Animal Health Week, October 1-7, 2023
Animal Health Week (AHW) is an annual national public awareness campaign organized by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and hosted by veterinarians across Canada. Each year, through AHW, the veterinary community draws attention to an important health-related message.
This year, the CVMA is celebrating Animal Health Week by honouring those working in the industry who safeguard the health of animals each and every day – the entire veterinary team.
It Takes a Team…To Protect Your Animal’s Health and You
When it comes to ensuring the well-being of our beloved animal companions, it takes a dedicated and skilled veterinary team working together to provide the highest level of care. Veterinary medicine involves much more than just veterinarians. In modern practices, there are a wide range of staff who are responsible for everything from patient care to hospital management.
At BBVSH, we have over 180 staff members who all play a vital role in protecting your pets’ health. Our hospital is specially certified to manage trauma and critical care as well as provide specialized services to pets beyond what a primary care vet practise can offer.
We are a VECCS certified LEVEL 1 facility, which means that we have met and exceeded the standards and guidelines published by the Veterinary Emergency + Critical Care Society (VECCS). The VECCS Facility Certification assesses a hospital’s staff credentials, physical resources, and operating hours. Level 1 is the highest designation offered by VECCS, and it means we have a full compliment of life-saving medical equipment and ER vets supported by board-certified specialists, 24/7/365. We are also part of the VetCOT Veterinary Trauma Center (VTC) initiative, which recognizes veterinary specialty centers that exemplify the team-based approach to trauma care and is supported by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. A VetCOT VTC must have a VECCS Facility Certification. (Find out more about our certifications here.)
These certifications also mean that we have a highly certified and professional staff that are part of the team supporting each other and supporting your pet.
Meet your team and find out more about who they are
Veterinarians are the traditional core of the veterinary team, however their role has changed significantly from the classical veterinarian of the past.
In traditional clinical practice, veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medications, performing surgeries, and providing overall medical care for animals. They also play a crucial role in educating pet owners about preventive care, nutrition, and general animal health. Veterinarians make important decisions regarding treatment plans and collaborate with other team members to provide the best care possible. Veterinarians may also supervise other staff members and play a role in ownership and business decisions.
In the modern day, there are many other roles for veterinarians. Many veterinarians choose to specialize in areas such as surgery, internal medicine, or critical care (among dozens of others). Other veterinarians work in laboratories or research institutions, in government or regulatory positions, or in a multitude of other jobs.
At BBVSH, we have over 11 different board-certified specialty teams that support our emergency and critical care team as well as our patients referred by our primary referring vet partners.
Veterinary technicians/technologists, also known in some settings as veterinary nurses, work closely with veterinarians and provide essential support in various aspects of animal care. In many regions, veterinary technicians may be registered with a governing authority, which demonstrates they are held to a high standard of training and continuing education and maintain licensure. They are trained professionals who perform tasks such as administering medications, taking and analyzing laboratory samples, conducting diagnostic tests, monitoring anesthesia during surgical procedures, and assisting with medical treatments. Veterinary technicians also play a vital role in educating pet owners on topics like medication administration and post-operative care.
Some veterinary technicians may specialize in certain areas, just like veterinarians. They may also be found in non-clinical settings such as laboratories or research environments. In many smaller practices, the role of practice manager, administrator, or others may also be taken on by veterinary technicians.
Veterinary Assistants/Animal Care Attendants:
Veterinary assistants work alongside veterinarians and technicians, providing general support and ensuring the smooth operation of the veterinary clinic or hospital. Their responsibilities include cleaning and sanitizing equipment and facilities, restraining animals during examinations and treatments, assisting with radiographs and sample collections, and maintaining accurate medical records. Veterinary assistants may also help with basic tasks like feeding and walking animals, cleaning kennels and litter boxes, and keeping animals clean and well cared for.
Hospital managers (which are often synonymous with practice managers) oversee the day-to-day and longer-term operations of the veterinary facility. They are responsible for coordinating staff schedules, maintaining inventory of medical supplies, booking client appointments, and ensuring compliance with regulations and protocols. Hospital managers handle administrative tasks, financial management, and often act as a liaison between the veterinary team and pet owners especially in difficult situations. They may also take on the role of office manager and administrative assistant, especially in small to medium sized practices. Their role is crucial in creating a well-organized and efficient environment for both staff and clients.
Receptionists/Client Services Representatives:
Receptionists are often the first point of contact for pet owners and play a crucial role in providing exceptional customer service. They handle appointment scheduling, answer phone calls, greet clients, and assist with paperwork. Receptionists also help coordinate communication between pet owners and the veterinary team, ensuring all information is conveyed accurately. They may also be responsible for some callbacks and client communications.
Administrative assistants support the veterinary team by handling clerical duties, managing paperwork, and maintaining electronic records. In smaller practices this role is often filled by a combination of receptionists, technicians, and managers. They assist with tasks such as billing, invoicing, and insurance claims processing. They may also help manage budgets and ensure compliance with legal protocols. Administrative assistants help ensure the smooth flow of administrative processes, allowing the veterinary team to focus on providing excellent care to the animals.
Some veterinary clinics employ counsellors or social workers to provide emotional support to pet owners during difficult times. While this is more common in large or referral practices, they are often also available to regular clinics. They offer guidance and help pet owners cope with the loss of a pet, navigate challenging medical situations, or deal with the emotional aspects of caring for a sick animal. Counsellors provide a compassionate ear and helpful advice to owners facing losses or difficult decisions.
At BBVSH, we have a full-time social worker on staff to help our team manage their mental health, and to help our clients deal with difficult situations or the death of a pet.
From veterinarians, veterinary technicians/technologists, and veterinary assistants to hospital managers and receptionists, every member of the veterinary healthcare team cares about protecting animal health and wellness. They support the people who care for them, too! As you can see – It Takes a Team… To Protect Your Animal’s Health and You. Our team at BBVSH looks forward to being a part of your pet’s health and helping them to spend more moments with you.