Registered Veterinary Technicians

What is a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)  ?

This year across Canada, October is registered veterinary technician month.  A bit of a mouthful but it gives us the excuse to acknowledge these important people and their contributions to our profession as well as the health and welfare of the animals in our lives.

A registered veterinary technician (RVT) is a very specific title with a proper definition and criteria.   Although it may seem like a matter of semantics, many similar titles including veterinary technician, veterinary assistant are not the same.  RVTs  have completed a 2-year college diploma in veterinary technology although many have 4-year university degrees as well.  They have completed a professionalism and ethics course, passed a police check and the national licensing exam.   These highly vetted (couldn’t resist) people must also stay current by providing proof to their licensing body that they have acquired an average of 10 continuing education credits a year.  In the last 2 years our RVT’s have attended conferences in Las Vegas and Nashville as well as all over Ontario to learn the most recent scientifically proven techniques.

Knowing who they are provides the foundation to try to explain what they do.  Truthfully, it might be easier, and far more succinct, to list the tasks that they don’t perform.  A brief list of responsibilities would include anesthetic monitoring, sample collection, laboratory tasks (bloodwork, fecal parasite, milk cultures, urinalysis, specialized DNA based tests), X ray acquisition and safety, laser therapy, hospitalized patient care and monitoring, client education, surgical and medical follow up, quality control and diagnostic machine maintenance,  dental cleaning and counselling and occasionally scrub into surgery to assist the vet when two hands simply aren’t enough.   I don’t think I’m letting the cat out of the bag when I admit that there are times that being a vet is emotionally and physically difficult.   RVTs have the extra task of supporting the doctors and pet owners during the tough times.   Sometimes it seems like we’ve asked them to perform 24 hrs of work in a 12 hr window we have to remember that the RVT is helping us in the companion, large and exotic animal areas of the clinic.  RVTs are rarely bored.

At the Cheltenham Veterinary Centre we have 4 RVT’s and 1 VT (working on her “R”).

These are the people that we routinely, and without hesitation, entrust with our pets’ wellbeing, our patients’ health and safety and our professional reputation.  It’s important to know who is working behind the scenes on our valued furry, feathered or scaled family members!

And it is important for us to recognize their hard work and dedication.    So, with that I’d like to extend a truly heartfelt thank-you to all the RVTs in my life.   For putting up with us on our busiest of days and ensuring that we have the ability to continue to offer our patients high quality medicine and surgery.

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