An animal care attendant typically has a wide range of job responsibilities. Often considered an entry level position in a veterinary office or kennel, many of the duties are housekeeping. In addition to cleaning the pets and their kennels, an animal care attendant is usually required to feed and water the animals, monitor their exercise, and sometimes administer medications.
In many cases, an animal care assistant also works with the veterinarian within the clinic. They can help keep animals still while exams are being performed. Before the exam, they may perform routine diagnostics such as weighing and taking body temperature. The information obtained during these diagnoses is usually recorded and then provided to the veterinarian.
Animal feeding is typically one of the most time-consuming tasks that is often assigned to an animal care attendant. This is because, in many cases, the animals that are confined can have very different diets, especially if some of them are sick. Different portion sizes and different feeds may be needed for all animals housed. During this time, medications are usually dispensed.
Most of the time, an animal care attendant is required to exercise the animals that are being confined. Depending on the type of animal, this could include a leisurely walk or moving them to a running lot for more vigorous exercise. While the animals are out of their cages, another assistant usually cleans empty cages. Animals that are confined are often under a lot of stress, and keepers are expected to play and interact with them as much as possible to make them more comfortable.
In most veterinary clinics or kennels, cage cleaning is usually done twice a day. This usually includes cleaning the area with a hose and removing any animal feces or leftover food. If the cage has bedding or straw, this is normally changed during cleaning. Depending on the circumstances and the particular illness of the animal, an assistant may also be required to administer baths. This could include a full body wash or wound cleaning and treatment.
Ideally, an animal assistant should be someone who loves animals and enjoys working with them. The work is often very difficult and requires a lot of dedication. In many cases, the people who work in these positions do so as volunteers. The average salary for an animal care attendant in the United States (US) is approximately $36,000 United States Dollars (USD).