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Veterinary Technicians: Common Laboratory Responsibilities

Most all veterinary clinics, hospitals, and research facilities have laboratories that are used to help diagnose various illnesses and other health problems in domesticated and wild animals.

Typically, it is veterinary technicians who perform laboratory tests and report their findings to the veterinarian in charge.

However, just what types of tasks do these professionals perform, and what devices do they need to use for their tests?

 Vet Tech Laboratory Responsibilities

Common Laboratory Tasks

Vet techs are qualified to perform many different laboratory tests, which require the usage of a variety of complex machinery and procedures.

Much of their lab-related tasks involve blood work and using such machines as the Idexx machine, which automatically reads blood enzyme levels through the use of carefully prepared slides.

Another common laboratory test is known as a complete blood count, or CBC. In fact, this is perhaps the most common type of lab test performed in veterinary clinics and hospitals. These tests are performed using a specially designed centrifuge device, which separates the patient’s blood cells.

CBCs are able to provide the specific levels of red versus white blood cells in patients at any particular moment.

In this way, veterinarians can determine potential health problems that may be causing a patient’s symptoms.

In fact, CBCs are used to help diagnose a wide array of illnesses and health problems in animals today.

Using the Microscope

Aside from the Idexx machine and the centrifuge, microscopes are some of the most common tools that vet techs use in laboratories.

Typically, microscopes are used daily to identify a large variety of internal and external infections that patients may have developed. Some of the most common tests performed using microscopes are fecal tests.

Fecal tests can help identify a host of internal parasites such as tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and roundworms.

The veterinary technician uses special slides to view fecal samples under the microscope and identify any eggs that may be in the feces.

After the parasite has been identified, the veterinarian can then prescribe an appropriate medication for the patient.

Another common laboratory test that is performed using a microscope is an ear cytology test. This test helps veterinary technicians pinpoint what could be causing ear infections in household pets and other animals.

These tests are performed using samples from the animal’s ear canal and mixing them with a special stain on a slide.

Other Laboratory Tasks

The above tests are just some of the most common laboratory tests performed by vet techs in laboratories today.

Other common tests involve viewing skin scrapings under the microscope in an effort to identify such infections as demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange, scabies and skin allergies.

As you can see, veterinary technicians are essential in helping diagnose various illnesses and health issues in animals.

By using various laboratory equipment and procedures, they are able to provide the veterinarian in charge with the information he or she needs to make a diagnosis and prescribe the proper treatment.