What a Vet Tech College Grad Will Tell You About Chocolates and Pets

July 8th, 2011 by rebeccac

So you want to go to vet tech school? It’s a great career, and there’s so much that people don’t know about their pets.

For instance, many people know that while chocolate may be a treat for them, it’s definitely not a treat for their dogs. In fact, chocolate can be life-threatening, as any veterinary technician school graduate will tell you. But how many people know why it’s so dangerous?

Chocolate contains fats, sugar, carbohydrates, proteins and approximately 800 chemical compounds, one of which is the alkaloid theobromine. In fact, chocolate’s botanical name is Theobroma cacao.

Among humans, theobromine is generally not toxic except at very high doses. Theobromine is a central nervous system stimulant that affects the brain and the heart. Theobromine actually has medical uses: It’s used as a vasodilator, a diuretic and a heart stimulant.

But courses at a veterinary technician college can teach you that dogs digest theobromine more slowly. Theobromine poisoning can occur in dogs from a dose as low as five grams in a small dog and 40 grams in a larger dog.

Vet tech college graduates are trained to diagnose the initial symptoms of chocolate-related theobromine ingestion in dogs, like vomiting, diarrhea and extreme restlessness, related to theobromine’s properties as a stimulant. He also may be urinating more frequently than usual due to theobromine’s properties as a diuretic. You may notice excessive panting and twitching muscles. If you could listen to your dog’s heart, you’d hear that it was beating much more rapidly than usual.

Left untreated over time, this chocolate overdose could lead to hyperthermia, seizures, coma and even death.

How much is too much? That varies with the age of your dog, the weight of your dog and whether he or she is in shape. If a 50-pound dog steals a bite from your Snickers bar, chances are he’s not going to get sick.

The problem, as graduates of a veterinary technician school can tell you, is that chocolate has addictive properties: When you give your dog a chocolate treat, it leaves him wanting more. Then, when your back is turned, he’ll go for that entire box of Godiva truffles on the kitchen counter. That’s when he gets into trouble.

It’s not just the characteristics of your dog that determine whether or not he’ll get sick from chocolate; it’s also the characteristics of the chocolate itself. Some types of chocolate have more theobromine than others. For example, milk chocolate has much less theobromine than semi-sweet baking chocolate. What determines whether your dog gets sick or not is the quantity of theobromine he consumes in proportion to his weight.

If Fido does ingest a dangerous amount of chocolate, you’ll want to get him to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

As a graduate of a veterinary technician college, one of your roles is education in the community at large. Sharing what you know is not only a neighborly thing to do, it can also create business for your place of work since people naturally want to bring their beloved animals to someone they already trust. Vet tech school can lead to a rewarding career for those individuals who love animals – their own and other people’s as well!

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Vet Tech or Vet Assistant: Which is Which?

July 8th, 2011 by admin

Among those looking to enter the field of veterinary medicine, there is often confusion between the terms “veterinary technician” and “veterinary assistant.” Some might even think that the two positions are interchangeable. This is not the case, however, as anyone attending a veterinary technician school will verify. The positions differ significantly in job scope, whether attending a veterinary technician college is required, salary and benefits, and job opportunities.

The first difference between the two positions is in the scopes of the jobs. While each position entails assisting a veterinarian, they do so in very different manners. A veterinary technician is someone who has graduated from a veterinary technician college and, therefore, has learned the skills necessary to act as a nurse, anesthetist, lab technician and/or radiology technician, as needed. While at vet tech school, he or she will also have learned how to administer shots, set bones and perform many other aspects of the daily care for animals.

Veterinary assistants, on the other hand, may or may not have attended a vet tech college as well, but they are trained for a different set of tasks. They generally serve as an extra set of hands for performing the routine clinical work. Their jobs may include cleaning and sterilizing the tables and instruments, scheduling appointments, answering phones, and taking care of the front desk. They may also assist in the feeding, exercising, and cleaning of overnight patients.

The next significant difference between the two positions is in the degree of education required. In order to become a veterinary technician, one must earn a degree from a two-, three- or four-year program at a vet tech college. Vet techs are also required to pass a state exam and become licensed. While a veterinary assistant may have attended a vet tech school, it is not always required because an assistant does not generally take part in the higher-level medical care of the animals. Often veterinarians train their assistants on the job.

Yet another difference is the annual salary for each position. Because of their advanced training and greater responsibilities, veterinary technicians command a much higher salary than do veterinary assistants. The annual salary of a vet tech ranges from $26,000 to $40,000 while that of a veterinary assistant is generally in the range of $14,000 to $25,000.

Job opportunities are also more available for those with degrees from accredited veterinary technician schools. In addition to working in veterinary hospitals and clinics, vet techs can often find work in zoos, animal shelters, biomedical facilities and research laboratories. Opportunities may also exist in wildlife medicine, livestock management and with humane societies. The veterinary assistant’s prospects are often more limited. Most find work in clinics, pet hospitals, private practices, pet stores and shelters.

While there is plenty of need for smart, hard-working people in both positions, for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to earn a degree from an accredited veterinary technician college, the opportunities and benefits abound.

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Is there a demand for veterinarians in the U.S.?

July 8th, 2011 by rebeccac

Are you considering attending a veterinary technician school? Or perhaps you are debating about what path you want to take and a vet tech college is one of your options?

It may help you to know that 37% of the households in the U.S. already own a dog. That’s over 52 million people who have spent anywhere from $30 to $2,000 on a pet. A vet tech school will prepare you to help take care of all of those potential clients with ease. Attending a vet tech college is a great choice for anyone who loves animals and wants to help others and their pets.

Maybe you’re not a dog person. You’re not alone – over 31% of the U.S. owns a cat, and most of them (right at 57 million people) have at least two cats. Cat owners tend to spend less on their pets (between $10 to $800), but they are also more likely than dog owners to have them groomed and taken care of properly. Attending a veterinary technician college will give you the skills to help all of those cat owners, allowing you to create a successful business treating all of those furry felines.

One of the best things about attending a vet tech school is that you will work with a huge range of animals while studying. From larger animals like horses (owned by 5% of the population) to tiny pets like gerbils (owned by .4% of the population), you will get hands-on training that will prove indispensable when you finish your veterinary technician college.

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So if you are debating about joining a veterinary technician school, these numbers should help you realize that your patients are out there, waiting for someone with the right touch and right training to come along and take care of them.

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What is the job market like for Registered Veterinary Technicians?

March 24th, 2011 by admin

job-market-like-for-Registered-Veterinary-Technicians ts_78035084According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for vet technicians are expected to increase by more than 36 percent through 2012. Regardless of the economy, there seems to be a steady increase in positions available in this career area. Emerging technologies in the field of veterinary medicine are improving pet health creating a greater need for trained veterinary technicians who have completed vet tech training at a vet technician school.

Veterinary technicians do clinical work under the direction of the veterinarian. Vet technicians run tests and help diagnose injuries and illnesses in animals. Some of the procedures veterinary technicians are involved with include taking blood, preparing tissue samples, and doing laboratory tests such as urinalysis and blood counts. Some procedures might involve completing x-rays, taking medical histories and caring for the animals that are under the care of the veterinarian.

Some vet technicians work at clinics and are involved with the treatment of both small companion pets and large non-domestic animals. There are also vet tech positions available at research sites. In positions at research centers, the vet tech assists with giving medications to animals, and the recording and documentation of pain and stress levels of the research animals.

Those who want to be employed in the veterinary technician career area are usually trained by completing a vet tech program at a veterinary technician school. There are many different training programs available at a vet technician school. Some of the training programs are degree programs and some are diploma programs. Vet training programs include courses in laboratory procedures, anatomy, medical terminology and the training involves hands-on training in lab processes such as urinalysis, preparing slides, taking blood counts and tissue samples, and sterilization of instruments.

Graduates of a veterinary tech school can take exams such as the National Veterinary Technician or NVT exam, to become a registered veterinary technician. Most employers like to hire technicians who have completed a vet training program at a vet tech school and are registered veterinary technicians.

If you love animals and are looking for an exciting, rewarding career, there is a bright future ahead in the veterinary technician field. With the growing demand for skilled vet technicians, there will continue to be many positions available in this area. You can prepare to succeed and take control of your future by completing a vet tech training program at a veterinary technician school.

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