CASSELTON, N.D. — Many who have tried to bring their pets to the vet during the pandemic have experience busy clinics. One of the main reasons veterinary clinics can see so many dogs, cats and horses is the increasing number of veterinarian technicians that now are part of the practice.

Inside one of the largest veterinary clinics in North Dakota Tuesday, Oct. 12, vet techs like Sue Kieffer with the Casselton Veterinary Service Inc., were busy with dental day.

While one good boy was getting a mouthful of care, a few feet away, vet techs had a cat getting its kitty teeth worked on.

The number of vet techs with Casselton Veterinary Service has jumped from just two when Kieffer started 34 years ago to 25 today. Instead of two veterinarians, there are now 15.

"There are so many more thing we can offer the patients now, with technology," Kieffer said. "Ultrasound and specialty surgeries. That part is phenomenal.

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These vet techs — many with four-year vet tech degrees — are busy with surgeries, education, lab and x-ray work. Kieffer remembers the early days as a vet tech.

"Back then, we would do grooming too, then you'd would go out to a farm call, and then someone would come in to get feed and so you would load two tons of feed and come back in," Kieffer recalled.

North Dakota State University is known for its four-year Veterinary Technician program. One of just a handful in the upper Midwest.

"We are the only program in North Dakota, there (are)no programs left in South Dakota and only three remain in Minnesota," said NDSU veterinary technician instructor Stacy Ostby.

That means the job market is ripe for picking.

"They are so sought after, it is a wonderful time to be into this profession, because they can go wherever their heart desires," Ostby said.

From Oct. 13 - Oct. 19, vet techs from across the state will meet at the FargoDome as part of a special, National Veterinarian Technician week.