Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

Description

Feed, water, and examine pets and other nonfarm animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories and animal hospitals and clinics. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. May provide routine post-operative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Tasks

  • Monitor animals recovering from surgery and notify veterinarians of any unusual changes or symptoms.
  • Clean and maintain kennels, animal holding areas, examination or operating rooms, or animal loading or unloading facilities to control the spread of disease.
  • Hold or restrain animals during veterinary procedures.
  • Administer medication, immunizations, or blood plasma to animals as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • Provide emergency first aid to sick or injured animals.
  • Assist veterinarians in examining animals to determine the nature of illnesses or injuries.
  • Clean, maintain, and sterilize instruments or equipment.
  • Perform routine laboratory tests or diagnostic tests, such as taking or developing x-rays.
  • Administer anesthetics during surgery and monitor the effects on animals.
  • Prepare surgical equipment and pass instruments or materials to veterinarians during surgical procedures.
  • Examine animals to detect behavioral changes or clinical symptoms that could indicate illness or injury.
  • Fill medication prescriptions.
  • Collect laboratory specimens, such as blood, urine, or feces for testing.
  • Provide assistance with euthanasia of animals or disposal of corpses.
  • Record information relating to animal genealogy, feeding schedules, appearance, behavior, or breeding.
  • Prepare feed for animals according to specific instructions, such as diet lists or schedules.
  • Educate or advise clients on animal health care, nutrition, or behavior problems.
  • Prepare examination or treatment rooms by stocking them with appropriate supplies.
  • Perform enemas, catheterizations, ear flushes, intravenous feedings, or gavages.
  • Perform office reception duties, such as scheduling appointments or helping customers.
  • Perform hygiene-related duties, such as clipping animals' claws or cleaning and polishing teeth.
  • Exercise animals or provide them with companionship.
  • Dust, spray, or bathe animals to control insect pests.
  • Groom, trim, or clip animals' coats.
  • Sell pet food or supplies to customers.
  • Write reports, maintain research information, or perform clerical duties.
  • Perform accounting duties, such as bookkeeping, billing customers for services, or maintaining inventories.

Skills

Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Abilities

Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Glare Sensitivity
The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.

Interests

Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Work Style

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Lay Titles

Animal Care Provider
Animal Care Service Worker
Animal Care Taker
Groomer
Kennel Assistant
Kennel Attendant
Kennel Technician
Kennel Worker
Veterinarian Assistant
Veterinarian Helper
Veterinary Assistant (Vet Assistant)
Veterinary Attendant
Veterinary Surgery Technician
Veterinary Technician (Vet Tech)

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$11.12 hourly, $23,130 annual.
Employment (2008):
71,500 employees