The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians shares why Registered Veterinary Technicians are an important part of every veterinary health care team.
What is a Registered Veterinary Technician?
Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) are front-line health care workers for your animals. They have completed rigorous training and a demanding registration process in order to achieve a high level of skill and knowledge in veterinary medicine.
What do RVTs do?
RVTs are formally educated and trained professionals working as integral members of the veterinary health care team. Their education provides them with the theory and practical skills essential to offer the best possible medical care for animals. Some areas of their expertise include:
- Obtaining and processing diagnostic radiographs and ultrasound
- Administration and dispensation of medications and treatments as prescribed by the attending veterinarian
- Providing optimum husbandry, restraint and handling
- Anaesthetic delivery and monitoring
- Prevention and control of zoonotic diseases and biosecurity protocols
- Nutrition management
- Animal behaviour and welfare
- Breeding, reproduction, and neonatal care
- Professional practice administration, veterinary hospital management and client relations
- Diagnostic laboratory tests (hematology, clinical chemistry, cytology, and urinalysis)
- Routine, intensive and emergency care of animals
- Exotic animal medicine
- Extensive anatomy and physiology training
- Sanitation, sterilization and disinfection controls and procedures
- In-depth knowledge of dental structures, conditions and lesions, causes and stages of diseases
- Surgical preparation and assistance
- Microbiology, immunology, bacteriology, parasitology, zoonoses, and virology
Why are RVTs an important part of the veterinary health care team and how does their education and expertise allow them to offer the best possible medical care?
Veterinary practices employ staff in a number of different positions, including RVTs, Receptionists, Animal Care Attendants, and Veterinary Assistants. Of all these roles, only RVTs must complete all of the following steps to achieve and maintain their registered status:
- Demonstrate they have graduated from an OAVT-accredited veterinary technology course
- Successfully complete the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) with a passing grade
- Complete the OAVT Professionalism and Ethics Workshop
- Submit a clear criminal record check
- Satisfy continuing education requirements on a bi-annual basis to maintain RVT status. By satisfying the requirements for accreditation, and maintaining their knowledge with continuing education, RVTs should be the most trusted staff member in a veterinary practice to assist the Veterinarian and to perform other low-risk procedures.
With Ontario currently experiencing a shortage of veterinary medicine professionals, what immediate actions may help address this issue?
Because RVTs are formally and extensively trained in areas that include but are not limited to, anatomy and physiology, anesthesia and analgesia, emergency and critical care, small and large animal nursing, nutrition, imaging techniques, breeding, reproduction and neonatal care, biosecurity and animal welfare, pharmacology, and dentistry, full utilization of their skills and training can help lessen the demand on veterinarians’ time, increasing timely access to veterinary medical care.
The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians is working with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario to encourage the Ontario government to modernize the Veterinarians Act to better reflect the modern realities of veterinary medicine, recognizing RVTs in legislation, and defining their scope of practice.