Print Version

Effective: Spring 2011

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
5 hours lecture. (60 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Describe the role of the Veterinary Assistant in the veterinary health care team; articulate and distinguish the scope of allowable tasks and responsibilities from those of the Licensed Veterinary Technician.
  • Describe the essential tasks and responsibilities of the Veterinary Assistant working in the front office of the veterinary practice.
Description -
First in a two-course series in the theory and practice of veterinary assisting focusing on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for competent paraprofessional support to the veterinarian (DVM) and to the registered veterinary technician (RVT). Prepare for an exciting career as a Veterinary Assistant by learning the essential knowledge and hands-on skills. Emphasis is on the practical aspects of front office management, working as part of the veterinary health care team, basic animal care, and fundamentals of patient management under direct supervision. Entirely online and may be taken as a stand-alone class or may be combined with V T 52B, V T 88A & V T 88B to earn a Veterinary Assisting Program Certificate of Completion.

Course Objectives -
Focus on orientation to the veterinary profession and workplace; work ethic, professional communication and interpersonal skills, veterinary receptionist and office practice skills, workplace safety, aseptic technique and principles of disinfection and sterilization; medical terminology, basic animal husbandry, nutrition, and behavior. The student will demonstrate proficiency in performing the Essential Tasks for Veterinary Assistants as specified by the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators.
Students shall be able to:
  1. describe the scope of the Veterinary Medical Profession.
  2. list the members of the Veterinary Health Care Team.
  3. state the specific job descriptions of each member of the Veterinary Health Care Team and differentiate between them.
  4. list and classify the various career choices available to the Veterinary Assistant.
  5. list and classify the types of veterinary practices and explain how each differs.
  6. define and explain, Professionalism as it relates to the veterinary profession.
  7. explain the importance of personal appearance, professional behavior, writing skills, organizational ability, and communication skills in the veterinary workplace.
  8. define -work ethic- and identify characteristics of a person demonstrating a strong work ethic.
  9. consistently use effective listening skills.
  10. use effective verbal and written communication.
  11. apply appropriate conflict resolution techniques when working with difficult people.
  12. discuss the importance of the Human-Animal Bond.
  13. list and discuss the five stages of grief.
  14. demonstrate proper telephone skills.
  15. apply standard procedures when working with medical records, authorization and consent forms, and hospital logs.
  16. explain the proper procedure for patient admission and discharge.
  17. demonstrate proper appointment scheduling skills.
  18. list and explain the components of a comprehensive workplace safety plan.
  19. list the components of a Code of Safe Practices and apply proper safety precautions throughout the workplace.
  20. list the common hazardous materials, hazardous wastes, biohazards, and zoonotic diseases encountered in the veterinary workplace.
  21. discuss and apply the principles of Aseptic Technique.
  22. describe and demonstrate proper sanitation, disinfection, sterilization and isolation procedures in the veterinary hospital.
  23. recount and apply the Universal Precautions in a clinical setting.
  24. describe process of inventory rotation and restocking.
  25. demonstrate basic computer skills, operation and maintenance of common office machines.
  26. use of proper medical terminology in all work-related speaking and writing.
  27. demonstrate ability to properly store, handle, and dispense veterinary biologics and pharmaceuticals as prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.
  28. outline the basic nutritional requirements for both healthy and ill animals.
  29. know and explain proper feeding techniques for companion animals.
  30. recognize and properly interpret normal canine and feline behavior.
  31. recall and explain common strategies for addressing common feline and canine behavior problems.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Multimedia capable computer and access to the Internet.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
The student will receive clinical instruction by licensed veterinarians and/or registered veterinary technicians.
  1. Veterinary medicine and the veterinary health care team
    1. Scope of the veterinary medical profession
    2. The Veterinary health care team
  2. Careers in veterinary medicine
  3. Types of veterinary practices
  4. Professionalism and the veterinary workplace
    1. Professional appearance, dress, grooming, and hygiene
    2. Professional behavior
    3. Professional communication
      1. Effective listening skills.
      2. Effective verbal communication
      3. Effective written communication
      4. Non-verbal communication
      5. Working with difficult people
        1. Types of difficult people
        2. Strategies for working with difficult people
        3. Resolving conflict
  5. The Human-Animal Bond.
    1. The companion animal's role in society
    2. Pet loss and grieving
    3. Euthanasia
    4. Stages of grief
  6. Office Practices
    1. Office Machines
      1. Computer
      2. Typewriter
      3. FAX machine
      4. Copy machine
      5. Practice management software
    2. Telephone skills.
    3. Medical record keeping
    4. Authorization and consent forms
    5. Hospital logs.
    6. Patient admission and discharge
    7. Appointment scheduling skills
    8. Inventory, rotation, and restocking
  7. Workplace Safety
    1. Cal-OSHA and Fed-OSHA Compliance
    2. Components of a comprehensive workplace safety plan
      1. Injury and illness Prevention Plan
      2. Code of Safe Practices
      3. Hazard Communication Plan
      4. Hazardous materials
    3. Material Safety Data Sheets
      1. Medical waste
        1. Sharps
        2. Biohazards
      2. Hazardous Waste
      3. Zoonotic Diseases
    4. Emergency Action Plan
  8. Universal Precautions
  9. Aseptic Technique
    1. Sanitation
    2. Disinfection
    3. Sterilization
    4. Isolation
  10. Basic medical terminology
    1. Prefixes and suffixes
    2. Common Terms by body system
    3. Common abbreviations and acronyms
  11. Basic Clinical Skills
    1. Principles of storage, handling, and dispensing veterinary biologics and pharmaceuticals as prescribed by a licensed veterinarian
    2. Reading prescriptions
    3. Filling Prescriptions
  12. Basic Nutrition
    1. Nutritional requirements for healthy animals
      1. Energy Producing nutrients
      2. Non-energy producing nutrients
    2. Feeding recommendations for companion animals
      1. Dogs
      2. Cat
      3. Other species
    3. Common errors in animal feeding
    4. Nutritional requirements for sick, injured, or recuperating animals
  13. Behavior
    1. Canine
      1. Normal behavior
      2. Socialization
      3. Training
      4. Selected Common Behavior Problems
      5. Strategies for correcting common problems
    2. Feline
      1. Normal behavior
      2. Socialization
      3. Training
      4. Selected Common Behavior Problems
      5. Strategies for correcting common problems
Methods of Evaluation -
Written quizzes and examinations; written assignments and projects; participation in class discussion forums.
Representative Text(s) -
Pattengale, Paula Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant. 2nd ed., Wiley, John and Sons, Inc. 2009.
Mc Bride, Douglass F. Learning Veterinary Terminology. 2nd ed., Mosby, 2001.

Disciplines -
Veterinary Technology
Method of Instruction -
Lecture, Self-paced, Electronic discussions/chat, Online Course Modules.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
Weekly reading assignments from online modules, text, Internet resources, and other outside sources ranging from 30 to 60 pages per week. Written assignments, participation in online forum discussions.