Become a Veterinary Assistant III: Practical Skills

Distance Learning Course of 12 Lessons

Course Description

Learn the practical skills you’ll need to be a valuable veterinary assistant or educated pet owner. Taught by a practicing veterinarian, this course is the third installment in our “Become a Veterinary Assistant” series. 

Please join us as we explore all the many duties that a veterinary assistant typically performs. Through instruction and demonstration, you’ll learn how to safely restrain an animal for blood tests, urine collection, and injections. Then you’ll find out how to obtain blood samples, which needles to use for which patient, where the best anatomical sites for collecting blood are located, and how to catheterize a bladder. 

We’ll also review the basics of blood and urine interpretation so you’ll come to understand how veterinarians diagnose various conditions.

You’ll gain a throughout understanding of examination room procedures, including disinfecting, prepping, and taking a patient’s TPR (temperature, pulse, and respiration). 

Other handy skills we’ll cover include expressing anal glands, bathing, cleaning ears, giving medication, establishing the sex of a young kitten, puppy, or bunny, determining age, and trimming nails.

Throughout the course, you’ll benefit from videos that demonstrate many of these procedures and techniques, as well as state-of-the-art interactive graphics. It’s as close as you can get to actually being right there in the veterinarian’s office!

Tuition & Fees

180.00 CAD

A new session of this course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!

How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

Week One

Lesson 01 – Basic Dog Restraints
Wednesday

We’ll begin this course with a discussion about one of the basic duties of veterinary assistants—how to safely and securely hold animals. Proper restraint techniques are the keys to ensuring that you and the person performing a procedure are safe. In addition to learning those techniques, you’ll find out how to assess a patient’s body language, how to remove a dog from a cage, and how to use different equipment to control a patient.

Lesson 02 – Basic Restraint Techniques
Friday

We focused on dogs in the last lesson. Today, we’ll change the focus to cats. Their body language cues differ from a dog’s, so how you handle them will change, too. You’ll learn the “stretch,” the “scruff,” and the “kitty burrito” restraint techniques. Then, we’ll examine how to restrain rabbits, birds, and other exotics.

Week Two

Lesson 03 – Exams, Pilling, and Nails
Wednesday

Now it’s time to learn how to put your new restraint skills to work. Nearly every day, a veterinary assistant will be asked to help restrain an animal for any number of reasons: blood collection, injections, and routine examinations to name a few. Other times, you’ll have to conduct a physical exam, give medication, or trim nails. In this lesson, I’ll provide you with videos as well as detailed, step-by-step instructions to help prepare you for these duties.

Lesson 04 – Blood Collection
Friday

A blood tests is a vital way for veterinarians to determine what’s wrong with a patient. So taking blood samples and having a working knowledge of an animal’s circulatory system is key for a veterinary assistant. After a review of the circulatory system, we’ll look at the most common sites for taking blood—jugular, cephalic, and saphenous veins. Then, we’ll take a look at the equipment you’ll be using (needles, syringes, and blood collection tubes).

Week Three

Lesson 05 – Blood Tests
Wednesday

Now that you have a blood sample, what can you do with it? In this lesson, we’ll focus on the tests you might help to perform and explore how veterinarians diagnose diseases. Though there are thousands of diseases, a few important ones are anemia, diabetes, kidney disease, and liver failure. You’ll quickly learn the difference between white blood cells and chemistries and how to do a PCV and blood smear.

Lesson 06 – Urine Tests
Friday

All fluids tell a story. In this lesson, we’ll look at urine and how to take samples. You could just put a bowl under a dog, of course, but there other methods that will help ensure that the sample remains uncontaminated. And just like when we talked about blood, we’ll also look at the tests that you might help to perform on urine, and go over what duties you’ll be responsible for.

Week Four

Lesson 07 – Surgeries
Wednesday

In this lesson, we’ll move into the surgical suite. Although the veterinarian will do the surgery itself, she won’t be able to do it alone. You may be asked to clip and scrub a patient for surgery. Other responsibilities could include preparing surgical packs, knowing the names of the surgical instruments, and cleaning and sterilizing those instruments properly. You’ll also have a front row seat to a life-saving surgery that I performed on a little dog.

Lesson 08 – Hygiene 101
Friday

While it’s not the most glamorous of tasks, keeping anal sacs clear and anal glands healthy is a big part of basic health care for companion animals. I’ll explain how to identify an impacted sac and show you two techniques you can use to remedy this condition. We’ll also examine how to clean ears, administer medication, and provide a bath—all common responsibilities that you may be assigned as a veterinary assistant.

Week Five

Lesson 09 – Gender, Age, and Dosage Calculations
Wednesday

Suppose someone brings you a little kitten and wants to know if it’s a boy or a girl. Can you do it? In this lesson, we’ll look at how to identify the gender of kittens, puppies, and bunnies, as well as how to tell their age. Knowing the age of a patient is important when figuring out how much medication to give. So I’ve also included a segment on how to calculate doses of medication to help you figure out what and how much to give your patient.

Lesson 10 – Exam Room Skills (TPR)
Friday

Now we’ll move into the exam room. Yes, assistants have to know how to set up the room, but they can also play an important role in preparing the patients before the veterinarian sees them. In this lesson you’ll learn about TPR—temperature, pulse, and respiration. We’ll also discuss how to take a patient history, what to look for while performing the TPR, and how to identify dehydration.

Week Six

Lesson 11 – Radiology and Medical Terminology
Wednesday

Do you know metatarsals from metacarpals? How about ventral from dorsal? In this lesson, I’ll give you a crash course in medial terminology and how to use it when taking radiographs. We’ll also talk about how to read x-rays and go over why bones look white and lungs look dark. You’ll discover how to train a dog so you can take a hip x-ray without sedation.

Lesson 12 – Injections, Vaccines, and Worms
Friday

In this last lesson, we’ll take a closer look at how to give injections (including vaccines) and how to diagnose one of the most common ailments that afflicts cats and dogs: worms. We’ll discuss collection techniques, proper equipment, what to look for in a sample, and how to identify different types of worms. Finally, we’ll wrap up with some of the more memorable cases I’ve dealt with during my years as a veterinarian. Maybe they’ll inspire you to become a veterinarian yourself!

On completion of this course, you will receive one qualification:

Become a Veterinary Assistant III: Practical Skills Certificate of Completion

A 65% or better must be achieved in order to receive a Certificate of Completion.

About The Instructor

Jeff Grognet has been a companion animal veterinarian for 25 years. He was a pioneer in the field of veterinary assistant teaching, developing his first course almost 20 years ago. The overwhelming success of his veterinary receptionist/assistant college courses led him to expand his teaching into other areas in high demand, including pet first aid and alternative medical therapies for companion animals. He practices with his wife at a Veterinary Hospital in BC, Canada. Jeff has published a large and diverse number of articles and is a regular contributing author to several magazines.

This course is an online course.  

A new session of this course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!

How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

Requirements

• Internet access
• Email
• One of the following browsers: 
    o Mozilla Firefox 
    o Microsoft Internet Explorer (9.0 or above)
    o Google Chrome
    o Safari
• Adobe PDF plug-in (a free download obtained at Adobe.com)

Completion of Become a Veterinary Assistant and Become a Veterinary Assistant II: Canine Reproduction is recommended, but not required.

I especially like that you had photographs along with the content. The video clips were very helpful as a learning aid. The course was well organized and written in a style that was easy to understand. The course content was excellent. It was a convenient, interesting, and fun course. The case histories and examples from your practice gave an insight into a vet’s world. Thanks for a great experience.

This course offered much more information than I expected. This is a great course for pet owners, breeders and for anybody who is working with animals. All the questions on the discussion board were answered quickly and professionally. Thank you Dr. Jeff!

The course definitely covered many topics. I liked how the instructor explained everything very clearly. Sometimes textbook explanations are very confusing. The pictures were great, to better explain certain topics. I really gained a lot from this course. Dr. Grognet is a very good instructor. I look forward to taking another course of his soon. I like his style of teaching.

This is the third class I have taken with Dr. Jeff and I have been extremely pleased with all three. I plan to go on to be a vet tech and I feel they have been a great asset in helping to prepare me for my career. He makes the material interesting and the lessons enjoyable. I would definitely recommend his classes to others.

Excellent course! The course material was very organized and contained so much good information! Dr. Jeff also made it fun to learn with picture matches, crossword puzzles, and short video clips. I took the course as a pet owner (rather than a vet assistant employee) and found the information invaluable. Dr. Jeff is an excellent instructor and I would definitely another one of his classes.

I strongly recommend this course to anyone seeking a career in this field! There is so much information that I have taken from this course that will help me better understand my position as an assistant!

This course has been a very helpful tool for gaining knowledge and learning important and valuable information. For the pet owner who wants to know more about their little or big four legged family member, or someone who is pursuing a career in the veterinary field, this course has it covered. I feel much more confident about being a knowledgeable and responsible pet owner. I’m also on my way to realizing my goal of one day working as an assistant. Thank you!

This was a fantastic course. I really enjoy the style of the instructor, Dr. Grognet. He has a great way of teaching, with a good balance of intensity and humor to lighten the depth of the topics. The content of the lessons was informative, well-paced, and the activities were fun to complete at the end of each chapter. My questions were answered almost immediately and thoroughly through the discussion group postings. I found the explanations to my questions helpful in my learnings as I continued to work through the course. Overall, I found this course and others I have taken with Dr. Grognet to be really interesting and helpful in my pursuit of a second career working with animals in a veterinary hospital setting. I recommend that others take these courses if they are interested, involved pet guardians or if they are pursuing a career in animal health. Thank you.

Jeff and his teaching assistant were wonderful, warm, personable, and responsive. Even though this course was online and provided no actual personal interaction, I always felt that they were there for me for support and when I had questions. I very much enjoyed this course. I love Jeff’s assignments – the crossword puzzles and other interactive activities.

Dr. Grognet was clear, precise and whitty at the same time. It gave me an opportunity to learn in a way that was comfortable yet informative. I have learned so much from these classes that I am now confident about my working with animals! Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity!

Become a Veterinary Assistant II: Canine Reproduction

This course is the definitive guide to the principles of sound dog breeding. If you’re a veterinary assistant or preparing to become one, this course will help you understand the essential facts so you can knowledgeably converse with clients on the complexities of canine reproduction.

Candidates for a breeding program need to be assessed not only for conformation, but also for health. They need a thorough reproductive examination and they should be screened for hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia and eye diseases. Once selected, individual dogs are prepared for breeding with the help of proper nutrition, good parasite control, and appropriate vaccination programs.

Become a Veterinary Assistant

Do you love animals? Have you ever thought about a career as a veterinary assistant? This course, taught by a practicing veterinarian and college instructor, will give you the information you need to prepare for work in veterinary hospitals.

What vaccinations do cats and dogs really need and how often should they be given? What is the best way to control fleas? What do you do if your dog has a cut? What is the best way to deal with an emergency situation involving a pet? This course will answer all these questions and more.

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