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Veterinary Assistant I -

Becoming a Veterinary Assistant

 

Do you love animals? Have you ever thought about a career as a veterinary assistant? This six-week course, taught by a practicing veterinarian and college instructor, fulfills two purposes. It not only shows aspiring veterinary students the ropes but it also gives pet owners valuable tips.

If you want to see if working in a veterinary hospital is for you, it will provide the introduction you need to make a decision. If you are a pet owner that wants to take better care of your pets and understand what your veterinarian is telling you, this course is for you. Many people that take the course are already employed at a veterinary hospital. It helps them as well.

Here’s a brief rundown on what you’ll learn in this course. It’s followed by a detailed syllabus.

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 far more.

You'll learn about nutrition for dogs and emerging ideas on how to feed cats. You’ll understand how to treat and prevent parasites, including roundworms and heartworms. You’ll even learn the facts of life, as it pertains to dogs and cats, and controversies on when to sterilize.

You'll explore how to deal with the very emotional issues of euthanasia, pet loss, and how best to assist clients in a time of need.

Special lessons target the unique duties of veterinary assistants. Did you know that a veterinary assistant may be asked to dispense medications just like a pharmacist? You’ll learn how to interpret medical prescriptions that look like Greek scribbles to the untrained eye.

You'll also understand the hazards of working in a veterinary setting so that you can protect yourself from x-ray exposure, infections carried by animals, and potential damage from teeth and claws.

Veterinary hospitals are small businesses, not just places of medicine, so you will also gain a complete understanding of their economics - how income is generated and where it goes. You will also explore marketing and communication because they are essential factors in making a business successful.

Even if you are already employed in a veterinary hospital, you will find this course invaluable in helping you understand the reasoning behind decisions and recommendations made by veterinarians. And if you're a pet owner, this course will help you better assess the quality of veterinary care your pets receive.

A new course starts every month. Check the home page for dates.


Syllabus

Week One
Wednesday - Lesson 01
In our first lesson, we'll start way back at the beginning—you'll learn how ancient veterinary medicine evolved into the modern-day practice that you're accustomed to. You'll also learn why a veterinary assistant is just as important to the success of the practice as the veterinarian. In the second component of this lesson, you'll learn all about dog and cat reproduction. You'll learn the normal hormonal cycles and breeding times, and then delve into the benefits of sterilization.
Friday - Lesson 02
In this lesson, you'll learn how vaccines protect against disease. And just as important, you'll learn why they sometimes fail. We'll take a close look at how often vaccines should be given, why they may be ill-advised, and why vaccinosis is so controversial.

Week Two
Wednesday - Lesson 03
Today, we'll talk about the importance of parasites that can infest both pets and people. You'll see the worms that live in the intestines, and also get acquainted with heartworm, a nasty guy that lives in the arteries. We'll explore how parasites infect people, what they do, and how to prevent their invasion.
Friday - Lesson 04
Have you ever wondered how to pick the best food for your pet? This lesson will give you the tools to make the right decision, and how best to pass the information on to your clients. We'll also talk about the role of prescription diets in pet health.

Week Three
Wednesday - Lesson 05
This will certainly be the most emotional lesson in the entire course. The topic is euthanasia, and we'll look at it from the perspectives of both the client and the hospital employee. We'll explore the stages of grief that everyone goes through after a loss. You'll also see what the procedure entails, how to help a grieving client, and tools for assisting children with pet loss.
Friday - Lesson 06
In this lesson, you'll learn why a veterinary hospital can be a dangerous place. You'll see how X-rays, anesthetics, and certain drugs can harm you. You'll finish this lesson with Economics 101, a glimpse into the cash flow of a typical veterinary hospital.

Week Four
Wednesday - Lesson 07
This lesson will help you in a crisis. Designed like a short course in human first aid, this lesson will help you cope with almost any emergency, and we'll discuss ways that some emergencies can be prevented. There's even a segment on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, dog and cat style!
Nino's pictures HERE.
Friday - Lesson 08
What is the most important parasite affecting our pets? If you answered the flea, you're right. In this lesson, you'll learn all about this parasite. You'll hear about other crawling parasites that also live on or in the skin (mange) and how they can be managed.

Week Five
Wednesday - Lesson 09
Did you know that as a hospital employee, any advice you give could end up in a lawsuit? You'll find out how to handle these situations and, related to this, how to maintain client confidentiality. You'll round off your study on client communications with an introduction to client education programs.
Friday - Lesson 10
As soon as you're hired as a veterinary assistant, you'll be helping to prepare prescriptions. In this lesson, you'll find out how to do this correctly. You'll also learn about your role in keeping accurate medical records. We'll end the lesson with a short course on marketing, taking a close look at some of the best tools you can use to keep old clients and attract new ones.
Week Six
Wednesday - Lesson 11
This lesson is the most cutting edge: Here, you'll learn all about alternative therapies that some veterinarians are applying in their practices, including acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, and chiropractic care. And when it comes to pet food, is commercial, home-cooked, or raw the best choice? We'll examine the plusses and minuses of each possible diet.
Friday - Lesson 12
In our last lesson, we'll take a close look at animal behavior. You'll delve into how best to train puppies and kittens, and more importantly, how to share the information with your clients. At the end of the course, you'll see how everything you've learned can be put together for a comprehensive health plan covering everything from behavior, vaccinations, and nutrition to castration, euthanasia, and alternative therapies.