Celebrating National Vet Tech Week

BUCKHANNON — If you have a furry friend then you likely have a veterinary technician in your life as well. The week Sunday, October 16 through Saturday, October 22 is National Veterinary Technician Week. Veterinary technicians are vital to the daily function of veterinary practice and help to preserve animal health and welfare. This week is all about recognizing veterinary technicians and thanking them for their contributions.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) revealed that National Veterinary Technician Week has taken place in the third week of October since 1993. The AVMA says, “Efficient use of technicians drives practice efficiency and wellbeing—for everyone in the hospital. There’s a clear link between practice revenue and technician utilization and also between technicians’ job satisfaction and use of the skills and knowledge acquired in their education. Plus, when we fully utilize all of our technicians’ skills, we free up veterinarians’ time to focus solely on work that requires veterinary medical education—and that means more satisfied veterinarians as well.”

The history of National Veterinary Technical Week actually goes back further. According to National Today, “Animal husbandry started around 13,000 B.C., beginning with the domestication and breeding of dogs, sheep and goats. The practice was driven by the need to have food on hand when hunting was sparse. Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated — used for safeguarding hunting parties, assisting with hunting and later shepherding cattle.”

National Today also shared that animal domestication didn’t take place all at once. “For example, the nomads in the Middle East were the first to domesticate sheep and goats, while the South Americans worked on taming alpacas and llamas. Several centuries later, we had domesticated horses as meat sources and later as pack animals, cows as working animals and camels for traveling across the desert. These animals required maintenance and care, usually provided by animal doctors, local healers or the owners.

“It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that veterinary practice became established when farriers started working as horse doctors and later during the Renaissance, which brought many changes. For example, the first treatise on horse anatomy was published by Carlo Ruini in 1598, followed by the establishment of the Worshipful Company of Farriers in 1674. Yet it wasn’t until 1762 that the first veterinary schools opened in France. Over the ensuing centuries, the practice picked up and by the 1950s, the role of veterinary technicians had come into existence,” continued National Today.

Some fun facts about National Veterinary Technician week from National Today include that the Papyrus of Kahun is the earliest existing document mentioning veterinary medicine and that veterinary technicians have been around since the early 1950’s. Other facts shared by National Today include that Dr. Walter E. Collins is generally considered the father of veterinary technology in the U.S., around 80% of all vets in the U.S. are women, more than half of all human diseases originate in animals, about 16% of all veterinary services are dedicated to non-companion animals, wildlife and farm animals with around 6% of all veterinary services being dedicated to horses.

Some ways to observe National Veterinary Technician Week include researching the profession which allows one to understand how veterinary technicians contribute to the veterinary practice. Another way is to send a gift card. A small gesture like this with a short complimentary phrase will certainly brighter your favorite veterinary technicians’ day!

National Today says that National Veterinary Technician Week is important for several reasons. The first is that “Animals experience emotional, mental and physical health issues just like humans. Veterinary technicians can take care of the healthcare problems of animals.” The second is that it highlights veterinary technicians. “Being a veterinary technician is a highly underappreciated job. So, we love that National Veterinary Technician Week allows us to appreciate the efforts and dedication of veterinary technicians.” The third is that it creates awareness. “A job as a veterinary technician comes with its risks. No matter how docile an animal is, there is still a chance that it may attack the technician during the examination. National Veterinary Technician Week creates awareness about this often-ignored aspect of veterinary practice.”


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