Course Code: GES118
Module 1: Getting Started
The first module will go over general information about this course. We will review the syllabus and go over the grading system and the types of assignments you’ll receive. We’ll also discuss the final exam and extensions.
Module 2: Welcome to the Veterinary Hospital
In this part of the course, you'll find out about all the different roles in a veterinary hospital, including the kennel assistant, technician or technologist, veterinarian, and office manager, and discover how a veterinary assistant fits into the team. We'll then take a tour of a veterinary hospital so you can see what goes on.
Module 3: Getting Ready for Your First Visit
This module will go over what to wear in the veterinary hospital, how to interact with clients, and the importance of confidentiality. You’ll learn how to protect yourself from hazards in the workplace. This section will also cover laws that regulate what each person can do in a veterinary hospital.
Module 4: Physiology and Anatomy 1: Directional Signs and the Skeletal System
In this section we'll go through the directional signs we use when talking about examining an animal, as well as the terms we use to talk about movement. Then we’ll take a closer look at the anatomy and physiology of bones.
Module 5: Physiology and Anatomy 2: The Nervous System, Endocrine System, and Muscles and Joints
Here we'll look at the anatomy of the brain, eyes, ears, and spinal cord, and discuss the diseases that affect this system. Then we'll explore the glands that produce hormones and take a closer look at muscles, joints, and the tendons and ligaments that hold them together.
Module 6: Physiology and Anatomy 3: The Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
This module will look at the cardiovascular system in general and the heart in particular, including how we can assess its health using Dopplers, ECGs, and radiographs. Next we’ll explore the lymphatic system, another important part of the circulatory system. Finally we’ll learn how air moves in and out of the body through the respiratory system.
Module 7: Physiology and Anatomy 4: The Digestive System, Urogenital System, Liver, and Spleen
This module will teach you the importance of the digestive and urogenital systems, such as how the kidneys function, how urine gets out of the body, and a lesson on male and female reproductive systems. We'll also discuss the function and diseases of the liver and spleen, including liver damage and tumors.
Module 8: Front Office Duties: Records, Confidentiality, and Client Relations
Confidentiality is a vital part of any medical profession. Here we’ll learn about organizing and allowing access to medical records, informed consent, and liability. You’ll learn intake, discharge, and billing procedures, as well as communication skills to help you with client relations.
Module 9: More Front Office Tips, and Determining Age and Gender of Kittens and Puppies
First you’ll learn more about how to speak to clients on the phone and how to handle complaints. Then our focus turns back to animals, as we learn how to determine the gender and ages of kittens, puppies, and rabbits.
Module 10: Canine Restraint
In this lesson, we're going to look at how to approach and hold an animal. You’ll learn how to look at dogs so you can predict what they're going to do. We’ll cover using lateral recumbency, muzzles, and chemicals for restraint.
Module 11: Feline and Exotic Restraint
Now you'll learn how to understand what a cat is telling you through its body language, as well as special holds and other ways to safely restrain cats. You’ll also learn techniques for holding rabbits, other small animals, and birds.
Module 12: The Physical Examination: Procedures, Restraint, and Vital Signs
In this module, you’ll learn different ways to hold an animal depending on the species and the examination being performed. We're also going to review all the steps in a physical examination, as well as how to take vital signs.
Module 13: Everyday Procedures for the Veterinary Assistant
Here you’ll learn tips and techniques to make nail trimming, clipper care, and bathing easier. We’ll also review the common procedure of anal sac expression. Finally, we’ll take a fun look at the most popular dog and cat breeds.
Module 14: Workplace Hazards and Infection Control
This lesson covers protecting yourself from chemical, anesthetic, and radiation hazards; disinfecting kennels and equipment and practicing infection control; and how to handle hazardous materials such as needles and outdated drugs.
Module 15: The Reproductive Cycle and Sterilization Procedures
In Module 15, we’ll first cover the basics of the reproductive cycle. Then we’ll move on to the benefits of sterilization, including the diseases males and females can suffer as a consequence of not being sterilized. Finally, we will review what happens during the surgery itself.
Module 16: Vaccinology
In this module we're going to look at the different types of vaccines and how they generate an immune response. Then we'll investigate the different diseases we vaccinate against and talk about how we determine a vaccination schedule. We'll finish off with how to administer vaccines.
Module 17: Nutrition Basics and Prescription Foods
In this lesson, we're going to look at the science behind feeding pets so you can give recommendations when clients ask for them. We’ll cover food analysis and ingredients, life stage requirements, how much to feed an animal, and prescription and homemade diets.
Module 18: Prescriptions: Preparing and Calculating Doses
Now we'll identify important things that you'll need to be aware of when you're filling prescriptions, including calculating dosages and performing inventory. We'll review important information you need to have before refilling a prescription, and why we don't dispense refills without an examination.
Module 19: Prescriptions: Types of Medications and What They Do
In this lesson, we take a closer look at the medications you will see in veterinary hospitals. We discuss the three classes of medications (over-the-counter, prescription, and controlled), the difference between generic and brand-name, the most common medicines and topicals, and human medications that are dangerous to pets.
Module 20: Giving Medications
Here we'll learn the basics of how best to administer medications to treat eye and skin conditions, heart problems, and arthritis. We'll look at cleaning the ears and applying ointments for ear disease, as well as administering antibiotics, insulin injections, and subcutaneous fluids.
Module 21: The Euthanasia Process
In this lesson, we are going to look at one of the most challenging topics in veterinary medicine: euthanasia. We’ll learn why it’s important and how it’s performed, as well as how to help clients handle the process. We’ll also learn how you can prevent euthanasia from taking an emotional toll on you.
Module 22: Taking Blood Samples
Module 22 covers the different types of veins, their locations, and discusses the best restraint methods to use when collecting blood. You'll also get acquainted with the equipment we need to collect blood, the different tubes we put blood in, and tips on how to collect a good blood sample.
Module 23: Interpreting Blood Tests and Handling Blood
This module discusses what different types of cells can tell us about animal disease, common blood tests and procedures that you may perform under the supervision of your veterinarian as well as the basics of handling blood. Then we will look at procedures for maintaining the laboratory supplies and files.
Module 24: Urine Collection, Handling, and Interpretation
In Module 24, we'll look at the different ways to collect urine including free-catch, catheterization, cystocentesis, and bladder expression. We'll also cover what to look at to perform a urinalysis such as color, specific gravity, test strips, and sediment. Finally, we’ll learn how to interpret urine tests and indicators for when to do more tests.
Module 25: Tests: Serology, Scrapings, Smears, Flotations, and Necropsies
In this lesson, we'll look at a few more of the many tests that we can do in a veterinary hospital, including serological, skin, and fecal tests, as well as culture and necropsy. As an assistant, you won't personally be performing these tests, but it is important to know the procedures.
Module 26: Radiographs and Personal Safety
Module 26 covers X-ray machine logistics and safety, plus radiograph procedures. You’ll learn how to determine the correct exposure for the radiograph based on the part of the body you are working with. We’ll go over radiographic films, digital radiographic units, and other imaging tools such as ultrasound.
Module 27: Radiographic Positioning
As a veterinary assistant, your role is to place the patient in the right position so that you can take a radiograph of the correct body part. Here you're going to see the radiographic positions for taking images of all the major bones as well as the chest and abdomen.
Module 28: Pain Recognition and Emergency Care
This module will teach you how to recognize and treat pain, shock, and allergic reactions; control bleeding; treat burns; perform CPR on a dog or cat, and create a first aid kit for people and pets. These are all emergency situations you might see at veterinary hospitals. Your role is to know what to do as a helper when they arise.
Module 29: Dentistry: Charting, Tooth Disease, and Dental Care
Preventing and treating oral disease has a tremendous impact on maintaining an animal's overall health. Here are the topics we'll cover in this lesson: teeth charting, tooth pathology, why tartar builds up and its effects, teeth cleaning and extractions, and client education on dental care.
Module 30: External Parasites: Fleas, Ticks, Mites, and More
In this lesson, we're going to investigate the pests that can make our patients' skin irritated, itchy, and sometimes even bald. We’ll discuss how pets pick up fleas, ticks, mites, and lice, and how you can control and eradicate them. We'll finish up by talking about something that's often mistaken for a parasite: the dreaded ringworm.
Module 31: Parasites of the Gastrointestinal Tract and Heart
Module 31 focuses on parasites that thrive in the intestines surrounded by digested food. We'll also talk about the worm that strikes the hearts of our four-legged friends and can rob the body of nutrients, cause intestinal inflammation and diarrhea, and trigger heart failure in our pets.
Module 32: Poisonings in Pets
As a veterinary assistant, you have plenty of opportunities to help prevent poisonings. We’ll look at substances toxic to pets, some obvious and others not so obvious. Then, just for fun, we’ll examine a host of internet scares that involve pets so you can untangle the myths from the truth.
Module 33: Surgery 1: Preparing the Patient
Module 33 goes over the pre-surgical process. We will review the different instruments you will encounter, how to get a patient ready for surgery (including pre-anesthetic assessment and administering anesthesia), and the different variations in suture materials, scalpels, and needles.
Module 34: Surgery 2: Your Role During and After
This module continues our exploration of the assistant's duties in and around the operating room. We’ll learn how to provide tools to the surgeon, monitor patients, administer post-surgery care, and clean instruments. You’ll also have a chance to observe an entire surgery through pictures.
Module 35: Understanding Animal Behavior
Watching an animal’s body language and changing our approach based on our observations is a critical part to a successful visit. We’ll learn how to reduce stress in dogs and cats by reading what they are saying with their bodies and reacting accordingly.
Module 36: The Job Search and Future Opportunities
It’s time to get excited about putting your newfound knowledge to use. This lesson will give you some tools that will help you on your job search, including preparing for interviews and future educational opportunities you might consider.
Jeff Grognet has been a companion animal veterinarian for over 25 years. He is a pioneer in the field of veterinary assistant teaching, having developed his first course over 20 years ago. This progressed to four short courses and finally the development of this veterinary assistant program. Jeff practices with his wife at a veterinary hospital in British Columbia, Canada. He has published thousands of articles on animal health topics for newspapers and magazines.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
A high school diploma or equivalent is recommended but not essential.
Instructional material requirements:
I loved that I could do my classes any time of the day...being a military spouse I don't have a lot of free time, most of the time! I wouldn't change anything! I loved it and was satisfied with everything!!"
I very much enjoyed this course and feel that I am walking away with a wealth of knowledge in this career field."
I loved being able to complete assignments and work at home. I am a single mother of two children and cannot afford to put them in daycare so staying home with them while I completed the course saved a lot of money. I was able to spend much needed time with my girls!"
I really liked the fact that it was all based on my own schedule and I did not feel rushed or stressed about homework assignments or tests."
My instructor was wonderful! She checked in to see if everything went the way it should and made sure everyone knew they could ask any questions that they had!"
I like how this program is self-paced and how quickly everything is graded. The facilitator always got back to me in a timely manner and I feel that I learned a lot."
Dr. Grognet is an excellent facilitator. The course content was extremely meaningful and relevant because Dr. Grognet authored the learning modules - and he appeared/demonstrated in course videos. The course content and assignments were substantive and challenging. His credentials, professional experiences, and passion for veterinary medicine are inspiring for students. The feedback received from Dr. Grognet was very timely and individualized for the student. He demonstrates professionalism and style. Lastly, the online learning platform was student friendly - ease in navigation and understandability. An excellent with distinction - program and facilitator!"
I really enjoyed the way in which the material was represented. It was fun to learn with the review games and helpful pictures. Also my facilitator was helpful in answering my questions. They answered them quickly and with much description."
Yes, ed2go courses are online, so you never have to actually travel to the school. Most schools offer telephone or online registration.
This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive six (6) months to complete the course.
ed2go courses are non-credit courses, so they do not qualify for federal aid. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses.
Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.
This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. We do not offer direct job placement services, but our instructors and career counselors will help you build your resume and advise you on starting your career. Instructors can also be used as a professional reference upon course completion. However, you should always research the job market in your area before registering.
You may be assigned with a facilitator or team of industry experts for one-on-one course interaction. Your support will be available (via e-mail) to answer any questions you may have and to provide feedback on your performance. All of our facilitators are successful working professionals in the fields in which they teach. You will be assigned to an Advisor for academic support.
If you have questions that are not answered on our website, please feel free to contact us via LIVE CHAT or by calling us at (855) 520-6806. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please feel free to send us a question using the Contact Us form.
This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Please note: Once the course curriculum is accessed online or through submission of a material shipment confirmation, refunds cannot be issued. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has a certification program that began in 2012. Currently, this requires attending a college that also has a veterinary technician certification program. Once NAVTA creates a way for online programs to lead to certification, we will be exploring this avenue.
Yes. The duties that each member of the hospital can perform are regulated by the licensing board for that state or province. By taking this program, you will obtain a veterinary-specific skill set. This will put you far ahead of other applicants who haven’t shown the desire and ambition to take a program like this. This, along with your work ethic and personality are the factors that come into play in getting a position at a veterinary hospital.
The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact your Student Advisor to help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.
The typical career path for a veterinary assistant involves earning a high school diploma or GED (although this is not required), then enrolling in a certificate course to learn the specifics of the job. Upon earning a certificate, the graduate finds employment as a veterinary assistant. The Veterinary Assistant Program from ed2go is a great start; you’ll get a professional reference from your instructor that you may use to find a job.