The Value of an AHT in Cattle Practice Jul23


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The Value of an AHT in Cattle Practice

Who am I?

My name is Ceanna Tannas and I am currently doing my AHT practicum here at VAHS. I am a cattle rancher and am interested in bovine health, so it is exciting to be a part of a bovine practice. I plan on learning lots and improving my skills during my time here and also hope to get a position at VAHS in the future.

What is an AHT?

Animal health technologists, sometimes referred to as “vet techs”, are members of the veterinary team who provide support to veterinarians in all aspects of practice. An AHT has completed a two year diploma at an accredited institution and has extensive knowledge in diagnostic laboratory procedures, anatomy and physiology, surgery and anesthesia, diagnostic imaging and animal disease, among other things.  To become a registered AHT it is also required to complete a six week practicum and also pass a national exam (VTNE). Minimum continuing education credits must also be earned on a yearly basis to maintain status as an AHT.

Possible employment opportunities for an AHT include positions at veterinary practices, research facilities, feedlots, wildlife rehabilitation centers, pharmaceutical companies, zoos and animal shelters.


Some examples of the practical skills that an AHT possesses are giving intramuscular, subcutaneous and intravenous injections; administering local anesthetic blocks (epidurals, L-blocks); animal restraint; placing IV catheters; surgery preparation; physical exams and fecal analysis to name a few.

Cattle industry

In the cattle industry an AHT gains a unique set of skills. They can assist in diagnosing disease by performing digital necropsies; a digital necropsy involves systematically dissecting a deceased animal and taking pictures of vital structures and organs, which enables a veterinarian to provide a remote diagnosis. Client education is another important responsibility and can include topics such as proper implant technique or even nutrition.


An AHT is a valuable member of the veterinary team because they help to make a veterinarians time more effective. They are trained professionals and when their skills are utilized, veterinary tasks can be performed in a timely (and cost effective!) manner.