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CCOG for VT 113 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
VT 113
Course Title:
Veterinary Microbiology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Develops the knowledge and skills necessary to perform microbiology assays in a veterinary laboratory. Includes learning about the various pathological genus and species of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Focuses on the various laboratory methods used in the identification of bacterial and fungal organisms. Prerequisites: Admission to Veterinary Technology program.

Addendum to Course Description

In this course the student will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties required of a veterinary technician in the area of microbiology.    This is designed for first year veterinary technology students and is a graduation requirement for the Associates of Applied Sciences in Veterinary Technology.  Credits in this course are not transferable to a four year school towards a baccalaureate degree.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Explain the basic principles of microbiology, the study of microbes, and how microbes are classified.
  • Evaluate the requirements for bacterial and fungal growth.
  • Describe the mechanisms by which microorganisms cause disease and the chemotherapeutic methods used to combat these mechanisms.
  • Identify various types of pathogenic microorganisms and the diseases they produce in the host.
  • Perform basic microbiological techniques used in the laboratory setting of a veterinary hospital.
  • Identify organisms from unknown samples using a variety of tests.

Course Activities and Design

This is a two-credit-hour lec/lab course that meets for four hours per week for 10 weeks.  Topics covered will be general microbiological principles, taxonomy, pathogenic bacteriology, mycology, and virology, diseases caused, and sterilization methods.   

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Outcomes will be assessed by the following means:

  • Grades will be based on the student understanding of the course content as demonstrated by periodic lecture examinations, laboratory exercises and/or quizzes, skills tests, a laboratory practical, a comprehensive final exam, and participation. In order to receive a passing grade, the student have attended a minimum of 80 percent of class sessions.
  • Graduate performance on the “Laboratory Procedures" sub-section of the Veterinary Technicians National Examination.
  • These outcomes will be routinely assessed and used to drive relevant changes in the curriculum.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Content labeled with an asterisk indicates content required by our accreditor.  Content that is also italicized indicates tasks that the student must be able to perform as they are listed as “essential tasks” by the Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities.


  1. Microbes in health and disease


  1. Biology
  2. Health


  1. Identification of bacterial genera/species
  2. Microbial pathogens
  3. Therapeutics, including microbial resistance


1.     Describe the classification systems used to identify microorganisms.

2.     Discuss the physical features of bacterial morphology and structure, including the unique features of the bacterial cell wall.

3.     Discuss the movement of materials and fluids through the cell wall, include the forces which controls these movements.

4.     Provide an overview of the methods by which pathogens are identified in the laboratory.

5.     Describe and discuss the use of various types of microscopy, stains, and media for study of bacteria and fungi.

6.     Describe bacterial cell, colony and broth morphology.

7.     Discuss the basic principles of bacterial growth & division.

8.     Discuss the physical requirements for growth of bacteria.

9.     Discuss the structure and formation of biofilms.

10.  Describe Key Terms and concepts associated with Bacterial Culture and Identification, including the following:

a.     Describe the principles of bacterial culture, including options for safe disposal of microbiological laboratory waste and basic equipment required to perform routine microbiological cultures.

b.     Describe the differences between nutrient, enrichment, selective, and differential media, and identify commonly used plate and tube media in each category.

c.     Describe the information derived from the results of biochemical testing utilizing media such as triple sugar iron agar slant, urea broth, SIM media, and citrate test media.

d.     Describe the procedures used to inoculate a culture plate for isolation and tube media for biochemical testing.

e.     Identify media used for primary isolation of bacterial pathogens and conditions required for incubation of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.

f.      Explain how examination of growth on a culture plate is used to identify pathogens and guide decisions regarding further testing.

g.     Describe the roles that catalase, oxidase, and coagulase biochemical tests, as well as hemolysis patterns, play in preliminary grouping of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

11.  Do the following regarding the processes of sterilization and disinfection as part of aseptic technique: 

a.     Differentiate between sterilization and disinfection.

b.     List and describe physical and chemical methods of sterilization and methods of quality control of sterilization methods.

c.     Know the appropriate sterilization processes for sensitive equipment.

d.     List and describe common antiseptic and disinfectant agents.

12.  Discuss the concepts of pathology and the pathogen, including pathogenicity, etiology, sequelae, infection, disease, virulence, infectious dose.

13.  Discuss Germ theory of disease and Koch's Postulates.

14.  Discuss general concepts and classification of infectious disease, including the following: Syndrome, Communicable vs. Non-communicable, Incidence, Prevalence, Sporadic, Endemic, Epidemic, Pandemic, Acute, Chronic, Local, Systemic, Focal, Septicemia, Toxemia, Viremia, Primary vs. Secondary infection, Superinfection, Reservoir, Fomites.

15.  Discuss symbiosis between microorganisms and their animal hosts, emphasizing the role of normal microbiota in animal health.

16.  Describe how microorganisms invade the host including the following:

a.     Portals of entry and exit.

b.     Immune evasion.

c.     Substances produced by microorganisms that facilitate invasion and injury, such as toxins (endo- and exo-) and enzymes.

d.     Describe how microorganisms cause damage to the host.

17.  Discuss concepts of the transmission or spread of disease (Reservoir, Zoonoses, Fomites, Biological and non-biological vehicles of transmission).

18.  Do the following regarding nosocomial infections: 

a.     Explain why an understanding of the nature of nosocomial infections is crucial to a veterinary technician’s ability to provide quality patient care.

b.     List the agents commonly associated with nosocomial infections, factors that predispose a patient to these infections, and methods used to control and prevent them.

19.  Identify circumstances under which dangerous microorganisms (including those classified as “select”) should not be cultured in a private practice setting. 

20.  Describe the following regarding the collection of samples: 

a.     Describe factors that must be considered to ensure that quality bacterial culture samples are obtained.

b.     List the indigenous flora and pathogens commonly recovered from specific anatomic sites, and describe methods used to collect representative samples.

c.     Describe the special collection and handling procedures used to culture samples from tissues, urine, the respiratory tract, blood, joints, milk, and feces.

d.     Identify appropriate transport media and conditions that must be met for safe transport of culture samples to an outside laboratory.

21.  Describe the following regarding sample processing:

a.     Identify primary stains used to prepare samples for direct microscopic examination and specific organisms identified by each.

b.     Describe the procedure for preparing and staining a sample with Gram stain, acid-fast stain, or modified acid-fast stain, including the appearance of positive and negative reactions for each.

22.  Discuss toxoids and antitoxins.

23.  Describe the four criteria used to evaluate chemotherapeutic agents. (what are these?)

24.  Describe general concepts of antimicrobial drugs and the different classes of antibiotics, including the following:

a.     Synthetic versus semisynthetic.

b.     Advantages and disadvantages of broad spectrum antibiotics.

c.     Superinfections and how they occur.

25.  Discuss acquired antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

a.     Discuss how genetic material is transferred from one organism to the next, specifically how bacteria pass information to each other.

b.     Discuss mutation in microorganisms and how that applies to antibiotic resistant organisms. Why is it favorable for the organism?

26.  Do the following regarding antimicrobial susceptibility testing: 

a.     Explain the reasons for susceptibility testing and the guidelines set by the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) for performing and interpreting antimicrobial susceptibility tests. 

b.     Describe the procedures for and principles of interpretation of the broth dilution test and the disc diffusion test.

27.  Do the following regarding the molecular detection of pathogens: 

a.     List the methods commonly used to detect viral pathogens in patient samples.

b.     Explain principles underlying each of the following methods (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA] testing.

c.     Explain the difference between monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies as it relates to their use in detecting viral pathogens.

d.     Explain the uses for and principles of the polymerase chain reaction test 

28.  Describe the procedure used to perform, interpret, and report results of a quantified urine culture.

29.  Describe the basic concepts of mycology.

30.  Describe the methods used to collect dermatophytes, to inoculate dermatophyte test medium and Sabouraud dextrose agar, and to interpret culture results.

31.  Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the variety of types of pathogenic bacteria and the diseases they produce in the host. Representative genera (example species not indicated) may include (but are not limited to) the following:

a.     Staphylococcus

b.     Streptococcus

c.     Bacillus

d.     Clostridium

e.     Listeria

f.      Erysipelothrix

g.     Actinomyces

h.     Nocardia

i.      Corynebacterium

j.      Mycobacterium

k.     Mycoplasma

l.      Escherichia

m.   Klebsiella

n.     Salmonella

o.     Pasteurella

p.     Mannheimia

q.     Histophilus

r.      Pseudomonas

s.     Brucella

t.      Francisella

u.     Tularemia

v.     Moraxella

w.    Fusobacterium

x.     Coxiella

y.     Chlamdia

z.     Campylobacter

aa.  Leptospira

bb.  Borellia

32.  Develop a comprehensive knowledge of a variety of types of pathogenic fungi and the diseases they produce in the host. Representative pathogenic fungi may include (but are not limited to) the following:

a.     Dermatophytes (Microsporum canis, Trichophyton spp.)

b.     Candida albicans

c.     Cryptococcus

d.     Aspergillus

e.     Sporothrix

f.      Coccidioides

33.  Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the variety of types of viruses and the diseases they produce in the host. Representative pathogens may include (but are not limited to) the following:

a.     Togavirus

b.     Retrovirus

c.     Herpesvirus

d.     Parvovirus

e.     Picornavirus

f.      Flavivirus

g.     Papillomavirus

h.     Poxvirus

i.      Calicivirus 

j.      Coronavirus

k.     Rhabdovirus

l.      Paramyxovirus

m.   Adenovirus

n.     Influenza

34.  DIscuss prion diseases


The student will perform the following microbiological techniques. Procedures that are italicized with an asterisk: Demonstration of proficiency is required by our accreditor. Other tests may include (but are not limited to) the non-italicized, non-asterisk items on this list. 

1.     Aseptic transfer of bacteria using a loop and/or needle to plates, slants and broths*

2.     Streak a plate*

3.     Perform a simple stain and Gram stain.* Other stains may include the Acid Fast stain, capsule stain, endospore stain, negative stain

4.     Prepare a wet mount of a fungal culture

5.     Perform a variety of specific tests and utilize selective and/or differential agars to identify bacteria from unknown samples such as: *

a.     Motility test using motility agar

b.     Grow in anaerobic jar

c.     Blood agar

d.     IMViC

e.     Exoenzymes

f.      Nitrate reduction

g.     Urea hydrolysis

h.     Carbohydrate fermentation

i.      Various selective/differential media (MacConkey’s agar, MSA, Hektoen Enteric, etc.)

j.      Entero-pluri test (or similar commercial multi-tests)

6.     Identify Dermatophytes by collecting appropriate samples and utilize Dermatophyte Test Media*

7.     Perform and interpret Kirby-Bauer antimicrobial susceptibility test.*

8.     Perform, interpret, and report results of a quantified urine culture (optional)

9.     Perform ELISA for the identification of an unknown virus (optional)

10.  Perform PCR for the identification of an unknown pathogen (optional)