Being a Licensed Vet Tech

Being a Licensed Vet Tech

A Story by barleygirl
"

still friends with this lady . . .

"

SHELTER SHENANIGANS . . . almost finished! My new book about volunteering in the animal shelter includes scenes from working in the spay-neuter clinic, such as this excerpt meant to honor my friend and all vet techs . . .

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I have (and had) the highest regard for the licensed vet tech who worked in the county clinic when I was volunteering there. Bree was the perfect counterpoint to Doc Dot’s brusque exacting demanding style. Bree was quietly and gently conscientious to the nth degree.

As most probably know, a veterinarian is a doctor. To become a veterinarian requires just as much education and training as to be a doctor for humans. The time-consuming thing about training to be a vet, there are so many different species of animals that one might be called upon to treat. It’s necessary to be familiar with all the common maladies among all the different creatures.

In an animal clinic such as at the county shelter where I volunteered, naturally the vet reigns supreme. But the vet tech can run a pretty close second, when it comes to how many high-risk details such a state-licensed technician must handle during a day of back-to-back surgeries.

What stood out to me: the vet tech must manage every patient’s breathing.

Since there could be as many as ten different animals intubated and in some stage of anesthesia scattered throughout two rooms and connecting aisleways, Bree kept her vigilant eye on the breathing of all. While standing at my sink washing soapy instruments, I was almost touching Bree as she stood at her prep table. I could feel the tension in her body all day long as she kept track of every animal’s breathing.

At the end of every clinic day, Bree said she couldn’t breathe until every patient was breathing steadily. It was all about the breathing for Bree.

A short woman somewhat hunched over her prep table most of the day, she always looked serious like she was concentrating on every detail. It seemed like Bree grew an inch or two as soon as she knew all her precious patients were awake and breathing and ready to go to new forever homes. That’s when we were graced with Bree’s first smiles of the day.

The rest of us kidded around now and then throughout the day, but Doc Dot and Bree hardly ever smiled. These two spoke only about the business of doing surgery. This was their constant reminder of how life-and-death everything was, what we were all doing there. With Bree in particular, you could just feel the concern dripping from her knitted brow as she checked to be sure each animal was breathing, even and steady.

A patient is first given a sedative. This alters its breath and Bree was responsible for administering those meds at the right time so each animal would be fully relaxed for intubation when it got to the prep table. Intubating means putting a flexible plastic tube down the breathing passageway, through which oxygen can be administered during surgery. Even after an animal is out of surgery, we left the tube in until fully conscious. During the critical waking-up period, that’s when problems are likely to happen. Because a patient might need to go back into surgery, it needs to remain intubated while becoming conscious.

On the prep table, Bree intubates the patient, which requires significant judgement since the size of the trachea varies dramatically among all these different species of animals. As Bree manages an animal’s breathing and consciousness, the shelter technicians shave and prep the body for surgery. Bree is not only watching the animal she’s intubating on the prep table, but she’s also watching the patient on the surgery table, so she can decide when to start applying anesthesia to the vet’s next patient.

Any number of times during surgery, an animal under anesthesia can develop a breathing problem. This is especially true for rabbits, since their lungs are so tiny compared to their bodies. If a problem animal is on the surgery table, the breathing alarm may go off two or three times during a fifteen-minute surgery. Since the vet is up to her elbows in sterile bloody work, Bree must run around the prep table, down the aisle and into the surgery room to attend to any breathing problems. It’s no wonder she felt such sweet relief when she could be sure that all her patients for the day were breathing fine.

When I worked in the clinic, that was the most rewarding volunteer job, hands down. Every animal on the surgery list for any given day would be sleeping in a new forever home that night. As clinic workers, we gently handed over these drowsy new pets to their bubbling-over new humans.

It was an honor to be so close to the ultimate success of the operation . . . to be in the midst of what all our efforts were ultimately aimed toward . . . everything the staff and volunteers work so hard to accomplish. Adoption was our goal and handing over each new pet created a lasting high that I’ve been enjoying as I write this book and share these experiences.

© 2019 barleygirl


Author's Note

barleygirl
My books are offered in the Kindle Store at Amazon.
Search on Margie Willis to find my offerings.

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Featured Review


What a great introduction you have provided here to your latest literary publication Margie and which I am certain will be a success.. I know I'm gonna check it out.. I just hope loads of other folk will do the same... So come folks.... tis cheap as chips and more entertaining than a bathroom full of randy baboons on acid....

N :)

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

I can't believe you knew that the shelter staff was actually a bunch of randy baboons! I'm just gett.. read more
Neville Pettitt

1 Month Ago

as always, you are far more than just welcome... NUG ya and true :)



Reviews

Sounds very stressful. Obviously it's a job someone has to love to continue doing it. I've had rabbits but I've never had surgery done on them, so I never knew about their lung size. It was an enjoyable and informative read.

Posted 1 Week Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Week Ago

That was back about a dozen years when I thrived on stress. Now I would die in the first fifteen min.. read more
Congratulations on your book publishing I admire you for that and all your wonderful writing ✍️

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thank you for your appreciation! I've just started to be able to REMEMBER a bunch of details from my.. read more
ahh I'll definitely have to check this out, being a vet tech myself, and understanding all about the breathing -- it's an often under-appreciated position.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

You really nailed this one. That's exactly what I was thinking, without realizing it. Under-apprecia.. read more

What a great introduction you have provided here to your latest literary publication Margie and which I am certain will be a success.. I know I'm gonna check it out.. I just hope loads of other folk will do the same... So come folks.... tis cheap as chips and more entertaining than a bathroom full of randy baboons on acid....

N :)

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

I can't believe you knew that the shelter staff was actually a bunch of randy baboons! I'm just gett.. read more
Neville Pettitt

1 Month Ago

as always, you are far more than just welcome... NUG ya and true :)
You are burning the midnight oil. I'm so proud of you.
And this one looks like another great adventure.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Thanks for stopping by to check this out. Becuz I have memory problems, I have to write while the sy.. read more

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Added on July 26, 2019
Last Updated on July 26, 2019

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barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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