Career summary

Details for 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

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

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.
  • 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.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Knowledge

  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills

Related careers

  • Agricultural Technicians
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
  • Nursery Workers
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Surgical Technologists