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Veterinary Care Assistant

What is a veterinary care assistant?


A veterinary care assistant (VCA) helps nurses and vets look after patients and helps keep the surgery clean and tidy


This is probably the most common task undertaken by a VCA

Animal Care

VCAs support the nursing team to perform their duties. This may take the form of assisting with restraint, setting up kennels for inpatients or doing basic checks on pets staying in the practice.

Some tasks commonly performed by a VCA include:

  • Restraining for blood tests, injections, claw clipping etc
  • Monitoring in-patients including temperature, pulse, respiration rates, as well as urine and faeces output
  • Providing appropriate food and water for patients as directed by the veterinary surgeon or RVN
  • Administering oral and topical medications and monitoring for side effects
  • Providing a suitable environment for in-patients. This includes suitable choice of kennel, bedding and stress management
  • Grooming of in-patients

Claw Clipping

Straight forward claw clipping for all small animal species, including reptiles and birds may be carried out by a VCA assuming they are suitably trained in performing the procedure safely and are familiar with particular difficulties within an individual species. Any defects found whilst clipping an animal’s claws must always be shown to a veterinary surgeon and the clinical notes checked prior to performing claw clipping.

Helping with medications

VCAs may be involved in handling and dispensing medications and helping with stock control. VCAs can not prescribe medication and they can not administer injections.


Read about the Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants course…

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Our vets and nurses provide a 24 hour emergency service from our Bicester Veterinary Hospital.