Career Opportunity – Veterinary Assistant

Department: Medical

Reports to: Medical Team Supervisor

Status: Non-exempt

Revision date: August 2020


The Veterinary Assistant (VA) is responsible for the daily care of all surgical patients, assisting the veterinarian and technician with surgical and anesthetic procedures as well as general housekeeping. The VA also provides care, treatment, and record keeping for the physical and mental health of the animals in Willamette Humane Society’s (WHS) care under the direction of the Lead Veterinarian or Staff Veterinarian. The VA represents the Willamette Humane Society (WHS) professionally and courteously while actively promoting spays and neuter services and education. The VA must demonstrate, mentor, and reinforce WHS values, principles and mission-driven culture.


  • The VA shall perform job duties in a positive, helpful manner.  
  • Assist the public in all aspects of shelter programs. Share information to enhance the public’s knowledge of animal welfare as well as their knowledge of WHS mission and programs. 

Patient Care  

  • Assist with triage of patients as they are checked in, reporting health concerns to attending veterinarian.  
  • Transports patients to and from the surgery table.  
  • Keeps the Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) and Veterinarian informed of animal behavior and health concerns.  
  • Assist CVT with anesthesia induction and intubation.  Monitor anesthetized patients.  Prepare patients for surgery as instructed.  
  • Assist in surgery as instructed.  
  • Monitor patients in recovery. 

Client services  

  • Assist clients with unloading and loading animals and intake paperwork.  
  • Set patients up in kennels.  
  • Answer phones/schedule appointments.  
  • Actively promote spay and neuter and educate clients on responsible animal ownership.  
  • Assists CVT in providing postoperative instructions.


  • Stock prep room and operating room.  
  • Clean surgical laundry, clean and sonicate instruments and prepare surgical packs as needed.  
  • Clean, fold, and stock kennel laundry throughout the clinic.  
  • Spot clean periodically throughout the day and perform end of day cleaning of all rooms. 

Clinic Staff Training  

  • Assist new staff in providing clinic procedures and workflow processes.  
  • Monitor and assist volunteers, assigning duties and performing volunteer functions as needed. 

Shelter Duties

  • Assist the Veterinarian with animal exams.  
  • Dispense, administer, and record medications and vaccinations given to animals under the Veterinarian’s direction, ensuring follow through of all prescribed treatments.  
  • Perform routine lab procedures and tests, fecals, U/A’s, blood work with Abaxxis machine.
  • Create and maintain patient records by accurately recording treatments, examinations, test results, and other animal information into shelter database.
  • Monitor and document the physical, behavioral, and emotional health of the shelter animals.  
  • Perform job duties in a positive, helpful manner. Provide exceptional customer service representing WHS in a professional manner in all situations with the public, volunteers, and staff.  
  • Assist the public to enhance their knowledge of animal welfare and of WHS’ mission and programs, particularly related to veterinary health.  
  • Perform blood draws on animals as needed.  
  • Ensure that veterinary recommendations are followed through including entry into PetPoint, copies made, and medication charts completed and filed in the correct section of the medication binder. File all medical paperwork in the appropriate place or give to the proper staff member by the conclusion of each work day.  
  • Schedule animals for diagnostics, surgeries and treatments with our internal clinic or with an outside provider in a timely manner to minimize the animal’s length of stay.  
  • Make recommendations for animal disposition including adoption, euthanasia, rescue, foster, or transfer.
  • Perform the duties of a euthanasia assistant as needed.
  • Perform euthanasia as needed.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor or manager.


 None, but will engage with, train and support volunteers. 


The VA works under the general supervision of the Medical Team Supervisor and will follow daily operational direction from the CVT and the Veterinarian.  


The VA will have regular, ongoing contact with clinic and shelter employees and volunteers from all departments, members of the public, vendors and members of the veterinary community. Contact and communication is carried out through face to face, telephone, and electronic interactions. Communication must be clear, understandable, professional, and respectful in all circumstances.


This work requires a positive attitude, tolerance to stress, and the ability to maintain composure and friendly demeanor while dealing with stressful situations. The VA will have regular contact with animals of varying degrees of domesticity and physical conditions. The VA will have repeated/prolonged exposure to medical instruments, bodily excretions and chemicals used for surgery and for cleaning. The VA will have access to protective equipment such as boots, gloves, protective eye and ear wear, etc. 


  • Ability to stay standing or active during the entire shift.  
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds.  
  • Must be able to lift 20 pounds repetitively.  
  • Must be able to restrain extra-large dogs (upwards of 150 lbs).  
  • Work performed both in and out of shelter requires lifting, bending, stooping, twisting, pushing or other strenuous activities for extended periods of time.  
  • May be required to take a physical examination paid for by WHS prior to the start of work activities. 


  • Learn and adhere to the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance protocols and procedures adapted by WHS.  
  • Possess considerable knowledge of cat and dog health and behavior and demonstrate safe procedures for handling.  
  • Possess excellent communication skills and be able to work with others in a manner that is positive and educational.  
  • Able to assess situations rapidly, accurately, and calmly and take appropriate actions as necessary.  
  • Able to manage multiple tasks at one time; quickly and accurately shift attention among tasks under distracting conditions without loss of accuracy or appearance of frustration.
  • Demonstrate high tolerance for stress and repetitive work.  
  • Maintain a positive outlook and maintain composure and a friendly manner while dealing with stressful situations.  
  • Work with others in a collaborative, solution-oriented manner, shares relevant information with others in a prompt and accurate manner.  
  • Exhibit honesty, discretion, and sound judgment.  
  • Demonstrate exceptionally strong verbal and written communication skills during interpersonal and technical, job specific interactions.  
  • Possess strong mathematical skills including the ability to add, subtract, multiply, divide, compute rates and ratios, and convert units of measurement.
  • Understanding of WHS policies and procedures, such as, but not limited to, medical care and treatment, animal care, intake, and adoptions.  
  • Strong organizational skills with competency in attention to detail, accuracy, and followthrough.  
  • Ability to meet consistent attendance and punctuality expectations.
  • Time-management skills with the ability to implement priorities.  
  • Ability to consistently meet deadlines with steadfast dependability.
  • Able to accurately work with detailed information in written and computerized format.  
  • Must possess the ability to use exceptional judgment to provide the best counsel and customer service to both customers and animals, even under stressful conditions.  
  • Ability to create and sustain positive working relationships within WHS with volunteers, the public, and be a team player. 
  • Must be able to deal with conflict in a professional and constructive manner. 
  • Must work in a manner that reflects a safe environment for animals, the public and other employees. 
  • Ability to handle animals safely and with patience, gentleness, and compassion.


  • Must be a high school graduate or equivalent, and be able to read, write, and speak clearly in English so that written and verbal instructions can be communicated effectively.  
  • Previous shelter or veterinary experience is preferred.  
  • Working knowledge of dog and cat breeds, an understanding and recognition of common diseases, medications, medical conditions, animal handling and behavior, and considerable knowledge of safe procedures for handling animals.  
  • Demonstrated ability to objectively evaluate animals on an individual basis.  
  • Experience performing blood draws on animals is preferred but not required.  
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Gmail/Google, and PetPoint preferred.
  • Have a Certified Euthanasia Technician certificate or receive certification within 6 months of hire.

Additional requirements: A demonstrated interest and enthusiasm for animal welfare and WHS Mission; be willing to work weekends, holidays, and evenings as required by the job; have a valid Oregon driver’s license and insurable by WHS vendors; meet the physical requirements of the job, and be bondable. 

Note: Under the provisions of the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986, the successful candidate will be required to provide evidence of identity and eligibility. WHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, national origin, marital status, disability or any class protected by law.

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