What is a VA you may ask?
A VA is a veterinary assistant, also known as an animal care assistant. We, the VA’s, are the behind the scenes people who you don’t see as often. We are responsible for all the husbandry duties in the clinic, we set up the kennels for the patients that are staying in the hospital and make sure they have warm dry beds throughout the day.
VA’s set up all the surgery packs in the surgical suite and ensures that everything is sterile for the doctor to go in for surgery. We then assist the technician when preparing the pet for surgery – from holding them for their IV catheters to shaving the desired area and cleaning them with the surgical prep solution.
Everyone in the hospital works together as a team; each person plays a key role in making the clinic run smoothly. VA’s are needed to assist the doctors and technicians perform treatments on animals such as restraining for blood, nail trims, ear cleaning, skin scraping and fine needle biopsies. Without a VA it would be more difficult to perform these tasks.
Some animals do not like to be held for procedures and treatments, but it is very important that they remain still to minimize anyone getting hurt. If you were to ask any VA what is the most important thing to think of while holding a pet for procedures is “Do not let anyone get bit”. It takes lots of training and practice to know how to properly restrain animals so that everyone is in a safe comfortable position.
We don’t always have it easy; often we get scratched, peed on and sometimes even bitten. Those are all risks of being a VA, but we show up bright and early for our shifts because we love our job! There are many duties that veterinary assistants perform in a day; more than most people realize. Strong multi-tasking skills, a calm and gentle energy and a positive attitude, are all strengths that a VA must have. VA’s are an important team member to have in a veterinary practice, as is every other member of the team, and we should be recognized for our hard work and dedication to the job.
Written by Carly Wright, ACA