Like many young girls, Myra McArthur grew up infatuated with horses. She parlayed that passion into a career as a veterinary technician for Dr. Randy Parker at Range View Equine Associates in Elbert, Co., where she provides the front-line care animal patients need to recover from illness and injury.
“I always loved working with horses,” says McArthur, who also team ropes and ranches with her husband. “And I’ve always been interested in their health and well-being.”
Improving the well-being of her equine patients is McArthur’s favorite part of the job. She says, “The best part of what I do are the success stories. There’s immense satisfaction in helping a horse overcome an illness or injury and seeing them back to full health.”
Working with a good crew is another job highlight, and McArthur has immense respect for the veterinarians she’s worked with.
“It’s not just a 9–5 job,” she says. “They’re on call, taking calls late into the night. Their commitment is incredible.”
Other perks of the job include working outside instead of desk jockeying, being able to apply her skills and knowledge to her own animals (she and her husband raise cows and horses alongside an assortment of other ranch critters), and a daily schedule that’s anything but routine.
Each day presents a variety of tasks that run the gamut from the mundane—paperwork and appointment scheduling—to the exhilarating—assisting in surgeries and helping vets work on large, fractious animals.
Though rewarding, the days can be long and difficult.
“There’s blood and dirt,” McArthur says. “You will be dirty and you will be smelly. Your animals will love that part! You’re going to do a lot of laundry.”
Sometimes, though, it’s the human clients that can be the most difficult part of the job.
“It can be difficult to communicate with people who don’t know how to properly care for their animals,” McArthur explains. “There are some people who impose their human emotions on animals, and base their decisions on what makes them feel better, which isn’t necessarily what’s best for the animal.”
Because the job can get emotionally intense, McArthur recommends that aspiring vet techs have the ability to be empathetic but professional.
“You have to prepare for days that are both physically and emotionally tough,” she says. “Be prepared to separate your personal feelings from the job.
But when things go well, and an animal is healthy, the blood, frustration, and dirty clothes are well worth it.
The National Association of Veterinary Techniciansin America is an incredible resource for those interested in pursuing the career path.navta.net
From management apps and spreadsheets to hospital tech tools and cutting edge software, VMD Technology explores all things technological in veterinary medicine. vmdtechnology.com
For more than a decade, WhereTechsConnect.com has been connecting veterinary technicians with employers. Head over and start your job search! wheretechsconnect.com
Myra McArthur grew up around horses and cattle, and now ranches with her husband and young children in Peyton, Colo. She has been a vet tech for a little more than two years.