While veterinarian technicians may not perform surgery in most states, they typically may assist the veterinary surgeon during procedures. The tools used in veterinary surgery aren't much different from the ones doctors use in hospitals for humans. The names are the same -- clamps, forceps and scissors -- and they perform many of the same functions. During a veterinary surgical procedure, the technician may hand the tools to the surgeon while observing and assisting in the operation.
Veterinarians use several types of scissors during surgery, including bone cutters that cut through bone, iris and Metzenbaum scissors for cutting delicate tissue, suture removal scissors for taking out stitches and bandage scissors to snip wrappings away from skin. Many of these cutting instruments feature special designs that make the vet’s job easier -- such as the blunt, angled tips of bandage scissors specifically designed to push an animal’s delicate skin away from the sharp cutting edge. These instruments help the veterinarian gain access to injured areas beneath the skin.
Although designed differently, the forceps used by veterinarians during surgery all serve one higher purpose – to grip. Some, like the Allis, Adson, rat tooth and sometimes the sponge forceps, feature tiny serrations or teeth on the end to better hold tissue without the chance of it slipping. Others, such as the Babcock forceps, designed with more delicate tissue in mind, feature broad, blunt hooks on the end.
A needle holder may sound ominous but it’s basically only a clamp for helping the veterinarian hang onto the needle as he sutures your pet’s wound. Some needle drivers, such as the Olsen-Hegar, feature a combination needle holder/cutting blade on the end to snip the wrappings as well. The Mayo-Hegar needle driver, on the other hand, has simple, tapered jaws with no blades.
Miscellaneous Surgical Tools
Your pet’s veterinarian uses clamps, such as a hemostat, to seal off vessels during surgery. This prevents several types of fluids, including blood, from leaking into the cavity during the operation. Your vet uses a Snook hook when spaying a female animal to help access the horn of the uterus. Sometimes a vet uses a retractor to help widen an incision without additional traumatic cutting. All of these surgical tools are vital to a veterinary surgery for operations.
Anne Goetz shares her parenting and career experience with North American Parent, Hagerstown Magazine, c0ws.com, Lhyme.com and a variety of other online and print publications. A mother of two with a degree in communications and a long history in management, Goetz spends her spare time hiking, camping and blogging. She is the author of the site, An Unedited Life: The Ultimate Blog for Freelance Writers.