Thursday, October 15, 2015

What is an LVT?

Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services is a 24 hour veterinary emergency and specialty referral facility. We are the only hospital like this in our city--the next closet being 100 miles away and over an hour's drive. This means that we are always busy and require staff around the clock! Our staff is like no other. We are so honored to have such devoted, hard working, and compassionate employees in our facility who work hard for the patients every day.

This is why we are finding ways to say thank you to our staff this week during our annual Staff Appreciation week. We're going to be doing all kinds of fun things to show the staff how much we appreciate what they do every day. It just so happens that this week is also National Veterinary Technician Week! Although we value our technicians and the rest of the staff every day of the year, we like to use this week to honor them for the high-quality veterinary care they execute.

You might want to know what a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), or "Vet Tech", does; well, that can vary depending upon the type of hospital and where the hospital is located. We were lucky enough to get some insider information from one of our vet techs at VSES. Jen has 14 years of experience in the field, and has been a technician with VSES for half of those years! We asked her what it is like to be a technician at an emergency/specialty hospital and her is what she had to say!

 Emergency LVTs working on an IV catheter for this patient.
 You never know what the day will bring when you are an LVT in an emergency/specialty practice. Our emergency technicians generally see and care for some of the most severely ill and injured patients in our area. This means that they have some advanced skills that are not seen in general veterinary practices--such as placing jugular catheters, arterial catheters, urinary catheters (in both male adn female dogs), and excellent venipuncture skills. 

Along with these skills, our technicians are typically working during some very sad and stressful situations because of the nature of the cases that come through our front doors. Patients that have been hit by a car, bloat, urinary obstruction, and dog fights are just a few of the types that we see on a regular basis. The LVTs are then expected to perform all of their tasks--such as drawing blood, placing intravenous catheters, administering medications, taking radiographs, and monitoring breathing and patient comfort--during very critical and chaotic situations. Once patients are stabilized, our technicians get to follow up with after care treatments like monitoring vitals, administering medications, blood transfusions, and general husbandry care. 

Surgery LVTs helping a patient recover after surgical repair of wounds from
a dog fight.
The specialty technicians can have their own similar challenges. In many cases, a critical patient may be transferred to a specialty department for a more advanced look into the problem. In these instances, the staff is typically moving quickly to try and coordinate many of the treatments and procedures between departments in the most efficient way possible so that appropriate care can begin immediately. For general specialty patients that come in on appointments, the cases tend to be extremely complex. This is because patients are typically referred to us by their primary care veterinarian when their doctor feels that the pet requires a board-certified specialist with increased knowledge and experience in a specific area such as surgery, internal medicine, diagnostic imaging, ophthalmology, neurology, or dermatology. 

Simply put, any technician at an emergency/specialty hospital has to know their basic LVT skills and knowledge plus the skills and knowledge needed to work with complex and critical cases. One thing remains equal across all veterinary technicians (and all other staff members) in any field of veterinary medicine: no matter where they work, they all have the same goal to care for and keep patients as comfortable as possible. People in veterinary medicine work for animals. At VSES, we do that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So, we thank all of our staff (and all veterinary staff) for all that they do around the clock to provide care to the animals of the world!