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CCOG for VT 102 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
VT 102
Course Title:
Small Animal Nursing and Restraint
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Covers nursing techniques and principles of restraint of dogs, cats, and birds. Emphasizes techniques to maximize the safety aspect of restraint to both the handler and to the animal patient. Prerequisites: Admission to Veterinary Technology program.

Addendum to Course Description

This course is designed to teach the student the proper techniques used in the handling and restraint of small animals encountered by the veterinary technician in modern veterinary practice.  Emphasis will be given to techniques that will maximize the safety aspect of restraint, both to the handler and to the animal patient.  

The student will learn the correct techniques of handling and restraining dogs, cats, and birds. In addition, the lectures will cover animal behavior, which is vitally important in the understanding of handling and restraint.  Other topics covered will include small animal nursing techniques such as the physical exam, grooming, bandaging and splints, and methods of medication administration.  Handling and restraint procedures for the various species and animal nursing procedures will be covered in the laboratory portion of the course. 

This is a three-credit-hour course consisting of two lecture and three lab hours per week for one term.  

It is designed for first year veterinary technology students and is a graduation requirement for the Associates Degree in Applied Sciences in Veterinary Technology.  Credits in this course are not transferable to a four-year school towards a baccalaureate degree.  

Required text for the course is Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians, 9th ed., McCurnin.   

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Apply effective and humane restraint techniques for dogs, cats, and birds.
  • Choose restraint techniques appropriate for an individual animal's behavior. 
  • Perform physical exams on dogs, cats, and birds, utilizing knowledge of physiological norms.
  • Recognize emergencies and apply principles of first aid in dogs and cats.
  • Administer medications by several routes to dogs and cats.
  • Perform entry-level small animal nursing techniques, such as bandage application, fluid therapy, ear cleaning, and care of recumbent and neonatal small animals.

Course Activities and Design

This course is presented as a series of lectures and laboratories.  Handling and restraint techniques will be presented in order based on animal species.  Animal nursing techniques and procedures will also be covered; both in basic principle and as they pertain specifically to each species.  The laboratory will cover the commonly used handling, restraint and nursing procedures used for small animals and birds in veterinary practice. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Prerequisite for this course is Introduction to Veterinary Technology VT 101.  

Grades will be based on the student’s understanding of the course content, as demonstrated by periodic quizzes, one comprehensive written final examination, one comprehensive laboratory practical examination, and attendance in both lecture and laboratory classes. To receive a passing grade, the student must attend a minimum of 80% of lecture and laboratory sessions.    

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

 Instructional goal: 
The goal is for the student to develop an understanding of what constitutes safe and effective restraint, and why knowledge of proper restraint techniques is vitally important in the day-to-day practice of veterinary medicine.  

1.1   Discuss basic principles of restraint, emphasizing both the psychological and physical aspects that the handler must be aware of for safe and effective restraint of small animal species, including: 
           1. The differences between effective and ineffective or improper restraint.
           2. Incidence of injury to animals occurring through either improper restraint or unacceptable aggression on the part of veterinary staff, and prevention thereof.
           3. Incidence of injury to handler, other veterinary staff, and animal owners and prevention thereof.
           4. Legal liability of the veterinarian and veterinary technician for injuries to owners, animals, or veterinary staff, resulting from ineffective or improper restraint.


Instructional goal:
The goal is for the student to gain knowledge and understanding of the techniques of handling, restraint, grooming, medicating, and nursing utilized in small animal and avian practice. 

2.1   Discuss specific restraint techniques utilized in the small animal and avian patient. 

2.2   Identify small animal behavior patterns that require specific approaches to handling and restraint. 

2.3 Discuss the principles and techniques of history-taking and physical exam in the small animal and avian patient, utilizing the systems approach.*

2.4   Discuss principles of first aid and physical exam findings that signal an immediate emergency.*

2.5   Discuss basic principles of small animal and avian nursing and treatment techniques, including:
           1. Administration of medication*
           2. Venipuncture
           3. Physical therapy
           4. Application of bandages, splints, and casts*
           5. Expression of anal glands
           6. Toe nail trims
           7. Wing and beak trims*
           8. Tube feeding in birds

           9. Ear exam and cleaning
          10. Therapeutic bathing and dipping*
          11. Care of the recumbent small animal*

          12. Care and nursing of healthy and sick small animal neonates*

Instructional goal:
The goal is for the student to learn skills and procedures in the handling, restraint, grooming, medicating and nursing of small animal and avian species.

3.1   Perform physical exams, utilizing the systems approach, on dogs, cats, and birds. For dogs and cats, record exam results in medical records using the SOAP method.*

3.2   Know normal values of temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure for the dog and cat. 

3.3   Perform various techniques used in small animal and avian restraint and handling, including: 
           1. Removal of animals from and placement into cages*
2. Placement on, removal from, and restraint of small animals on examination tables
           4. Restraint of avian patients*
           5. Placing the dog and cat in lateral recumbency*

           6. Placing the dog and cat in sternal recumbency*

           7. Restraining the dog and cat in standing position*
           8. Muzzling the dog and cat*
           9. Correctly lifting a large dog*
          10. Proper use of the leash, choke collar, and rabies pole in the dog*
          11. Proper use of the restraint bag in the cat*

          12. Proper use of towel restraint in the cat*

          13. Restraint techniques in the dog and cat for the following procedures:
                   1. Physical exam 
                   2. SQ injections
                   3. IM injections
                   4. IV injections*

                   5.  Nail Trim

                   6. Temperature taking

                   7. Expression of anal sacs
                   8. Skin scrapings
                   9. Ear exam and cleaning
                 10. Application of limb bandages

3.4   Perform therapeutic bathing, dipping, and grooming of small animals, and be able to correctly describe and identify the various grooming tools.*

3.5   Perform the following methods of medication administration in dogs and cats: 
           1. Oral*
           2. SQ*
           3. IM*
           4. Ophthalmic*
           5. Topical*
           6. Intraaural*

3.6  Be able to describe how to safely and effectively:  
           1. Pass an orogastric tube in the dog and cat*

           2. Administer medications to birds (SQ, IM, IV, IO, PO)* 

3.7 Be able to describe purpose and proper procedures for:

           1. Application and removal of a metamason spoon splint, Robert-Jones splint, and Schroeder-Thomas splint*

           2. Administration of an enema in the dog and cat*

           3. Suture removal in the dog and cat

           4. IV fluid therapy in a veterinary setting

3.8 Understand unique husbandry issues for birds, reptiles, and amphibians, and be able to provide client education*

3.9   Perform the following nursing procedural techniques: 

           1. Weigh small animals
           2. Obtain TPR in small animals*
           3. Auscult the heart and lungs in small animals using the stethoscope*
           4. Toenail trim in small animals and birds*
           5. Obtain a fecal sample with a fecal loop in small animals
           6. Express the anal glands in the dog*
           7. Determination of sex in small animals
           8. Ear cleaning and intraaural medication administration in small animals*
           9. Administration of oral medication (pill and liquid) in small animals using manual technique, pill gun technique, and syringe technique*
          10. Application and removal of a paw wrap in small animals, in both routine and emergency situations*
          12. Application of an Elizabethan collar in small animals*
          13. Obtain and examine skin scrapings in the dog*

3.10  Perform the following ocular diagnostic tests in small animals:  

            1. Tonometry*

            2. Fluorescein staining*

            3. Schirmer tear test*

The course content guides are developed by college-wide subject area faculty and are approved by management.  

Content labeled with an asterisk (*) indicates content required by our accreditor. Content that is also italicized  indicate tasks the student must be able to perform as they are listed as “Essential Tasks” by the Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities.