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What Procedures Can Vet Techs Legally Perform?

by Lori Hehn - February 23, 2018 at 9:05 AM
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We know that veterinary technicians do so many things in the practice. Where is the line between what they can and cannot legally do? The tasks vet techs can perform vary depending on the state.

Check this more thorough recently updated list of tasks by state to see what is allowed in your own state!

In general, a veterinary technician:

  • Has received some level of training, and many states require certification/degree (some allow both licensed and unlicensed, or may refer to unlicensed as assistant)
  • Practices under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian
  • Administers medications prescribed by the veterinarian, including injectable medications SQ, IM or IV
  • Restrains animals
  • Places intravenous catheters
  • Draws blood
  • Induces anesthesia, including endotracheal tube placement
  • Monitors anesthesia
  • May assist the veterinarian in surgical procedures 
  • Applies casts and splints
  • Urethral catheterization (unless a urinary blockage is present in some states)
  • Cystocentesis
  • Taking Radiographs
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Bacterial culture collection
  • Necropsy and sample collection
  • Dental procedures: scaling and polishing of the teeth (some states allow extractions, others prohibit)
  • Administer Cardiopulmonary Cerebral Resuscitation (CPCR)
  • Administer oxygen
  • Suture removal
  • Suture placement in skin or subcutaneous tissue with supervision (in some states)
  • Humane euthanasia (in some states)

It is clear that veterinary technicians provide a huge service to a practice and provide a skill set that is wide-ranging depending on experience and comfort level of that technician. There are also veterinary technician specialists that have the ability to perform additional procedures. What are your favorite procedures to perform?

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About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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