RVTs in Saskatchewan: What Can’t We Do

Submitted by Marlayna Morgan, SAVT Secretary

We’ve all been there, we’re out with some friends, or we’ve gone home for Thanksgiving, or you meet someone new. It’s a question that we probably get asked all the time. “What do you do?” Well, we can compare ourselves to our human medicine counterparts, or we can try to explain what we do on a daily basis. However, I’ve found that the best way to explain my career is to tell them what I can’t do. 

I recently made a poster for VIP day at the WCVM outlining this very conversation. I think this is a great way to show how much value an RVT can add to their clinic. This means that the doctors can focus on their main duties, RVTs can generate their own income in a clinic, and we get to do more of what we love! The 3rd and 4th year classes of the WCVM were very receptive to this idea and seemed eager to get into practice with us. 

So, what can’t an RVT in Saskatchewan do?

An RVT cannot diagnose, but we CAN: 

  • Provide counsel for clients
  • Measure patient progress
  • Create treatment plans
  • Run diagnostic tests 
  • Position for and capture radiographs
  • Retrieve samples and prepare for export

An RVT cannot prescribe, but we CAN:

  • Fill prescriptions
  • Calculate appropriate doses
  • Apply medications
  • Educate clients on side effects
  • Order medications for inventory
  • Audit control-drug logs

An RVT cannot perform surgery, but we CAN:

  • Perform anesthesia and monitor
  • Assist
  • Prepare and position patient for surgery
  • Explain presurgical requirements
  • Counsel clients about aftercare
  • Take biopsies 
  • Retrieve urine by cystocentesis
  • Suture minor lacerations

What else can we do?

  • Dentistry – including extractions*
  • Apply or change bandages and dressings 
  • Discuss and plan nutritional requirements 
  • Do laboratory work
  • Triage
  • Insert and maintain urinary catheters
  • Take FNA’s
  • Properly restrain animals
  • Give injections
  • Perform a complete oral exam
  • Behavioural counsel
  • Neuter cats*
  • Anything our veterinarian tells us to!

* Under the direction and supervision of a Veterinarian

So the next time you’re at a family gathering and uncle Bob asks you (for the hundredth time I’m sure) “what is it that you do again?” You can reply “Well uncle Bob, it’d be a lot quicker to list the things I don’t do!”  

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