In 2019, October 13 to 19 is National Vet Tech Appreciation Week. Veterinary technicians are crucial staff at every vet office all around the world. Just as modern dentistry uses a “four hands” approach where assistant and doctor work in tandem, a veterinarian’s right-hand person is the vet tech, assisting vitally in the preservation of animal health and welfare. To this end, each year we celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week to spotlight the profession and show gratitude to those special vet techs in our life.
Vet techs are versatile and highly-trained experts. Compared to human medicine, a vet tech can serve as a laboratory technician, a respiratory therapist, a dietician, a nurse, a radiation tech, an anesthesiologist, and a physical therapist in a single role. We constantly underestimate how important this position is to the discipline of veterinary medicine. The appreciation week addresses this underappreciated area of healthcare.
First begun in 1993 by a NAVTA resolution, Vet Tech Appreciation Week exists to enlighten the public about veterinary technicians and explore the field in greater detail. Established in the third week of every October, the National Veterinary Technician Association oversees proceedings, publications, and changes in the week’s traditions. On its website, the purpose of the week is outlined. Firstly, to “reinforce the value and professionalism of veterinary technicians.” Secondly, to “provide an opportunity for veterinary technicians to encourage one another for excellent work ethic and team building,” and thirdly, to “acknowledge quality relationship with veterinarians and other veterinary professionals.”
Small and Sentimental Gifts for Vet Techs
Vet Tech Casual T-Shirt
Nothing says you love what you do like wearing a light-hearted shirt. There are many relationships to consider when one wishes to express pride or gratitude about a vet tech in their life. A funny vet tech shirt can help you to share a laugh with that special vet tech in your life, especially those with technical mastery. For a more heartfelt approach, this Live, Love, Heal design sends a positive message. And for the patriotic vet tech, a shirt that shows his or her dedication to his field is just the right kind of appreciation gift.
Customized Clothing or Merchandise
There are a host of websites that offer customization features, allowing you to upload or design and apply that design to t-shirts, mugs, stickers, mouse pads, clipboards, picture frames, and many other commonplace items. Sites like Redbubble, Cafe Press, Teespring, and Spreadshirt afford a wide and variable set of options for applying either premade or custom images and text to merchandise of all kinds. I Love Veterinary is also a wonderful source for textile gifts. As vet techs are in a state of perpetual note-taking and the checking of vitals, a reliable writing utensil is of the utmost importance. Perhaps an engraved ink pen (with pocket clip, of course) sporting their initials or credentials? Something to remind them of their value to the world of veterinary medicine!
Veterinary Anatomy Coloring Book
The Veterinary Anatomy Coloring Book is an excellent means of studying and having fun at the very same time. Containing almost 400 illustrations and anatomical descriptions, aspiring and experienced vet techs alike can learn all about anatomy with this coloring book. A guide through the head, neck, back, thorax, abdomen, extremities, reproductive organs, the other body parts of cats, horses, dogs, goats, birds, pigs, and cows, among others. It even has a section on exotic animals that ushers you through the anatomy of small woodland animals such as rabbits, snakes, rodents, ferrets, and lizards.
Office Gadgets and Reference Gifts for Vet Techs
Vet techs need accurate watches loaded with features to help them with calculations for anaesthetic, sedation, and medication proportions. For men, Casio’s Quartz Resin Sports Watch can prove the perfect utilitarian tool for the veterinary professional. For women, the Ikoezi Digital Watch offers a sleek and stylish band in multiple colors with a full readout. This smartwatch can be the perfect gift for the vet tech looking to upgrade their timepiece. One can also download apps to the smartwatch that can help any vet tech, regardless of their level of tech expertise, including heart rate monitoring readers, reminder and alert systems, checklist generators, and much, much more.
The Veterinary Technician’s Pocket Partner
This Veterinary Technician’s Pocket Partner reference brochure is the perfect document to have on-hand for the vet tech who needs to check their math on a calculation or determine how best to alleviate an animal patient’s pain. It was written and designed by Marisa Bauer, a CVT who has worked full-time in the field since 2000 and has clinical experience working in small animal medicine, emergency medicine, and laboratory medicine. A product of the Cengage Corporation, an international curriculum publisher, the reference guide also boasts charts, tables, and cross-referencing materials to help quickly diagnose emergency situations and animal injuries.
Vet techs will always require high quality tools to do their work. This set of 3 EMI Lister Bandage Scissors, sizes 3.5”, 4.5”, and 5.5” will help your favorite vet tech choose the pair of scissors that best suits the thickness of bandage, bio-contaminants that may have destroyed the bandage, and location of the wound to be treated. These scissors are made of stainless steel and their ergonomic, maneuverable design allows for multiple types of use. A supplementary gift might be a sharpening tools set, which can be found at any medical or veterinary supply chain.
Just as important as bandage scissors is the stethoscope. Used to check heart rate, heart health, breathing activity, and lung health, stethoscopes allow vet techs to take accurate reads on vitals for animal patients, which they then pass on to the vets they assist. Like most medical equipment, stethoscopes vary in price and quality. A good entry level stethoscope is the 3M Littmann Lightweight II S.E., a mid-level option is the Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope, and an excellent top-of-the-line brand is the 3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope.
Subscription and Membership Gifts for Vet Techs
Gift Certificates or Gift Cards
Any business or company that sells vet tech supplies or things that vet techs might find useful will almost certainly sell gift cards as well. If you’re the kind of person who wants to show appreciation for a special vet tech in their life but aren’t comfortable giving them any of the items listed above, then a sum of credit toward their own self-directed purchase might be the way to go. This will allow them to buy what they need, when they need it.
NAVTA is the leading resource and representative organization for vet techs in the United States. Their membership has three levels and gives members access to state-of-the-art publications, dozens of continuing education courses and modules, recertification courses, detailed FAQs that help technicians navigate the complex veterinary world, and NAVTA’s executive board holds special sessions on pressing topics and industry advancements. As a member, vet tech’s are part of a community of shared knowledge, expertise, and advice.
Today’s Veterinary Nurse Subscription
Today’s Veterinary Nurse subscription can begin as a free trial with the magazine, which boasts a peer-reviewed journal spearheaded by the North American Veterinary Community, or NAVC. It offers RACE-approved medical continuing education articles written and reviewed by veterinary tech science experts. This includes practical and useful articles on nursing and technical skills that you can apply immediately, news on changes in legislation that affect credentialing or licensing, and inspiration from nationally recognized veterinary technician speakers.