50 hour Veterinary Support Assistant Certificate

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About the course

Many people aspire to work with animals, but it can be difficult to distinguish the reality from the fluffy image. This course gives a firm grounding in reality, with essential skills such as animal handling and restraint, pet psychology and recognizing pain, and working as part of a veterinary team - as well as an understanding of technical terms, anatomy and physiology, and first aid.

The Veterinary Support Assistant

The Veterinary Support Assistant (VSA) is a highly capable member of the veterinary team, trained informally within the practice. A VSA is responsible for many crucial jobs within the clinic, such as ensuring good hygiene and sterility, handling animals, and interfacing with clients. Many VSAs use the opportunity to gain valuable experience and go on to qualify as Vet Technicians.

This course is of benefit to anyone with an interest in animal health, working with animals, or wondering if a career in the veterinary environment is right for them. It includes an overview of how veterinary practice works, health and safety, basic anatomy and physiology, animal handling techniques, first aid, and coping with emergency situations as well as emotional issues such as euthanasia.

Learn Core Skills Such As:

Anybody who comes into regular contact with animals be that in a kennel, rescue center, or a vet clinic, benefits from learning and understanding key aspects such as:

  • Veterinary terminology
  • Handling dogs, cats, small mammals, and exotics
  • Animal psychology – interpreting signs of stress or pain
  • Handling the fractious animal safely
  • How to gently restrain animals for minor procedures
  • The importance of disinfection and disease control
  • Monitoring inpatients, such as taking vital signs and record keeping
  • Basic animal anatomy and physiology
  • Health and Safety regulations
  • Feeding animals – both healthy and sick


Course Modules:

Module 1: Veterinary Practice and the Veterinary Support Assistant
  • The aims of this course
  • What is a Veterinary Support Assistant?
  • The structure of veterinary practice
  • Roles within the clinic team
  • Confidentiality and professionalism
Module 2: Developing Your Skill Set
  • The Practice Manual
  • Know your breeds
  • Listen and Learn
  • Understanding consent forms
  • Phone skills
  • Reception
  • Dealing with Anxious Clients
  • Using your Initiative
  • Personal appearance and manner
Module 3: Veterinary Terminology
  • Commonly used terms
  • Common procedures
  • Abbreviations
  • Equipment within the practice
Module 4: Basic Animal Handling
  • The principles of handling animals
  • Handling dogs
  • Handling cats
  • Handling small mammals
  • Handling exotics
Module 5: Animal Psychology
  • How animals react to stress
  • Reading body language
  • Minimizing stress
  • Recognizing pain in animals
Module 6: Advanced Animal Handling
  • Tools for handling the fractious animal
  • Restraining the fractious animal
  • Holding an animal for a medical examination
  • Holding an animal for a minor procedure
  • Holding an animal for a blood draw
Module 7: Around the Veterinary Practice
  • Theater protocol
  • Consultation protocol
  • Pre-operative preparations
  • Sterilizing instruments
  • Disinfection and disease control
Module 8: Care of In Patients
  • Monitoring animals and updating charts
  • TLC –Providing the optimum environment
  • Special measures (hand feeding and critical care)
  • Taking vital signs
Module 9: Feeding Animals
  • Feeding the well animal
  • Food and surgery
  • Life stage nutrition
  • Prescription diets
  • Feeding the sick animal
Module 10: Basic Anatomy
  • Anatomical terms
  • How animals differ from people Module 11: Basic physiology
Module 11: Basic Physiology
  • Physiological terms
  • Normal reference ranges
Module 12: Euthanasia
  • Making a difficult decision
  • End of life choices
  • Euthanasia etiquette
  • How euthanasia is performed
  • Burial or cremation
Module 13: Emergencies
  • Dealing with an emergency
  • Your role during an emergency
  • Basic principles of resuscitation
Module 14: First Aid
  • Basic first aid
  • Bleeding
  • Shock
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fractures
Module 15: Health & Safety, and Regulations
  • Risks within the veterinary environment
  • The importance of hygiene
  • Ionizing radiation regulations
  • Prescribing regulations
  • Disposal of clinical waste


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