Course Overview

Sometimes patients present with a clear indication of the nature of their problem. Unfortunately, others simply present with the owner comment "He's just not right." Evaluating symptoms and determining the cause of medical problems can sometimes take good detective work. Obtaining an accurate history and performing bloodwork are two important diagnostic tools. Once the lab results are back, the challenge of accurately interpreting those results begins.

In order to evaluate the case, the attending veterinarian must have a strong grasp of hematologic diseases and must be able to hone his or her investigative skills in bloodwork. Is it critical for the case to classify anemia as regenerative or non-regenerative? What are the causes of this patient's coagulopathy? Is it a platelet dysfunction or a thrombocytopenia? Could it be a clotting factor deficiency? Perhaps DIC? Although there are many cases of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, it may be vital to differentiate immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, immune-mediated neutropenia, or idiopathic aplastic anemia.

Advanced Concepts in Small Animal Hematologic Diseases is a 4-week course designed to build on the knowledge base of veterinarians, improving diagnostics and treatment options. It includes challenging case studies that require the application of critical thinking skills, along with new concepts and knowledge acquired through course materials. Participants will leave the course feeling more confident in diagnosing and treating hematologic diseases.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 20 RACE hours of continuing education credit for veterinary technicians and veterinarians in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval. However, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery.


Veterinary Technician Specialty Academy Acceptance

The Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice (AVTCP)

The Advanced Concepts in Small Animal Hematologic Diseases course
is accepted by the Academy towards continuing education requirements.


Participation Access Parameters

Participants may enroll in this course after it has begun, up to the enrollment deadline date. Participants who enroll after the start date do not miss out on any components of the course.

There are no real time sessions.

The design of this course allows each participant to proceed based on individual schedule, as long as all assignments are submitted by the assignment submission deadline.


Course Content

Advanced Concepts in Small Animal Hematologic Diseases focuses on the diagnostics and treatment of a variety of hematologic diseases that affect patients. This course explores the differences between regenerative and non-regenerative anemias, and moves into diagnosing and treating erythrocytosis, leukopenia and leukocytosis. Cytopenias and leukoerythroblastosis are defined and classified, allowing the veterinarian to accurately diagnose cases.

Disorders of hemostasis are covered at length, including platelet dysfunction, von Willebrand disease, congenital clotting factor and Vitamin K deficiencies, along with DIC. The course ends with a full module dedicated to immune-mediated hematologic disorders, covering clinical features, diagnostics, treatment options and a potential prognosis for each disorder.

This 4-week course will cover dogs and cats; it does not include large or exotic animals. Many case study assignments are presented, allowing the student to apply information learned from the text to real case scenarios. The examinations are designed to assess the retention of the students newly achieved knowledge in advanced hematologic diseases.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

This course is designed for veterinarians who wish to increase their knowledge of small animal hematologic diseases and improve their treatment protocols. Advanced veterinary technicians will also find this course helpful. While diagnosis remains in the hands of the veterinarian, it is vital for veterinary technicians to have a good understanding of hematologic disease. It is recommended that veterinary technicians have a strong foundation in basic hematology prior to taking this course.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Develop a clinical and diagnostic approach to the anemic dog and cat
  • Differentiate regenerative and non-regenerative anemias and recognize the differential diagnoses for each
  • Describe the basic principles of transfusion therapy
  • Clinically differentiate the various types of erythrocytosis and identify the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for each
  • Identify the causes of neutrophilia, neutropenia, eosinophilia, eosinopenia, basophilia, monocytosis, lymphopenia, and lymphocytosis and formulate an appropriate diagnostic plan for each
  • Describe the pathogenesis of bone marrow aplasia-hypoplasia, myelophthisis, and myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Formulate a diagnostic plan for pancytopenic patients
  • Differentiate primary and secondary hemostatic disorders clinically and using various clinical pathology tools
  • Identify conditions that may lead to thrombosis and the therapeutic options for thrombosis
  • Evaluate the pharmacologic agents used to treat immune mediated hematologic diseases, including their mechanism of action, uses in specific diseases, and possible complications
  • Describe the pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnostic approach, treatment, and prognosis for immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, pure red cell aplasia, immune-mediated neutropenia, and aplastic anemia



...The cases presented in this course were so relevant to a general practice. The case homework lessons were time consuming, but very stimulating. I learned much more than with traditional lectures at a conference because I had to put the knowledge learned into practice. The instructor, Dr. O'Kell, was amazing with timely feedback and availability. I will be able to immediately use this gained knowledge in my practice.

...Working through cases provided a great opportunity to practice concepts.

...The case studies helped bring the knowledge into practical use. Thanks for providing the final outcomes as well!

...I think the flexibility of the course requirements (no live sessions) was hugely beneficial as well as the accessability of Dr. O'Kell.

...The cases and related questions and the written exercises. They were excellent. I would have loved it if there had been twice as many cases and would have found the course to be that much more useful.

...I at first questioned the text being used to the lengthy Ettingers- but it turned out to be excellent reading for an overview. The author managed to make virtually every word concise and pertinent. Excellent choice of a text.

...As a LVT in New York State, it was a very challenging course. But Dr. O'Kell worked with me to understand the different assigments and case studies. She was aware of the fact that I am not a veterinarian, based on my bio, yet was incredibly helpful and encouraging as I worked through the course.

...easy ways to differentiate between regenerative or non regenerative anemia,therapies for hematologic disorders.


Required Material

Small Animal Internal Medicine, 4th ed by Richard Nelson, C. Guillermo Couto; 2009 Elsevier

Important Text Information:

It is mandatory that each participant has access to this textbook as the content of the book is not reproduced within the course. It is up to each person to determine the best way to acquire the text. Some will already have the text in their library and, therefore, will not need to purchase another copy. The text is available as a print publication and as an eBook. Where to purchase and in what format is totally up to the participant. The text is not included in the fee for this course.

USA residents: Elsevier texts, both print and eBook, are available via the VetMedTeam Elsevier Text Portal at discounts off regular retail of 25 - 35 %. If you would like to visit the portal to take advantage of the discount please use this link:

VetMedTeam's Elsevier Text Portal

Important: Regardless of which option the participant chooses, access to a copy of the textbook is mandatory. Without the text, the student will not be able to complete the assignments, case studies and examinations. If enrolling close to or beyond the course start date, it is recommended that the text be purchased as an eBook to prevent text acquisition related delays. VetMedTeam has no control over shipping delays and other related problems.


Course Completion Requirements

Completed students are awarded a certificate of completion. Completion requirements include:

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Module Assignments: Designed to help the participant reinforce newly learned material

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Case Study Assignments: Designed to help the participant apply the newly learned skills and knowledge though patient and practice based scenarios

  • Examinations: All examinations must be submitted with a score of 80% or better

  • Course survey


Course Instructor

Allison O’Kell, DVM, MS, DACVIMAllison O’Kell, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Dr. Allison O’Kell received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She completed a rotating small animal medicine and surgery internship at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) at Virginia Tech. Following the internship, Dr. O’Kell completed a residency in small animal internal medicine VMRCVM, along with a Master’s degree in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.

She achieved Diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in July of 2012.

Dr.O'Kell has published several papers in peer-reviewed veterinary journals.


Upcoming Sessions

October 01, 2014 - Registration deadline is 11:00 PM Eastern October 06, 2014



Price: $166.00