogs and cats. Many programs require a Bachelor’s degree, acceptance into a Veterinarian program followed by 2-4 years of specialized studies, and national board examinations. A veterinarian diagnoses animal diseases, treats sick and injured animals, prevents transmission of animal diseases to humans, teaches owners how to care for animals, and/or works in animal preservation.
Careers in Animal Health: Veterinary Technician There are often two veterinarian technicians for every veterinarian. Each state has different educational requirements, but most require 2-4 years of school and some sort of licensing. Most technicians work in clinical practice, with varied responsibilities.
Careers in Animal Health: Veterinary Technician The veterinarian technician cannot diagnose, perform surgery, or prescribe medications, but can do examinations, collect blood, urine, tissue, and fecal samples, administer medications, induce anesthesia, clean and bandage wounds, take Xrays, assist in diagnostic procedures, clean teeth, and prep animals for surgery.
Careers in Animal Health: Veterinary Assistant The veterinary assistant helps the veterinarians and veterinary technicians. It is an entry-level job with on-the-job training or some level of certification. A veterinary assistant cleans cages, exercises, feeds, and bathes animals, collects samples for testing, performs clerical duties such as answering phones, greeting clients, collecting payments, maintaining records.
Careers in Animal Health: Biomedical Research Technician The biomedical research technician cares for animals used in research and teaching. Levels of education vary, but all must be certified by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. The use of animals for research is closely regulated by the federal government. Workers must follow procedures carefully. Some research technicians are able to perform advanced skills such as surgery.
Careers in Animal Health: Groomer Animal groomers may attend school for 4-18 weeks, complete a 6-10 week apprenticeship, or be required to take a written and practical skills exam from the National Dog Groomers Association of America. A groomer brushes out, bathes, blow dries, clips, and styles animal hair. They trim nails and clean ears. They may paint nails or add bows and ribbons.
Careers in Animal Health: Groomer Groomers may also answer phones, schedule appointments, sell pet food and supplies, collect information about a pet’s disposition, report medical problems such as skin or ear infections, or operate a business. The groomer may also assist in obedience training, pet day care, or breeding.
Safety Concerns in Animal Health Care A zoonosis is a disease that humans can get from animals. Even animals that appear healthy can transmit diseases. The animal health care worker needs to wear masks and gloves during some procedures, manage vaccination programs for animals (such as rabies), use approved sanitation standards and good personal hygiene.
Safety Concerns in Animal Health Care Animal bites, whether from dogs, cats, horses, or tigers, are the major cause of injuries in the animal health care industry. Other potential hazards are scratches, anesthesia, medical waste, radiation from Xrays, chemicals, drugs, and excessive noise.
Emotions in Animal Health Care The animal health care worker must deal with their own emotions, as well as those of the pet owner. They may witness cases of animal abuse. They may have to euthanize an animal. Euthanization is the painless and merciful termination of life of a hopelessly sick or injured animal. The animal health care worker sometimes assists the pet owner in the final disposition of the pet’s remains.
Diagnostic Skills in Animal Health Care: The Fecal Exam A fecal exam is the examination of an animal’s stool sample, usually looking for the ova (eggs) or larvae (early form) of parasites living in the animal’s intestines. A centrifuge is used to spin and separate the specimen. A microscope is used for the examination. Parasites can be very harmful to the animal’s health.
Diagnostic Skills in Animal Health Care: The Urinalysis The urinalysis is a series of tests performed on the urine of the animal. It can detect urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, and other abnormalities A refractometer (TS Meter) is used to determine the specific gravity or density of the urine, which may give some indication of a kidney problem.
CAREERS IN ANIMAL HEALTH CARE THE END