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Anderson dot5.gif (848 bytes)Oconee Pickens

This release prepared by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing.
Rebecca Eidson, Director, 646-1507,
Lisa Garrett, Public Relations Associate, 646-1506,

Dr. Rebecca Gimenez to Discuss Equine and Large Animal Rescue at Anniversary Dinner


(By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- In the last four decades, the role of the veterinary technician has undergone a major metamorphosis, evolving in name, skills and reputation, to become an invaluable professional technical support for providing patient care in today’s veterinary clinics.

It wasn’t uncommon in the 1950’s and 60’s to see an office assistant who performed routine tasks, such as scheduling appointments and restraining the animal -- all under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.  Veterinarians trained their own employees to meet the needs of individual practices, and these on-the-job trained individuals were designated veterinary assistants.

As the trend in veterinary medicine has moved toward multi-doctor practices and high technology, a greater need for well-trained technicians has been created.

Today, the title of “veterinary technician” is held by individuals who have earned an associate degree in Veterinary Technology from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited program.  These individuals work closely with veterinarians and other members of the veterinary team to deliver quality animal health care.  Today’s profession requires advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of animal nursing and critical care, inducing and monitoring anesthesia, assisting in surgery, postoperative care and recovery, diagnostic imaging, client education, hospital management and laboratory duties. 

“It’s an entirely different ballgame,” said Christee Williams, a licensed veterinary technician and a 1982 graduate of Tri-County Technical College’s Veterinary Technology curriculum, where today she is an instructor.  Williams, who began working in 1974 as an assistant at a veterinarian’s office when she was a senior in high school, has witnessed the transformation of the profession.  “Today the veterinary technician’s responsibilities are endless.  Veterinary technicians are an extra set of hands for the doctor and allow him or her to concentrate on the tasks of making a diagnosis, writing a treatment plan and performing surgery,” said Williams.

“If we are allowed to perform our technical skills, it frees the doctor up to practice veterinary medicine and leaves more time for him or her to run the business,” said Williams.  “The best-run hospital is one where the entire team is utilized to its potential,” she added.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Inc. has proclaimed October 14 - 20 as National Veterinary Technician Week to recognize veterinary technicians for their contributions to the veterinary health care team.  “National Veterinary Technology Week is a chance to encourage technicians to do for themselves and their bosses to do for them and to recognize the value of the team,” said Williams.  “Just as in human medicine, pet owners demand skilled professionals who are knowledgeable about their animals.”

In conjunction with the week, the College’s Veterinary Technology Department will celebrate its 30th anniversary with an Open House scheduled for 2 – 5:30 p.m. October 13.  Veterinary Technology graduates from the last 30 years will have a chance to reunite and see the great strides the program has made.  There is no charge for the Open House event, which is open to the public.

“I entered the field because I love what I’m doing,” said Williams, who has been a technician for two decades.  “I’ve worked in private practice, at Clemson’s research facility, and I’ve been teaching since 1988.  It’s definitely a viable and rewarding career.”

Tri-County’s program, launched in the 1970’s and the first technical college in the state to offer an associate degree program in Veterinary Technology, is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association and is endorsed by the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians.  It offers training in large and small animal clinical and surgical nursing, various laboratory skills, as well as courses in lab animal technology, office management and computer skills.