The Invisible Rvt: What Registered Veterinary Technicians Do

Your beloved dog Spot is sick. You take him to see your veterinarian and they take Spot ‘to the back’ to run some tests. But what, or rather who, is in the back? Likely it’s a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) who will be running those tests and caring for your animal under the direction of a veterinarian.

You have likely seen and interacted with an RVT at your clinic without realizing it. RVTs are formally educated and trained professionals working as members of the veterinary healthcare team.

“RVTs are integral members of the veterinary team, who meet and surpass the high standards that clients have come to expect for their pets,” said Laurie Williams, RVT and continuing education manager for the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT). “RVTs combine excellent practical skills and knowledge with a genuine passion for animal health and welfare.”

genuine passion for animal health and welfare.” RVTs are involved in many different aspects of pet healthcare. They help to ensure clinics run smoothly and efficiently and help to deliver the best possible care for your pets.

The following list contains just a few examples of RVT duties:

  • Husbandry, restraint and handling of animals;
  • Capturing and processing diagnostic radiographs and ultrasounds;
  • Diagnostic laboratory tests for the purposes of hematology, clinical chemistry, and urinalysis;
  • Surgical preparation and assistance;
  • Anaesthetic administration and monitoring;
  • Administration and dispensing of medication and treatments as prescribed by a veterinarian; and,
  • Nutrition management and planning.

In order to use the title RVT in, for example, Ontario, an individual must have attended an accredited college veterinary technician program, passed a national exam, submitted a clear criminal record check, completed professionalism and ethics training and be a member of the OAVT. RVTs also must complete continuing education regularly in order to keep their credentials. Each province has its own member association for RVTs. For more information about RVTs in Ontario visit

Next time you take Spot to the clinic, ask to talk to an RVT to see what they can do for you!

— Canadian Animal Health Institute

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