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What Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers Do

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers look after nonfarm animals in laboratories, animal hospitals, and clinics. They care for the well-being of animals by doing routine tasks under the supervision of veterinarians, scientists, or veterinary technologists or technicians. 


Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers typically do the following:

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers do many daily tasks, such as feeding, weighing, and taking the temperature of animals. Other routine duties may include giving medication, cleaning cages, or providing nursing care before and after surgery or other medical procedures. 

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers play a large role in helping veterinarians and scientists with surgery and other procedures. They may prepare equipment and pass surgical instruments and materials to veterinarians during surgery. They may also move animals and hold or restrain them during testing and other procedures. 

Veterinary assistants work mainly in clinics and animal hospitals, helping veterinarians or veterinary technicians and technologists treat the injuries and illnesses of animals. 

Laboratory animal caretakers work in laboratories under the supervision of a veterinarian, scientist, veterinary technician, or veterinary technologist. Their daily tasks include feeding animals, cleaning kennels, and monitoring the general well-being of laboratory animals.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition