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AVACA launches VCA/ANA Census

July 2023

The Association of Veterinary Animal Care Assistants (AVACA) has launched a census to gather information about Veterinary Care Assistants (VCA)/Animal Nursing Assistants (ANA) and is asking practices to take part to record the number of people in these roles in their practice. Currently, there is no data on how many VCA/ANAs are working in UK veterinary practice and the type of tasks they are performing. The Census takes just 10 minutes to complete and will provide valuable information to help in the recruitment, training and development of VCA/ANAs. It can be completed online at

The AVACA Census opens on the 18th July and will remain available for a month. Any team member can respond on behalf of their practice and all practices are encouraged to fill out the Census regardless of the number of VCA/ANAs employed. AVACA also want to identify how many practices don’t employ VCA/ANAs and the barriers to them becoming team members, so every response will deliver useful information.

Kay Watson-Bray, CEO of the British Veterinary Receptionist Association and founder of AVACA, comments “With so much pressure on practices right now, the VCA role offers great potential to help manage workloads. But a picture is already emerging where the scope of the role varies widely between practices and even the name of the role is inconsistent. We believe that VCAs work mainly in the areas of caring, cleaning, communication, and coordination, but that’s not currently quantified. And while some see being a VCA as a route into veterinary nursing, again we don’t understand how many primarily aspire to progress into another role or how many want to become excellent VCAs. We’d like to clearly identify what VCAs want and need to help them develop as veterinary professionals.”

The Census is being sponsored by Purina Petcare and the company’s Scientific Affairs Manager for Purina UK & Ireland, Libby Sheridan, says the Census is vitally important, “This is a project we are very keen to support. Practices need VCAs to help maintain high standards in animal care when everyone else is so busy. Coaxing a reluctant patient to eat again or ensuring the operating theatre is turned around quickly so it’s available for use after a long morning’s surgery, are time consuming tasks that can be hard to squeeze into the working day. And as RVNs take on further practice responsibilities, it’s clear, there is room for these highly-trained support roles within the team.”

The Census can be completed by anyone within a veterinary practice, and they are encouraged to communicate this within the team to avoid duplication of effort. The Census is available at

Press Contact: Susan McKay, Companion Consultancy,


The Association of Veterinary Animal Care Assistants, also know as AVACA, is a not-for-profit organisation that offers support to Veterinary Care Assistants and Animal Nursing Assistants, and aims to boost awareness of the value that such positions can add to the practice team.

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