Ashleigh (left) and McGlensey (right) – soon to be LVTs at Just Cats

With the graduation of our two technician students, we wanted to highlight the position of licensed veterinary technician (LVT) and the special role they play in your cat’s care at Just Cats Clinic. LVTs are an invaluable part of the veterinary team taking on many different roles and tasks.

 What is a licensed veterinary technician?
Licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs or vet techs) are specially trained and certified patient care specialists that work with a veterinarian to make sure that patients receive excellent healthcare, supportive nursing care and are as comfortable as possible during their visits using stress free and fear free practices. Additionally, at Just Cats, you’ll often meet our veterinary technicians in the exam room or when you pick up your cat from a procedure at the end of the day. 

What does a licensed veterinary technician do?
Licensed vet techs wear so many different hats in a veterinary practice ranging from managing a patient care team, to inventory, to performing dental prophylaxes. Vet techs, like our veterinary assistants, aid in checking in patients, obtaining histories, proper stress free and fear free handling, and administer treatments as directed by the veterinarian.  In the laboratory, vet techs can collect blood, stool, urine or tissue samples for testing, perform diagnostics like blood work and urinalysis’, parasite inspection, feline leukemia tests, fecal exams and cytology, and perform radiographs.

There is nowhere that the licensed vet tech is more helpful or important than in surgery. Licensed veterinary technicians fully prepare patients for surgery, sterilize instruments and equipment, provide detailed anesthesia monitoring, place IV catheters, administer anesthesia and pre medications under the direction of a veterinarian, assist in dental procedures like routine polishing, and can even euthanize seriously injured or ill animals.

Another important area for licensed vet technicians is in client service and education regarding patient care. Veterinary technicians often discharge hospitalized or surgical patients, conduct follow up after the patient goes home to ensure they are feeling better and properly pain managed, help educate clients on animal care, welfare, disease prevention, disease treatment and behavioral concerns.

What can a licensed veterinary technician not do?
The list of things that an LVT does in a veterinary clinic is certainly long, but there are certain things that require a veterinarian only.  For example, an LVT cannot diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications, perform surgery, do operative dentistry, or engage in any activity prohibited by a state’s veterinary practice act which does vary greatly from state to state.

Do licensed veterinary technicians have particular specialties?
Absolutely! Some LVTs do decide to specialize in a certain area. The specialties recognized in the industry include anesthesia, surgical, internal medicine, emergency and critical care, behavior, zoo, equine, clinical practice, nutrition and rehabilitation.

What certifications are licensed veterinary technicians required to get?
Given how much an LVT does at a veterinary clinic, it’s no surprise that the certification process requires at least a 2 year degree program and an extensive examination including written, oral and hands on components. Additionally, states require licensed technicians to receive continuing education hours every year to maintain their license.

Laura, LVT – Head Technician at Just Cats Clinic

At Just Cats Clinic, we’re very proud to have Laura, LVT – our head technician, and McGlensey and Ashleigh, our soon to be LVTs!