Transferability of Vet Tech skills during COVID-19 emergency

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Advisory on Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Transferability of Skills During COVID-19 Emergency

Dear Licensee:
Please refer to the following guidance on the Transferability of Skills during the COVID-19 State of Emergency regarding Veterinary Technologists and Veterinary Technicians.

What is the background and education of Veterinary Technologists and Technicians?  Veterinary technologists and veterinary technicians assist veterinarians as surgical and procedural assistants, laboratory technicians, patient coordinators, record keepers, radiologists (x-rays), anesthetists, and many other duties during the course of animal treatment. 

The educational curriculum for veterinary technologist and technician programs across Colorado  emphasize various health sciences, including math, biology, chemistry, anatomy, etc. Students are also exposed to numerous animals, including zoo animals, farm animals, exotic animals, and domesticated animals. Some educational programs also require human psychology, public relations and report writing as part of the educational curriculum, along with internships and other hands-on opportunities in the field.

Upon completion of the respective programs, veterinary technologists graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science, while veterinary technicians graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in animal science. While veterinary technicians may test through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards to become certified, there is no testing or certification information available for veterinary technologists.

Who regulates Veterinary Technologists and Technicians in Colorado? Colorado does not regulate veterinary technologists or technicians. The State Board of Veterinary Medicine Examiners regulates the practice of veterinary medicine, which includes, in pertinent part, [t]he  diagnosing, treating, correcting, changing, relieving, or preventing of animal disease, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental conditions. . .”.  Section 12-315-104(14)(a), C.R.S., (emphasis added).  

Should Veterinary Technologists and Technicians directly treat human patients during the COVID-19 emergency?  No. The clinical skills of veterinary technologists or technicians generally are NOT directly transferable to human patients, and should not provide direct treatment. 

How can Veterinary Technologists and Technicians assist during the the COVID-19 emergency? Veterinary technologists or technicians may be helpful in patient coordination and records management, which could alleviate the burden on healthcare professionals so they can focus on critical patient needs during emergency declaration. Furthemore, certain veterinary technologists or technicians may have additional training relevant to human medicine. In this situation, a physician may determine the veterinary technologist or technician has the education, training or experience for certain delegated medical functions pursuant to the Medical Practice Act and its attendant rules.

Please address any questions to DORA_COVID_inquiries@state.co.us.

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