How Veterinary Technicians Help Diagnose Heart Disease in Dogs

Role of Veterinary Technician in Diagnosing Canine Heart Disease

THE VETERINARY TECHNICIAN IS THE VETERINARIAN’S PRIMARY MEDICAL SUPPORT PERSON

The veterinary technician has a variety of responsibilities that include:

  • Assisting the veterinarian throughout the examination, diagnosis and treatment phases.
  • Relieving veterinarians of technical work and administrative detail.
  • Communicating with clients about their pets.

EARLY DETECTION IS IMPORTANT IN CANINE HEART DISEASE

The most important thing pet owners can do to protect their animals from heart failure is to get a diagnosis of the disease early. Diagnosing heart disease in dogs early is key to managing it.

Veterinary technicians assist with tests and procedures required to diagnose heart disease in dogs that include:

  • Blood test
  • Urine tests
  • Analyzing biopsy samples
  • ECG, ultrasounds and X-rays
  • Observed clinical signs, such as lack of energy, coughing and collapsing

THE ROLE OF VETERINARY TECHNICIANS IN VETERINARY DIAGNOSTICS

Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians in a similar way laboratory technicians and nurses assist doctors. The role they play in treating animals is vital to maintaining and promoting animal health well-being. They perform all duties according to medical policies and procedures and provide compassionate care.

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF VETERINARY TECHNICIANS

Veterinarian technicians can assist veterinarians with tests and procedures required to diagnose and treat heart disease or failure in dogs. They may need to perform or assist with:

  • Gently restraining dogs during tests
  • Checking/testing thyroid gland function
  • Acquiring and recording patient case histories
  • Urinalysis to check kidney and metabolic function
  • Blood chemistry test to check kidney and liver function
  • Echocardiography to investigate the action of the heart
  • Doing a complete blood count (CBC) to check for infection
  • Taking/arranging chest X-rays to view heart size and look for fluid/masses
  • Electrocardiography (ECG) to review cardiac electrical impulses and measure arrhythmias
  • Collecting and preparing other samples/specimens for testing
  • Performing the necessary laboratory procedures/tests
  • Administering treatments prescribed by the veterinarian
  • Advising and educating dog parents on the disease

Some possible additional responsibilities of veterinarian technicians:

  • Administering emergency first aid
  • Providing specialized nursing care
  • Supervising and training personnel
  • Administering medications, vaccines and anesthesia
  • Assisting with diagnostic, medical and surgical procedures
  • Preparing patients, instruments and equipment for surgery
  • Monitoring and documenting patient activity and vital signs
  • Performing dental procedures

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