a vet tech holding a kitten

Vet Tech: 5 Terms to Know

If you're trying to decide whether being a vet tech is the career for you, brushing up on the following common veterinarian terms will give you an idea of what you'll deal with day-in and day-out as a vet tech. And if you've already settled on this career, the list will give you a small leg up on your competition in vet tech classes and in the workplace.

  1. Mange
    Mange is a skin disease that is caused by parasitic mites, and the condition is most commonly found in domestic animals such as dogs, cats, birds, and livestock. The mites embed themselves in the skin or hair of the host and cause an infection. While mange is not fatal, the side effects can cause future health issues.
  2. Distemper
    Distemper is a contagious viral disease that affects canines. The disease attacks the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, the brain, and the spinal cord. Symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea, hardening of the nose or feet, seizures, and paralysis. Distemper is fatal 50% of the time.
  3. Heartworm
    A heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread through mosquito bites. While dogs are usually the hosts to heartworms, these parasites can also infect cats, ferrets, and sometimes humans. The worms manifest in the lung vessels but can migrate to the heart or veins. Once the heartworms continue to move through the body, animals usually die from congestive heart failure.
  4. Luxating Patella
    A luxating patella, also known as a floating kneecap, occurs when the kneecap moves out of its normal placement. Generally, a luxating patella is found in dogs from a congenital defect, but it sometimes found in cats. The dislocated kneecap can be corrected by surgery but may also require the realignment of the femur.
  5. Rabies
    Rabies, a common viral disease, is transmitted through infected saliva. The disease causes inflammation in the brain of animals and almost always ends fatally. The symptoms can vary from one to three months, or one week to a year. The symptoms include a high fever, violent movement, a fear of water and eventually, the loss of consciousness.
Last Updated: April 15, 2015