Course Code: CPD124
Duration: 170 hours, 6 months
This online program will prepare you to become a productive member of a veterinary team. You'll learn about every aspect of veterinary assisting, including anatomy and physiology, animal restraint, laboratory sample collection, assisting in surgery and dentistry, prescription preparation, and taking radiographs. You’ll also learn how to interact professionally with clients and gain the expertise you need to educate them about key topics in pet care, such as nutrition, vaccinations, and administering medication. This program is designed for people who want to work at a veterinary hospital and those who are already employed in positions in which they look after animals.
You’ll first study the major organ systems that you’ll need to know about as a veterinary assistant. Next, you’ll move to front office duties so you can see how to work with clients and handle medical records. You'll also delve into the communication skills that come in handy for the assistant.
Then the program moves to the area you're probably most interested in—the back of the hospital. You’ll see how to restrain animals for procedures, take their vital signs (temperature, pulse, and respiration rate), trim their nails, and properly bathe them. You'll also gain the expertise you need to educate clients about key topics in pet care, such as nutrition, vaccinations, and administering medication.
The program also shows you how you can be an asset during surgery and dental procedures by monitoring heart rate and breathing, passing instruments to the surgeon, and charting teeth. You’ll learn how to prepare prescriptions, take blood samples, perform laboratory tests, and take radiographs.
The program concludes with a lesson to prepare you for the job market, in which you'll see how to create an effective resume, advance your skills, and develop strong interview skills. Upon passing this program, you’ll have the credentials and knowledge to be a valued team member in a veterinary hospital.
Upon completion of the ed2go Veterinary Assistant Program, you’ll:
- Understand the duties of the veterinary assistant.
- Learn the anatomy and physiology of the major organ systems.
- Master office communication skills and see how to handle medical records.
- Learn how to determine age and gender of animals.
- Find out how to restrain animals seen at the hospital.
- Discover how to take vital signs such as temperature, pulse, and respiration rate.
- Learn how to trim nails, empty anal sacs, and properly bathe animals.
- Identify the hazards you’ll face in a veterinary hospital from anesthetics, infections, and X-rays,
- Explore the reproductive cycles, diseases, and sterility procedures in cats and dogs.
- Find out how vaccines work, when to give them, and how to administer them.
- Learn the basics of feline and canine nutrition, including prescription foods.
- Discover how to prepare prescriptions and understand the different drug classes.
- Learn the different ways to administer medications—orally, in eyes and ears, and by injection.
- Research the euthanasia process from the client’s and hospital’s perspectives.
- Learn how to take blood samples and how to restrain for the procedure.
- Understand what blood tests tell us, and see how to do a packed cell volume and blood smear.
- Learn how to collect urine and perform a urinalysis, and understand what the results mean.
- Explore diagnostic tests performed in the hospital on serum, skin, and feces.
- Find out about radiation protection and how to position an animal to for a radiograph.
- Recognize and alleviate pain in animals.
- Learn how to deal with common emergencies you’ll see in a veterinary hospital.
- Learn how to chart teeth, perform common dental procedures, and provide client education on dentistry.
- Explore the life cycles, diagnosis, and treatment options for internal and external parasites.
- Investigate substances that can poison pets and learn about emergency treatment.
- Learn the names of surgical instruments and how to prepare surgical packs.
- Figure out how to prepare a patient for surgery and help during and after the anesthetic.
- Learn how to prepare an effective resume, advance your skills, and develop strong interview skills.
- Welcome to the Veterinary Hospital
- Get familiar with the different roles people have at the hospital, find out what veterinary assistants do, discover what it takes to succeed as a veterinary assistant, and explore the physical layout of a veterinary hospital.
- Getting Ready for Your First Visit
- To prepare for your first visit to a veterinary hospital, you’ll learn how to dress and communicate appropriately, protect the confidentiality of clients, and protect yourself from the potential hazards of the hospital.
- Physiology and Anatomy 1: Directional Signs and the Skeletal System
- Describe locations on the body using medical directional terminology and apply these terms as you learn the bones of the skeletal system.
- Physiology and Anatomy 2: The Nervous System, Endocrine System, and Muscles and Joints
- Gain an understanding of the nervous and endocrine systems as well as the muscles and joints, and recognize common diseases that affect these systems.
- Physiology and Anatomy 3: The Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
- Learn the details of the circulatory system—which includes both the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems—and understand the anatomy and function of the respiratory system.
- Physiology and Anatomy 4: The Digestive System, Urogenital System, Liver, and Spleen
- Investigate how the digestive and urogenital systems work in animals, and see what roles the liver and spleen play in the body.
- Front Office Duties: Records, Confidentiality, and Client Relations
- Explore some front office duties, including working with medical records, handling confidentiality issues that might arise with them, understanding how liability applies to phone advice, and learning how to constructively interact with clients.
- More Front Office Tips, and Determining Age and Gender of Kittens and Puppies
- Expand your knowledge of how to handle clients by learning good telephone techniques and methods of dealing with complaints, and figure out how to tell a kitten’s or puppy’s gender and age.
- Canine Restraint
- Learn how to approach, carry, and hold dogs for your mutual safety.
- Feline and Exotic Restraint
- Learn how to determine what a cat is telling you and how to restrain it, and explore techniques for handling exotic animals such as rabbits, pocket pets, and birds.
- The Physical Examination: Procedures, Restraint, and Vital Signs
- Discover how to conduct a physical examination, how to restrain an animal while doing it, and how to take vital signs such as temperature, pulse, and respiration rate.
- Nail Trimming, Anal Sacs, Bathing, and Clipper Care
- Learn how to trim nails, empty anal sacs, properly bathe animals and apply dips, and care for hair clippers.
- Workplace Hazards and Infection Control
- Identify the hazards you’ll face in a veterinary hospital, including chemicals, anesthetics, radiation, and diseases, and learn how to prevent the spread of infectious disease to patients and yourself.
- The Reproductive Cycle and Sterilization Procedures
- We’ll explore the reproductive cycle in cats and dogs, the diseases they are at risk for if they’re not sterilized, and finally, the procedure used to stop them from being able to breed.
- Find out what vaccines are made of, how they work, when we should give them, and how to administer them.
- Nutrition Basics and Prescription Foods
- Learn the basics of feline and canine nutrition, why we use of prescription foods, and why some clients prefer homemade foods.
- Prescriptions: Preparing and Calculating Doses
- Learn how to prepare prescriptions and calculate doses of medication using an animal’s weight, and find out what to tell clients who ask for refills or prescriptions over the phone.
- Prescriptions: Types of Medications and What They Do
- Learn the differences between over-the-counter and prescription drugs, discuss the major types of medications and what they do, and find out which human medications pose a danger to pets.
- Giving Medications
- Learn the different ways to administer medications, including orally, in the eyes and ears, and by injection.
- The Euthanasia Process
- Research the euthanasia process from the client’s perspective, and learn how to make it as comfortable as possible.
- Taking Blood Samples
- Learn the locations of the veins, how to take blood samples, and how to restrain for the procedure.
- Interpreting Blood Tests and Handling Blood
- Discover what blood tests tell us about disease, and see how to do a packed cell volume and blood smear.
- Urine Collection, Handling, and Interpretation
- Learn how to collect urine, what elements we measure in a urinalysis, and what the results mean.
- Tests: Serology, Scrapings, Smears, Flotations, and Necropsies
- Explore the diagnostic tests commonly performed in the hospital, including serological tests, skin scrapings and cytology, fecal flotations and smears, and cultures; and see what your role will be in necropsies (post-mortem exams).
- Radiographs and Personal Safety
- Learn how to produce high-quality radiographic images and how to protect yourself while taking them.
- Radiographic Positioning
- Learn how to position an animal to get the correct radiographic view.
- Pain Recognition and Emergency Care
- Discover how to recognize and alleviate pain in animals, and explore how to deal with common emergencies you’ll see in a veterinary hospital.
- Dentistry: Charting, Tooth Disease, and Dental Care
- Learn how to chart teeth, what diseases teeth suffer from, how a veterinarian does teeth cleaning and extractions, and how to educate clients about home dental care.
- External Parasites: Fleas, Ticks, Mites, and More
- Explore the life cycles, diagnosis, and treatment options for external parasites including fleas, ticks, mites, lice, and ringworm.
- Parasites of the Gastrointestinal Tract and Heart
- Learn about the worms that infest dogs and cats, their life cycles, and how we can control them.
- Poisonings in Pets
- Investigate substances that can poison pets, including foods and household chemicals, and learn how to treat pets that have ingested poisons.
- Preparing the Patient
- Learn the names of surgical instruments and how to prepare a patient for surgery, and follow the events during anesthesia induction.
- Your Role During and After
- Learn how to prepare and handle packs, discover how to monitor patients under anesthesia and look after them once they wake up, and get a behind-the-scenes look at a complete surgery.
- The Job Search and Future Opportunities
- Learn how to prepare an effective resume and be your best in an interview, and explore ideas for advancing your skills.
- Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant, by Paula Pattengale
This program is compatible with Windows, Mac, and a variety of browsers and browser versions. You will need Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader. You will need an Internet connection (high-speed is recommended) and email capability.
Upon registering, you will receive an initial six months to complete the program. Should you need more time, you may request a six month extension at no additional charge. Students using VA benefits should refer to the Military page of our site to review the differences between online program access and VA rates of pursuit.